Let’s take a tour of Chicago (if you dare)

On this episode, we’ll be taking a tour of Chicago, and Illinois in general, showing you some of the sights. These include:

  • Shootings in the city despite (or because of) strict gun control laws.
  • The thousands fleeing the state due to high taxes (and how one of Illinois’ neighbors solved that same problem).
  • A Democrat-controlled General Assembly that won’t pass a budget (and the results of that).
  • The Chicago Public School system, that is getting a bail-out as a reward for financial mismanagement.

A better look at the “Blue State Model” of governing you’re not likely to find anywhere else. Is it a progressive’s paradise? Sadly, yes.

Mentioned links:

49 shot in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend — and that’s a sign of progress

Mayor of Chicago [Wikipedia]


Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Nearly $2 Billion Dollar Governor

By the numbers: The price and pain of no budget in Illinois

S&P, Moody’s Downgrade Illinois to Near Junk, Lowest Ever for a U.S. State


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Show transcript

We start this tour of Chicago with a feature that I’ve covered on this show before; shootings. Over this past Memorial Day weekend, 49 people were shot, 5 of them killed. This, in spite of (or, more likely, because of) the strict gun control measures enacted by the Democrats. After 86 years of a Democrat mayor, you’d think this city was a progressive’s paradise.

Sadly, it is. But here’s the point made by the USA Today article linked to in the show notes; this is progress! Yes! Here’s how they describe it:

The decrease highlights the slow progress police say they’ve made in the first five months of the year to reduce Chicago’s stubbornly high murder rate through technology that helps commanders better deploy street cops.

So it’s technology that’s saving lives, not gun control. Gun control, if it worked as well as proponents claim, wouldn’t need all the technology. The murder rate wouldn’t be so “stubbornly high”. They claim gun control reduces shootings. Instead, the criminals and gangs run the city, and the innocent citizens are barred from defending themselves.

If the murder rate is “stubbornly high”, perhaps it’s time to take another look at the measures that are currently in place. Maybe, just maybe, they aren’t working as well as you thought, or are actually counterproductive. You may need to reconsider this.

The next stop on our tour is actually the border of Illinois. Here you’ll see thousands of people leaving the state. The largest chunk of these folks are from Chicago, which was the only one of America’s largest 20 cities to lose population from 2015 to 2016. However, they’re really from all over the state.

What would make all these people leave the state? Perhaps the gun issue in Chicago is one reason, but when polled, the top reason people from all over Illinois are leaving is another one of the blue state model standard failures; high taxes. In fact, in another poll of people still in Illinois, 47% said they want to leave, and for the same reason.

Of course, Democrats in the state legislature have the same malady that Democrats all over have; they’ve spent too much, and they’ve promised too much, and the only way out of the mess they created with overspending is – not spending less – but taxing more. Yet fewer than 1 in 3 voters support increasing taxes to fix the budget.

But here’s the disconnect I see. If their own representatives are deaf to their concerns, if the same tired ideas keep getting implemented and they keep failing, if the same politicians keep doing the same thing and getting the same results, why not vote in some new people with new ideas?

One of those neighboring states that former Illinoisans are flocking to is Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature there took their state from a billion in deficit to a billion in surplus by doing something conservatives keep pushing; cutting a billion and a half in taxes, including income and property taxes. To believe Democrats, that is entirely impossible. But cutting taxes allowed people to keep more of what they earned, and by spending it the economy boomed. Corporations had more money for hiring, and the economy responded.

Before Walker arrived, Wisconsin had the same problem as Illinois; people were fleeing high taxes. The answer, though, is something that might require you, the citizens of Illinois, to break a bad habit; voting Democrat. See, Scott Walker and most of Wisconsin legislature are … Republicans. That’s right, in order to turn the state of Illinois around, you may just have to vote for the person with an “R” next to their name. It certainly worked for Wisconsin. The current governor of Illinois is Republican, but Democrats dominate both chambers of the General Assembly.

The question is, how badly do you want lower taxes and a growing economy? You need to stop beating your head against the wall and hoping that it’ll begin to hurt less.

The next stop on our tour is the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly itself. On your left you’ll see lawmakers doing…absolutely nothing. That’s the group that supposed to be putting together a budget for the state, but for over 700 days they haven’t. It’s sort of like how the Democrats, who held majorities in the US House and Senate in the first years of Obama, couldn’t be bothered to pass one either.

What’s the status of the state’s finances? Well, they have 180,000 unpaid bills totaling 14.5 billion (with a “B”) dollars, with $800 million in interest due (and counting). Illinois now has the lowest credit rating of any state in the union; just one step above junk, or as I like to say, one step above Chicago’s rating. There’s a link in the show notes to the dozens of consequences, affecting government functioning and the citizens themselves.

But keep raising those taxes, OK gang? Because that’s the solution to everything.

The final stop on our tour is at this Chicago public school. Democrats are, of course, famous for declaring their love of government-funded education, and this school is an example of how well their policies have worked in this area.

And by “worked”, I mean “bankrupted”. After getting itself into a financial mess following decades of mismanagement, skipped pension payments, irresponsible borrowing, and unaffordable teachers’ contracts, the Chicago Public Schools, CPS, got a bailout from the (as I mentioned, Democrat-controlled) state General Assembly to the tune of $140 million.

And of course, bailing out a group that has demonstrated time and time again that it can’t manage money is always a good idea, right? It’s like a bad parent going to the bank and asking for a loan, and the bank pointing out that you spent the last loan on lottery tickets. Then the bad parent accuses the bank of hating children because without this loan, their kids go hungry. CPS is the bad parent, and the General Assembly is the bank. In this scenario, the bank doesn’t want to be accused of hating children (that’s supposedly what the evil bank on the other side of the street does), so they hand over the money. Try not to be too surprised when the bad parent doesn’t change their spending habits.

Well folks, thanks so much for joining me on what I call the “Blue State Model” Tour of Chicago. This is what you get after generations of, not just one-party rule, but by a party that won’t learn from history; especially from their own history.

Filed under: Budget & SpendingEconomics & TaxesEducationGovernmentGun ControlSmaller Government