"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Chicago Way

If you Google the three words above, the first 10 responses will include several references to the Sean Connery character in the movie “The Untouchables” saying, "They pull a knife, you pull a gun.  He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.  That's the Chicago way " and then it will lead you to a book entitled “The Chicago Way” and a few essays written about the Chicago way of politicians abusing their offices and the people who elect them to same.  The focus of this essay comes closer to the latter reference but we will focus on the real cost, both the financial impact and the day in/day out impact of a governance system that exists to take care of its own.  We are not talking about the wastefulness of a military industrial complex that captures the warrior spirit of bold young men and sends them to distant locales to demonstrate expensive untried equipment of destruction on the characters identified by the Pentagon’s designated bad guys of the month program.  That’s kids play compared to what the Chicago way can do to an entire region; or, if you let it, an entire country.

The Chicago metropolitan geographical area consists mostly of Cook county and several surrounding counties; specifically, DuPage, Lake, Will and most recently via expansion, Kane.  Here is a view of the major expressways which provide high speed surface transportation to the area:
 The following roads are freeways:  94, 57, 55, 290 and 80.  The following roads are toll ways:  90, 88, 294 and 355.  Combined, this road system is the most clogged; most backed up; most time consuming, fuel wasting, inadequate for the load, road system in the nation; the entire US of A.  That’s the Chicago way.  Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/chicago-ranked-no-1-for-w_n_811626.html#s226786&title=_1_  and http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/20/which-cities-have-the-worst-traffic/ The toll road system, a product of Chicago and Illinois governance is a corrupt entity carefully removed from the control of the voting citizenry.  It's board is appointed yet they can raise fees without any taxpayer vote.  It just increased its tolls by 87.5% in one simple vote to which no toll road using citizen had any direct vote.  It held open hearings and let the road contractors and their unionized employees comment along with the public on the proposed increase.  What position do you think the contractors and their unionized employees took on the increase topic?   What impact of this doubling of the cost of using the toll roads do you think will have on traffic congestion?  What measurable reduced traffic congestion standards do you think were offered as justification for the increase?  So why did tolls go up so much at once?  The governor paid off the unions who supported his reelection, that’s why.

We could write the same essay and discuss the topic of teachers pay, working hours and other benefits and conditions.  We could write the same essay and address the pay, working hours and other benefits and conditions of elected officials and the tens of thousands of hired, unionized employees working in agencies and bureaucracies in the counties named above or even elsewhere in the state.  Ditto for police, firemen, park district employees and bureaucrats in the school districts.  Ditto for the contracts they let to paving companies, airport concession providers, garbage collectors, the fancy meals and expensive outings they buy and charge to their publically paid credit cards and the way their kids find an opening into the better public schools while the taxpayer’s kids end up in crappy low performing schools.

There is nothing funny about the Chicago way.  You may admire Obama and the Chicago cronies he brought to Washington DC; you may have even voted for him.  Heck, if you live in Chicago or one those counties you probably voted for his associate Rahm Emanuel or maybe the hack politician running the US transportation department, Ray LaHood (talk about an appropriately named corrupt bureaucrat)  or the kid who is now distributing hundreds of billions of dollars to crappy school systems around the country, Arne Duncan.  He ran the crappy Chicago schools.  Should that qualify him to distribute billions to crappy public school around the country?   Why not Joel Klein or Michelle Rhee or Geoffrey Canada?  Not a chance.  Arne is a trusted Chicago way guy.  You see, if you aren’t a member of the gang you don’t get in to the clubhouse.

Chicago and Illinois are now at the top of the heap for debt; deficits; unfunded pension liabilities and disappearing jobs.  Chicago’s population is declining.   The minority kids are tossed into a non performing could care less governmental education system that destroys lives as quickly as one of those fancy untested weapons of mass destruction coming from America’s beloved military industrial complex mentioned above.  Do you think that is funny?  Just below is a picture of the woman telling the parents of Chicago’s school kids where they go to school?  Who their teacher will be?  How long the school day should be?   What a good teacher is?
How many of you want her overseeing your kids?  How many of you want her overseeing your kid’s education?

The next time you decide to vote for change you may wish to put more than a few minutes into learning just what in heck the candidates you have selected have actually done; accomplished; what their real life track record has to show to earn that vote of yours.  You gave the keys to the nation to these fools who destroyed a city and a state.  They got you good. That is the Chicago way.

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