Rahm, Do Something!
Reading the Chicago Tribune these days evokes memories of the New York Post in the early 1990s, when its coverage of New York’s many crises–high crime, deteriorating schools, dirty streets, aggressive panhandling–prompted the paper finally to cry out to Mayor Dinkins after one particularly bloody week, “Dave, Do Something!” The Tribune is running a series about Chicago’s many problems and is so down on the city’s leadership (“Decades of abuse and neglect by its political class leave Chicago with insufficient funds for necessities, let alone for smart extras”) that the paper is now asking readers (“Your proposals needed”) for their ideas on how to fix the city.
Meanwhile, the paper continues to feature stories of an exodus out of the Windy City. Just days after running an editorial about families leaving the city (How do we keep them?) the Tribune featured a story about noted Chicago radio host Erich “Mancow” Muller selling his fashionable co-op and moving his family out of Chicago, which Mancow called ‘unlivable.” His complaints are familiar: failing schools, crime, people living on the streets, sharply rising costs). One critic calls Chicago’s North Side, where well-educated adults reside, as “suburbia’s waiting room.” Mancow was blunter:
“I think they’ve done a good job of making the city unlivable for families. I’m so sick of feeding the broken government in Chicago,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Tribune in an editorial said that Chicago’s most devastating sin as been “arrogance.”
Mayors and aldermen sure they could see the city’s economic future and, paradoxically, doubting that it ever could implode. They embodied the diabolical, delusional fallacy that more jobs for ever more young people would generate perpetually more tax revenue to more generously reward more public workers. Bull markets of the 1980s and ’90s intensified the arrogance. What could go wrong?
It ended by observing:
Did we mention the triple downgrade of Chicago’s bond ratings, or is it even necessary? (click on graphic on the right for a look at the city’s debt problems)