What We Can’t Afford

Let’s be honest about how much money we have, and where it’s going, before we use “broke” in a sentence, please:

“Federal revenues are down. Mayor Rahm Emanuel should use his significant influence in the White House and on Capitol Hill to advocate an increase in federal revenues. State revenues are down. Board of Education President David Vitale, the former head of the Board of Trade, should push for the return the more than $100 million in state tax breaks that went to the CME and increase revenue to our schools. Local revenue is down. Billionaire Board member Penny Pritzker should offer to return the $5.2 million in tax increment financing (TIF) dollars she recently received to expand her Hyatt Hotel dynasty to Hyde Park. And perhaps most easily, the Board should advocate an end to the TIFs that drain a quarter of a billion dollars from our schools each year. CPS has been in revenue decline for a number of years.”

Just ONE MORE ROUND of union concessions, and then finally we’ll be in the money!

I cannot stand dishonest conversations about this kind of thing. The TITS does the CME need tax breaks for? They make more money than God and Scrooge McDuck. Hyatt Hotels needs incentives to go somewhere? How about “make your own damn money,” that’s an incentive. There’s plenty of money. PLENTY of it. It’s just that it’s all tied up bribing rich people to continue to get rich, because that’s not in any way something they were going to keep doing all on their own.

Schools, on the other hand? Schools need pain and suffering to continue to behave. We can’t throw money at them. Look how that’s worked in the past.


6 thoughts on “What We Can’t Afford

  1. I’m re-reading a massive fictional account of Ancient Rome. I just about cracked up when I read the description of how the Senators in charge of financing the bread dole for the poorest Romans decided to pretend the treasury was empty because of the wars they’d fought and having to pay the troops and all that. The Senators who realized the poor were going to riot and burn down Rome if they weren’t fed were insisting that the treasury do its duty and buy in the grain for the dole, the Senators (who in this case personally had looted gold meant for the treasury) figured that the worst that happened was that the poorest in Rome would die of starvation, thus relieving the Senate of the burden of their cost in the future. Win/win. Plus ca change.

  2. “. . . because that’s not in any way something they were going to keep doing all on their own.” Assuming the sarcasm here, this is where, to me, the sociopathy of extreme wealth comes in. What’s, really, the dif between having a hundred million and having ten million? To us down on the factory floor, there is no difference; you’d still be rich as Croesus. Why do you want to deny us even the meager benefits of living in a wealth-driven society, like decent public education, Social Security and everything else that’s implied in the social contract? It’s not gonna hurt you. You’d still have more wealth than most of us could ever hope for–you’d still be rich, only we’d also have a shot at dignity and comfort.
    But that’s not good enough for these people, apparently.

  3. But bill, if you only have ten million you can’t live like this:
    The first time I went to that site, someone had posted a picture of their receipt from a night of partying, and it was almost as much as I make in a year.
    Yet poor people need to learn to make better financial choices and spend money wisely.

  4. This started before Reagan, but he made it OK / de rigeur: the poor are …
    not poor people working to make themselves better, but lazy scum.
    St. Ronnie of the Raygun has a *lot* to answer for, and I hope God holds his sorry B-movie actor fanny accountable for every bit of it.
    The HIV stall.
    Voodoo Economics (the only thing Bush1 ever got right was opposing this crap, and *he* sold out!).
    The “poor managers” claims that took so damn many family farms away from families on behalf of outfits like Archer Daniels Midland (look up Dan Rather’s “Trouble on the Land” series).
    The dirty deal that kept 44 Americans in hostage-takers’ hands until an election was decided in Reagan’s favor.
    The dirty deals that gave us Dick Cheney as an ongoing force in US politics.
    The Southern Strategy.
    Lots more I’m too pithed to write about now.

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