Monday, May 18, 2015

Chicago finances; what a mess! Who's got a big-enough mop to clean up?

I’m not about to predict what solution our political people will ultimately come up with to resolve the financial problems our governments face these days.

EMANUEL: Does he still want 'four more years?'
In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that our officials don’t really have a clue – other than the cheap, old rhetoric they usually fall back on – as to how to resolve the problems we’re confronted with.

I CAN’T HELP but wonder if Rahm Emanuel, as he prepares to take the oath of office on Monday to serve another four-year term, is now secretly regretting that he won the municipal election runoff held last month.

He could be drifting off into the next phase of his life right about now, rather than having to have his name forevermore attached to whatever solution people try to implement. If it goes wrong, he’ll forevermore get the blame!

Which is kind of funny, since we were fed all that campaign rhetoric just a few weeks ago about how the concept of Jesus Garcia as mayor of Chicago would be an ultimate disaster! All kinds of horrible things would happen to the city if we didn’t let Rahm have a second term as mayor.

When you think about it, bad things have happened regardless. Our credit rating was reduced literally to junk by the Moody’s Investors Service. While Standard & Poor’s didn’t take the same exact action, they also downgraded the bond ratings that determine how much interest we’re going to have to repay on our debt.

WILL CHICAGO BE literally reduced to only being able to borrow money from those shifty guys who make their money off the “vig” from their loans – as in they charge exorbitant interest because their “customers” are incapable of getting a traditional loan?

CLINTON: What will he think?
Or would even the loan sharks refuse to do business with city government because we’re too bad a risk and there’s no fingers or kneecaps to break.

Unless the mayor literally has to serve as a surrogate for the city. In which case, perhaps he ought to make sure his health insurance is adequate for the pain he’ll suffer.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m being a smart aleck. I’m making organized crime analogies over serious issues involving municipal finance.

BUT PERHAPS THAT is how the mayor himself is having to think of this issue these days. You almost have to have a sense of humor about the term “junk bonds” being applied to our city’s government.

As though the people who are most eager to spread this story have their own ideological hang-ups with regard to urban issues and large municipalities – particularly if they’re filled with people who aren’t exactly like themselves in every racial and ethnic way!

GARCIA: Thankful he didn't win April 7?
How do we get out of this debt and get the bond-rating agencies to boost our standing back to a higher level? While wondering why it wasn’t the state government’s bond ratings that took the hit, instead of Chicago’s?

I do find some humor in those people who suggest that this is now the motivation to approve development of that city-owned casino that some Chicago officials have been dreaming about for years.

IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE the kind of money that such a casino would create as the city (and state) share of tax revenues is so piddly and insignificant compared to the billions of dollars that would need to be produced to truly put Chicago government on fine solid financial stats.

Even more ridiculous are those people who are talking of the state’s pension funding shortfall and who now want a state Constitutional amendment to make possible the very action that the General Assembly tried enacting – only to have it found unconstitutional.

OBAMA: Will he, Rahm and Bill be future pol trio?
That would take so much time to get approved, and the whole while the financial situation would become worse and worse for city and state. This is the time for the radical solution – and not the pie in the sky fantasy!

All of which makes me wonder what will go through Emanuel’s mind as he takes his oath of office, with former President Bill Clinton watching. Dreaming of the day when he can be an ex-politico like William J. (and soon, Barack H., maybe they'll have periodic meetings at the future Obama Presidential Library and Museum) and can think high-minded thoughts about future officials trying to resolve the ongoing issues our government faces.


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