The Fall of Chicago

What our Marxist friends call “internal contradictions” are bringing down Chicago, as they have already bankrupted Detroit. Writing at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff explores “The Larger Meaning of Rahm Emanuel’s Woes.”

I agree with Walter Russell Mead that “what’s happening in Chicago is an earthquake that points to the escalating crisis of governability for blue cities across the United States.”

Mead identifies six dimensions to the crisis. They are:

First, this dilemma: a dramatic reduction in crime contributed to the economic health of cities like Chicago; aggressive policing contributed to that reduction; but dramatic policing leads to more confrontations between civilians and the police, such as the ones that have Emanuel in so much trouble.

Second, large pensions for public sector union members are forcing cities like Chicago to cut back on key services, including public education. This produces, among things, a serious tension between various liberal constituencies.

Third, the strength of the public sector unions also makes it very difficult for cities to manage their workforce. This too causes a decline in the quality of services.

Fourth, the cost of keeping cities functioning — not just paying obligations such as pensions but also repairing and replacing old infrastructure — is skyrocketing. This forces cities to impose higher taxes which drive many employers away and lead to a reduction in the middle class population.

Fifth, native-born citizens, whatever their race, are moving out of many cities, as immigrants move in. This exacerbates income inequality, as well as ethnic tension.

Sixth, political machines continue to prevail in American cities. This tends to make good governance difficult (see Detroit and New Orleans). But Mead points out that even when, as in Chicago, the machine tries to govern intelligently, “the imperatives of good governance and urban development push in one direction, but the forces that push toward short-termism, ethnic demagoguery, and fiscal irresponsibility are getting stronger.”

There are some exceptions (San Francisco being the most prominent, with Oakland close behind – where the tech boom has led to in-migration of affluent techies), but most large Democrat-run cities are following this path to disaster, with a shrinking base of taxpayers supporting a growing population of dependents, as municipal employees consume ever greater portions of tax revenue for their retirements and health care benefits. The money runs out, services decline, and the dependents get angry and unruly. Even more taxpayers flee, until the bills cannot be paid.

But Chicago, run by Rahm Emanuel an intimate friend and White House majordomo of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, has the most potential to turn violent as well as lurch toward insolvency next. Its crash would be hard for national Democrats to ignore.

For your friends who find prose essays taxing, Doug Ross of Director Blue comes to the rescue with another of his brilliant comic book style essays, this one illustrated by Biff Spackle, and based on an article by Daniel Greefield – another brilliant conservative.  This is worth sharing with your friends. Read the whole thing here.

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