2012-04-04 "Life in Rahm’s Chicago. A problem with democracy" From Rolling Stone:
What Rahm seems to be doing is building a new machine for our age of union busting and austerity. His budget, which the City Council passed 50 to 0 like it was some Soviet Party Congress (maybe it had something to do with the hundreds of thousands Goldner’s PAC had to spend), killed six community mental health clinics, saving $2.3 million dollars, and proposed to carve $10 million and 110 union jobs from Chicago’s libraries; in the face of protest, he restored $5.3 million and 55 workers to the system, which Alter claims shows how flexible and magnanimous he is.
As the progressive Chicago journalist Curtis Black points out, it’s instructive to compare that $7 million in precious, precious budget savings to some of the free public money he’s handed out to corporations. An animal testing company that serves Big Pharma, Experimur LLC, got $3.7 in “tax increment financing” — basically a loan given with little public accountability that’s supposed to be paid back by the tax revenue future growth creates – to save their 26 jobs: “It does appear that, job-wise, libraries get you a bigger bang for your buck,” he told the Community Media Workshop’s publication Newstips. And he offered his second biggest campaign contributor, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange already a very profitable corporation, a TIF grant of $15 million for office renovations, including a luxury bathroom. (The CME turned the grant down.)
Welcome to the new machine: cuts to schools, libraries, and mental health; cash to corporations. And should you have the insolence to protest it – well, you’d better be able to afford a damned good lawyer.