With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Monday, June 8, 2015

The 'Magic question' -- I don't think so.

"Griffin could solve the problem just by paying his taxes." -- Karen Lewis
S-T reporters Fran Spielman and Loren Fitzpatrick call it "the magic question": How can CPS make looming pension payment and payroll?  They say CPS is faced with "impossible choices" with its cash reserves depleted, the Springfield budget stalemate dragging on and three weeks to go before a $634 million teacher pension payment is due.

Well, I stopped believing in "Magic" when Shaq left Orlando and the choices don't seem all that  "impossible" to me. In fact, they're are quite clear. You can continue to try and bleed the infirm and elderly who are barely making ends meet on fixed incomes.

OR the Mayor can push pals Madigan and Cullerton to make a deal for a temporary fix from Rauner and the legislature. And then -- do the right thing and find the only long-term solution. Find new revenue streams, and I don't mean a casino. In other words, make the wealthiest in the state begin paying their fair share of taxes. Illinois is currently one of the ten most regressive tax states in the country

As CTU Pres. Karen Lewis put it during last Tuesday's panel discussion at the Hideout.
"We have to have serious conversations about revenue now... And if we're talking about anything else, then we're not going anywhere." (43.19)
Then she put the exclamation point on it:
"Ken Griffin alone could write a check that could solve the pension problem...just by paying his taxes."  (122.24)
Griffin recently donated $155 million to Harvard in order to get another tax break.

Of course, what you generally get back from our knee-bending legislators is: But if we tax the billionaires, the banks and the corporations, they will flee the state. 

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time imagining someone like Griffin, abandoning his $24 billion hedge-fund empire in Chicago and turning that business over to his competitors, paying off his ex-wife, and then heading for low-tax Podunk, Nebraska, over a tax bump.

No, the real flight from Chicago is being made by the city's poor and largely African-American work force who can't find well-paying jobs here any more and can't afford housing here either. More than a quarter of a million black people have left the city in the past decade. Imagine if they were all still here, working good union jobs and paying takes, how much better Chicago's economy would look.

No, the choices aren't "impossible".  They're necessary.

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