The Stroger administration’s latest strong-arm tactic against Cook County Board commissioners opposed to Todd Stroger’s bid for a huge and entirely unjustified sales tax increase is blatant extortion, something that would get a private-sector actor put in jail instantly. Chicago and Cook County have always been corrupt to some degree, but the governments at least let the middle class survive. Now the governments’ takings are so rapacious and economically debilitating that one can hardly imagine the city going on much longer.
Yet somehow Chicago and Cook County endure, because their people are hardworking and the city’s biggest competitors — New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, etc. — are just as bad and their governments just as greedy. Eventually, however, businesses will tire of this big-city politics of parasitism and make a mass exodus toward better managed urban areas — a process that has already begun.
S.T. Karnick ([email protected]) is director of research at The Heartland Institute,/i>