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Achilles
I learned English in a makeshift classroom tucked away in a closet in one of Chicago's most overcrowded public elementary schools. There were just a handful of us Greek-language kids, but several times a week, Mrs. Demos would round us up from various classrooms and lead us into the storage area where we learned our ABCs, words and concepts. It was cramped and it was makeshift, but it worked because of the amazing teachers and staff.

Chicago's public schools have been overcrowded and underfunded for a long time. It's about to get a lot worse.

Earlier this year, in May, it was announced that about 10 percent of elementary schools in Chicago would be closed as part of a closure of 50 schools around the city. Last week, the school district announced that it was shedding 3,000 from its rolls (including some 1,000 teachers). And now, with CPS unveiling its budget, we learn that the draconian cuts will continue: $68 million will be slashed from classrooms this year alone.

Illinois has a grotesque pension problem, one that has essentially paralyzed state-level politics and one that has no easy or painless solution. Still, one gets the sense that in Chicago—just as in other cities and towns across the country—it's the education system that's bearing a huge share of the austerity pain.

In Chicago, the decision to increase classroom size, cut afterschool programs and lay off teachers makes no sense in a city grappling with skyrocketing everyday violence. The research is undeniable: better schools equal less violence. A child enrolled in an afterschool program is far less likely to get involved in gangs. Smaller classroom size provides for more individualized attention to help identify and address family problems at home. At a time when CPS should be increase its hiring of afterschool program coordinators, school counselors and other support staff, it's decided that the best way forward to show them the door.

Continue below the fold for more on austerity in Chicago schools.

This makes absolutely no economic sense. Every dollar invested in preschool education saves society $7 down the road in terms of "less violent crime, reduced teen pregnancy rates, improved math and reading skills, better social intelligence, and of course, increased graduation rates." Even investments in elementary school and high school pay dividends on a societal level.

That's what austerity is about, though, isn't it? The short view. It's about a fetish with the ledger columns of today, with impact on future generations be damned.

Chicago and Illinois politicians and policymakers would be best served by taking a look across the Atlantic to Europe, and to Greece in particular. For years, Greece, by way of the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission, focused almost exclusively on an austerity-only policy. Cuts were needed of course to rein in a bloated public sector. But where a scalpel was needed, the government used a hack saw. And it's still doing so, despite the bloodbath that's resulted from savage cuts across the board.

Just this week, officials in Greece announced that they were closing 118 elementary schools. Meanwhile, 40,000 children have been shuttered out of local nursery schools.

Greece has been playing this austerity path for years now, and the results speak for themselves. The curbing of public services and the swiss-cheesing of the country's social safety net has pulled the rug out of the country's middle class. Now, nearly 1 in 3 Greeks live in poverty. Homeless has skyrocketed. Nearly 60 percent of young adults are out of work. And most tragically, an entire generation is going to grow up without knowing job security or food security. No country—no people—deserve such a fate.

Instead of learning from Greece's tragedy and the broader failed austerity experiment in Europe, elected officials in America (and surely in Chicago) seem destined to repeat it.

There's no guessing as to what happens when you balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle classes. They break.

There's an old saying I grew up with: "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." Investment in future generations matters. When future generations are sacrificed on the mistaken belief that austerity now yields success later, that will be the hardest lesson of all.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And what would be the party affiliation (28+ / 0-)

    of those pushing austerity onto Chicago public schools?  One wonders . . .

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:07:50 PM PDT

    •  No much to wonder about around here. (12+ / 0-)

      Illinois Democrats should be ashamed. If the Illinois GOP gets their act together and doesn't run some nut bag candidates, they'll be a huge change in the political landscape of this state.

      Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

      by michael in chicago on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:26:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  everyone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, Faito

      Schools are funded through property taxes and CPS gets some help from the state on pensions, although neither the city or the state has contributed much since 1995!

      There is plenty of blame to go around.

      One of the issues is that the union negotiates on behalf of teachers.   In a single party system like Chicago, who negotiates on behalf of taxpayers?

      •  correct me if I'm wrong, but (7+ / 0-)

        ideally, doesn't the city negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers?

        I mean, really, who elects the elected officials?

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:56:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But in Chicago, everyone is a Democrat. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geenius at Wrok, johnny wurster

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:08:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  in which case (3+ / 0-)

          Rahm doesn't have to care what the people of Chicago want.

          Check and mate.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:25:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's a silly statement, unless you believe (0+ / 0-)

            that Rahm doesn't care about keeping the Mayor's office.

            The real election is the Democratic primary, but there are always candidates for the job.

            And, if things got bad enough, who knows what doors might be opened?

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:47:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  All he has to do is keep the machine happy. (2+ / 0-)

              Then he runs more or less opposed.

              And seeing as he's a big wheel in the machine . . .

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 03:35:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Rahm obviously figures he can stay mayor (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy

              the same way he got elected mayor the first time: a shit-ton of yard signs and key endorsements. Only this time, as the incumbent, he'll have yet another advantage: no one will have the guts to run against him.

              That's the Chicago way -- turning every election into a self-fulfilling prophecy of more of the same.

              "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

              by Geenius at Wrok on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 07:56:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Corvo has answered your comment about (6+ / 0-)

        taxpayer representation.  I'll speak to your point about school funding.
         There wouldn't be a problem with pensions or necessary classroom/teacher salary funding if business paid its proper share of taxes at all levels of government.  

        Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

        by hawkseye on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 01:04:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)

          Unless  I am just misreading, I feel more and more that progressives here (and elsewhere) are buying into the blame the teachers (public employees meme).   Sadly, it has been clear to me that this administration has not been all that supportive of public education, public employees.  Arne Duncan and his love of charters was in the inner circle with Rahm and I fear President Obama has let them take the lead on education "reform" which is nuspeak for blame the teachers' unions, undo them and give education over to privatization via charters.

          I believe if corporations and businesses were paying their fair share, funding education would not be a problem.  But for now, states have to basically bribe corporates to come to their states, subsidize them and do not DARE ask them to care about the community, their workers, let alone the education of the workers'  children.

          We all are screwed if we continue to elect nudems  who basically are no different than the Wall Street loving, corporations adoring repubs.

          “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

          by Jjc2006 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 05:08:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are absolutely right! (0+ / 0-)

            Obama and friends decided Michele Rhee and other charter school lovers must be correct.  Fortunately, working quietly behind the scenes, the National Education Association has steered Duncan, etc, away from Rhee's programs.  Duncan's reform plan didn't work in Chicago nor in Oakland, CA, but Obama likes him and keeps him on---something like his relationship with Summers.

            Putting the fun back in dysfunctional.

            by hawkseye on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 12:00:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Negotiations (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens
        One of the issues is that the union negotiates on behalf of teachers.   In a single party system like Chicago, who negotiates on behalf of taxpayers?
        The school board is charged with negotiating on behalf of taxpayers. And CPS school board is unelected and largely a rubber stamp for the mayor, and made up primarily of millionaires business leaders.

        Teachers unions negotiate on behalf of not only teachers, but also their students. Working conditions for teachers are classroom conditions for students. The number of students in a class, the class environment, the number of hours of art, music, recess and core subjects are all issues dealt with during the last negotiation.

        Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

        by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:00:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Greece = Chicago? (5+ / 0-)

    What? The two entities are really not comparable. Their status, origins, problems and stakeholders are different in nature. Not to mention their governance and structure are totally different.

    •  but (4+ / 0-)

      The comparison is weak except that the victims are similar.  Just as the EU pushed Greece into the crapper, our lax tax laws have pushed Chicago into the crapper.  Chicago bribed corporations--like Boeing--to move there--offered services without demanding enough payments--corporate welfare.

      Question for our federal government--why do you guarantee private, but not public, pensions?

      Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

      by melvynny on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:39:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but... (7+ / 0-)

      ...the draining of social capital funding by the fiscal/monetary powers that be resulting in negative long-term outcomes is something that is applicable across governance structures.

      It doesn't end well regardless.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:45:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chicago is in charge (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, dinotrac

        of their city, not the EU. They made the decisions. My point is that this an apples and oranges comparison- on steroids.

        •  It's an apples and apples comparison... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder, HCKAD, happymisanthropy

          ...it's just a comparison of one sort of state (tributary, in the case of Greece) with another (city-state, for Chicago). The underlying reality of undermining social capital is precisely the same. You do it to solve some short-term problem, economic or political, and leave the problems for someone a few years later who'll you run against after re-inventing yourself.

          it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

          by Addison on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:00:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chicago did not (0+ / 0-)

            "undermining social capital ". They over promised, underperformed, ignored the warnings,  and failed to plan for the future.

            This paragraph says it all:

            Moody’s Investors ordered an unprecedented “triple drop” in the city’s bond rating, citing Chicago’s “very large and growing” pension liabilities, high fixed costs and debt load, “unrelenting public safety demands” and a historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel.

            The move will trigger tens of millions of dollars in higher borrowing costs. It also sets the stage for a string of local tax increases and painful concessions certain to alienate union leaders.

            The other shoe was dropped by the mayor’s handpicked school team for identical reasons with similar consequences.

            More than 2,100 Chicago Public School teachers and support staff were fired because of a $400 million pension payment bearing down on the system.

            •  More taxes were in order... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              divineorder, HCKAD, happymisanthropy

              ...they chose not to fund themselves properly. That's undermining. That's the problem. If they bought into the "tax-and-spend" demonization and failed to tax appropriately due to political costs, that's not a fault of my analysis...

              it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

              by Addison on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:08:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  'they chose not to fund themselves properly" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rich in PA, johnny wurster

                true. And the corollary is they chose to promise more than they could fund. But in either case the choice was theirs. Thus my original comment.

              •  Taxes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                johnny wurster

                Exactly what taxes aren't high enough in Chicago? And at what point are the financial decisions/structures made by the city beyond sustainable?

                I'm all for paying CTA employees and CPS teachers strong salaries but at some point common sense needs to enter the discussion. Otherwise certain pension systems become only 30% funded. That doesn't exactly help anyone and it plays into the ages old stereotype that liberals are bad with money.

                At the end of the day the pension issue will get solved at the state level by gutting pensions by unheard dollar amounts or the state will file for bankruptcy.

              •  Illinois has a (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                johnny wurster

                spectacularly mismanaged pension system, which is at least 50% underfunded, is a wee bit of the state's $ problem.  Their pension is the most underfunded in the whole country.  There’s no state out there like this. They can’t grow their way out of this.

                •  Correction (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy

                  Illinois has a very well managed pension system. 30-year returns are very sustainable and assets are managed well.

                  The issue with the pension system underfunding is both actuarial and due to Springfield legislators not following the very laws they put in place to replay the pension system. Instead they used the pension system as a credit card for decades in order to keep corporate give aways flowing and an outdated flat-tax system afloat with an artificially low tax rate.

                  The actuarial issue relates to viewing the unfunded liability as all due tomorrow. This is absurd because the overwhelming majority of those in the pension system can not collect a dime in earned benefits for decades. Earned benefits will never come due all at once. It take decades to earn a pension. Anyone who owns a home understands large unfunded liabilities. It's called a mortgage. Don't confuse the mortgage payment with the full mortgage.

                  Pension normal costs are sustainable. What is unsustainable is the "pension ramp" passed in the 90's that sees repayment of pension funding by the state increase every year. In the 1990's the increases were small. Now they are geometric and causing pain (by design by those who passed it in the 90s - they knew they wouldn't be around when the pain started). This law was largely ignored by Springfield legislators for years, and now they could easily pass a new law and amortize the repayment in a sustainable fashion over a 30 year period.

                  But instead its easier to demonize teachers, nurses and first responders.

                  Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

                  by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:13:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am not (0+ / 0-)

                    demonizing teachers, nurses and first responders.  Illinois had a problem with many decades of underfunding of its pensions.  GASB allows public pensions to discount future liabilities with an inappropriately high rate, thus understating the real scope of the problem by ignoringrisk.

              •  That's right (0+ / 0-)

                and now, like Detroit they find themselves in a crisis. Perhaps, unlike Detroit, they still have a tax base left to help a little. But the pension liability is something that can't be sustained. For years public pensions have substituted lavish retirement promises (we'll pay you later) for current real gains. That is fool's gold. It is one thing to say, in this diary, that Chicago should pay for schools and state all the benefits of a good early educations. It is quite another to figure out how to pay for it in their current dilemma.

                •  Or not (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy

                  There have been many suggestions for how to fix the real problem - Illinois structural deficit, starting with real reform of the state's outdated flat tax. The state's structural deficit is the real problem - "fixing" anything else will not solve the state's financial issues long or short term.

                  Also, earned benefits are not "lavish" as they are not "lavish retirement promises" but deferred compensation that is contractually protected by both the Illinois constitution and US constitution. The majority of those in the system do not get Social Security. This has saved the state billions as the state has not had to make any SS contribution, and could not "skip" such a contribution as they have repeatedly with their pension obligations.

                  Moving to a Graduated Income Tax would put Illinois in the majority of states, increase the state's revenue by billions each year and reduce the tax burden for the majority of Illinois families, especially those who need it most - lower and middle income.

                  Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

                  by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:20:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Like I said a tax increase might (0+ / 0-)

                    help, but it will not fix. Certainly a progressive tax formula would help. But tax reformulation will not fix a liability the size of Chicago's and the state's. Those promises were foolish.

                    BTW, what do you mean they do not get SS?

                    •  They aren't promises (0+ / 0-)

                      they're contracts.  After the job is done, you don't get to say you don't feel like paying for it.

                      I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

                      by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:44:41 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

                        but 'twas a foolish choice none the less. And contacts can be broken (default, bankruptcy) when there is no money to pay up.

                        •  No Money? (0+ / 0-)

                          Funny there is no money to fulfill the state's contracts, yet the legislators in Springfield continues to create and allow and not reform TIF districts for wealthy corporations that diverts local tax dollars for things like public schools to a corporation's bottom line. The state continues to provide give aways and "tax incentives" to corporations earning billions in profits. So "no money" is relative.

                          Contracts can indeed be broken. It would just be a violation of the Illinois Constitution and the US Constitution's contract clause. What the heck, no biggie.

                          And if you think it's foolish to give a grandmother who taught elementary children for 35 years a $38,000 a year pension, well then you must be fine with giving tax breaks to CEOs who earn millions.

                          Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

                          by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:48:14 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  If that is true (0+ / 0-)

                            by all means pay her that small amount. But my understanding is that public pensions in the red by $36 billion? Something is surely amiss there. Not sure hat the rest of your point is? TIF (tax increment funding?). And how do to corps get to diver their taxes from what is owed?  It must be ;gal and again, approved by the ELECTED officials of Chicago.

                          •  Something IS surely amiss here. (0+ / 0-)

                            The argument for pension "reform" is that pensions are deep in the red and therefore the modest earned pension benefit of teachers like this grandmother should be reduced, despite the fact that she never missed her contribution and has contractual rights to the benefits she earned.

                            It's a scam. That's my point. There is money to give away when it goes to corporations and their executives who provide large campaign donations, but there is no money when talking about average hard working people like teachers, nurses and first responders.

                            The pension issue is a manufactured "crisis" caused by actuarially misleading statistical manipulation and elected officials who diverted tax dollars owed to the pension funds to keep the corporate give aways going and tax rates artificially low. If this had happened in the private sector, it would have been called theft and people would be facing criminal charges.

                            Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

                            by michael in chicago on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 07:44:44 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That would certainly be theft (0+ / 0-)

                            You say "The pension issue is a manufactured "crisis" caused by actuarially misleading statistical manipulation and elected officials who diverted tax dollars owed to the pension funds to keep the corporate give aways going and tax rates artificially low."Can you provide some info on that. Because that does not sound legal.

                    •  Like I said (0+ / 0-)

                      It's replacing a regressive flat tax with a Graduated Income tax just like the majority of states have and that would REDUCE the taxes of the majority of Illinois residents. It's only a tax increase if framed as such, as the majority of Illinois residents will see their taxes decline.

                      Regarding liability, see my comment below. The unfunded liability is an actuarial impossibility being used to gin up the "crisis".

                      Regarding Social Security (SS), the majority of people in the five pension systems in Illinois do not pay into nor receive Social Security, even if they qualify for it through work done outside the pension system. This has saved the state of Illinois billions of dollars as the normal cost of pensions (if actually contributed on time) is less than the employer cost to Social Security, and the employer can't take a "Social Security holiday" or just not pay their share as the state has done with its share of pension contributions.

                      Workers in the system however contribute each and every paycheck at a rate significantly greater that that of the employee cost for Social Security.

                      Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

                      by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:41:46 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Progressive tax structure (0+ / 0-)

                        People need to be aware that the only way to do this is to change the state's Constitution.

                        If anyone ever wondered why Illinois has such a regressive taxing structure, it's because the current crop of politicos don't have a clear path to adjusting it.

        •  Especially true when you consider that, for all (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder

          intents and purposes, Chicago runs the state.

          We have a governor, but it's really more like lieutenant mayor.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:10:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A mass exodus... (10+ / 0-)

    ...of families from the Chicago metro area awaits Mayor Emanuel after this stunt. This pattern of disinvestment of CPA is a continuation of the policies that Arne left behind. Emanuel, Duncan and President Obama bare responsibility for this mess!

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:11:09 PM PDT

    •  Thank you. (12+ / 0-)

      Let's put the blame where it belongs: on Democrats.  Republicans should be grateful that Democrats are doing their work for them.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Going to turn Chicago into Detroit. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hardly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluebirder, Geenius at Wrok

        Chicago is actually doing quite well in attracting highly educated professionals. That's not the city's problem.

        But...whoever said that great cities don't attract the middle class, they create it from within was spot on. Chicago needs to improve its image, schools, socio-economic segregation and safety to fully achieve its potential. While good things are happening to the city on a host of metrics, the recent school happenings can destabilize a lot of the progress Chicago has made in the past 20 years.

        •  I know a Chicago family who has had enough.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, happymisanthropy

          ...this is first hand knowledge, so work that into your metric.  Yes, singles moving to Chicago, but who in their right mind would want to raise their family within a city who's public school system is spending $4000. Pr child? Emanuel thinks he knows better than professional teachers how best to educate children? Obama's man is pure evil.

          Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

          by semioticjim on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:33:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Chicago's schools were worse when I moved (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aeroplane

            here in the mid-70s, but many of them improved over time with the influx of middle class families who wanted to avoid long commutes from the burbs and who had good jobs here, got involved in schools and who paid high taxes on their homes in gentrifying neighborhoods.  People used to move to the burbs when their kids reached school age.  With better elementary schools they started to stay til high school at least or they would get their kids into a selective enrollment high school. I hate Emmanuel too but I find the right wing  'Chicago is the next Detroit' meme overblown.  I hear it spouted by a Republican woman at my health club and by tea partiers on Facebook.  There are no easy solutions and Rahm's are making things worse for the short term.  I am hopeful someone progressive -- a real Democrat-- can mount a challenge in the next election.  His approval ratings aren't good in the city right  now (although I hear some Republican suburbanites like him--maybe because he's stomping on unions and minorities.)  

          •  Only if you're comparing apples to oranges (0+ / 0-)

            CPS spends $13,078 per student. Source: CPS.

  •  I've read that Chicago is quite possibly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    headed down the same road as Detroit, but I don't live there so I really don't know how serious the city's budget problems really are.  But clearly, things could get worse.

    Cause he gets up in the morning, And he goes to work at nine, And he comes back home at five-thirty, Gets the same train every time.

    by Keith930 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:13:03 PM PDT

    •  This is the pattern that is corporate ed-deform... (8+ / 0-)

      Make public schools crappy, close them down and restructure them as private charters or not for profit charters. What is the current expenditure for children in CPS at? $4000. pr. student? Emanuel should be indicted for child abuse.

      Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

      by semioticjim on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:20:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Much more prosperous than Detroit. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, Siri, Rich in PA, Bluebirder

      Chicago has a lot of assets that many other Midwestern big cities simply don't have. Doubt its headed for Detroit status.

      •  and if it did, it would most likely get a NYC (0+ / 0-)

        style bailout.

        Cause he gets up in the morning, And he goes to work at nine, And he comes back home at five-thirty, Gets the same train every time.

        by Keith930 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:25:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The 1975 bailout in NYC couldnt be replicated (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vcmvo2, divineorder

          in Chicago. Mainly because it doesn't have the financial center that would need to get it done. The '75 bailout wan an entirely private market affair where bonds were issued and agreed to be bought by the banks in NYC and even pay a financial transaction tax to finance it. So the reason that worked out so well is that there was a Wall Street present to organize and finance the thing.

          Chicago on the other hand would need the federal government or the state. In NYC we did ask for federal help, prompting the famous 'Drop Dead' Daily News cover story on President Ford's response.

          •  and President Ford paid for that! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            divineorder

            He couldn't have been elected dog catcher in NY after that.

            Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace. ~ Ulysses S Grant

            by vcmvo2 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:01:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Chicago has the mercantile exchange where all the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            divineorder, Stude Dude

            commodities are traded.  Monsanto will not allow that to go under.

            "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

            by zenbassoon on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:13:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Chicago doesn't have the financial center to get (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Van Buren, Bluebirder

            it done?

            That's an interesting concept.

            New Yorkers can be so provincial!

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:13:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bluebirder, fladem

              I'm amazed at how many media narratives are being bought by people. Chicago the next Detroit? Really people? I thought this was a meme only Republicans believed in.

              •  Only Republicans? (0+ / 0-)

                Don't know where you get that, but it's hard for me to see Chicago as the next Detroit.

                Not impossible, but hard.

                Chicago does have the disadvantage of being in Illinois, and Illinois has been going down the crapper for a while.

                That's subtext to all of the Chicago layouffs -- and there've been quite a few, even before the CPS layoffs.

                The state has pension problems all its own, and is limited in its ability to bail out the city from its problems.  It's easy to say that the state should help the city, but the state is in poor fiscal health, and is losing population to boot.

                Rahm may actually be doing the city a giant favor by innoculating it (somewhat) against the repercussions of state-level woes.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:45:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm not going to argue with someone who doesn't really understand the situation. Even Chicago conservative outlets like crains Chicago business understand that the similarities between Chicago and Detroit are small. Also, one must understand that Detroit was hurt by being inside a relatively small county. Chicago didn't have this problem. Cook county was huge so as white flight occurred, a lot if the the tax resources stayed within the county.

    •  Not even close to Detroit... (5+ / 0-)

      ...but the "crab bucket" mentality is such that Detroit's existence may be used to excuse a lot of bad policy. As long as Detroit is in the crapper a lot of cities will point to it in an attempt to excuse bad (read: inequitable) governance.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:48:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ummm....maybe on the same road, but unlikely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, aeroplane

      the same destination.

      Chicago has a larger and much more diverse economy than Detroit ever had.

      Detroit was overly-dependent on the auto industry.  Chicago doesn't have that problem.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Chicago is better off than Detroit (5+ / 0-)

      but another budget burden facing Chicago is that "Hiz Honor Richie Daley" sold off many of the long term revenue producing assets for cash - Cash that he spent in his term instead of banking any for the future.

      When Daley left office the local media was all gushy in their praise and full of warm sentiment.  They didn't keep track and didn't care about what he was doing to city finances though.

      For starters (from Chicago Reader):

      January 24, 2005 Mayor Daley signs a deal to lease the Chicago Skyway for $1.83 billion to the Cintra-Macquarie Consortium, based in Spain and Australia, for 99 years. The dailies praise the deal—the Tribune calls it a "windfall"—and public officials around the country hail it as a model for privatizing public assets, indicating that it'd be a good way to manage the upkeep on toll roads and highways. Daley says he'll be looking into other lease agreements. And so it begins.

      October 13, 2006 Daley announces plans to lease four parking garages under Millennium Park and Grant Park to a division of Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street investment bank, for $563 million. Daley calls the 99-year lease an "outstanding deal for the taxpayers of Chicago," which "allows for a massive shift of capital resources from downtown parking garages to neighborhood parks."

      February 8, 2008 The city issues a request for qualifications (RFQ) inviting firms to present credentials for leasing the rights to the city's 36,000 parking meters. Collecting parking fees and fines is one thing the city seems to be pretty good at—with operating expenses of $4 million it hauled in almost $23 million in 2007. But chief financial officer Paul Volpe says a private company would do a better job managing the meters. The RFQ asks bidders to demonstrate their "financial capability" as well as outline plans to manage the system and provide service to meter users. Responses are due in March.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:33:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This makes absolutely no economic sense. (11+ / 0-)

    Nobody really wants to hear it, but when one sees this stuff that "makes no economic sense" yet is pursued viciously, one MUST consider that one is seeing ideology.

    ideology is one thing that trumps "fiscal responsibility".

    In this case, how many school systems are under siege across the nation?

    I see this as just another facet of the GOP's war on America and on education in particular.

    Instead of learning from Greece's tragedy and the broader failed austerity experiment in Europe, elected officials in America (and surely in Chicago) seem destined to repeat it.
    They look at Greece and say Woo-Hoo! Guve us some of that".

    One of the flaws of using the term "catfood commission" to describe the Austerity faction here in the us is that it is just too nice and sweet and nice and sweet always misses the reality of what's happening, which is alomst always far worse.

    Austerity is a carjacking. It is a robbery.

    Repubs have been thrilled by the sequester as it has given them another taste of their goal: shrunken government, turning off services for the common people.

    People can talk about how repubs are "worried" about thus and so, but I see them clearly getting their agenda pushed forward and things like this merely spur them on.

    Elimination of education for inner-city Chicago kids - Friggin' Sweet! (If you're an abject racist like the GOP).

  •  In other words, Rahm Emmanuel is a dick (5+ / 0-)
  •  I lived in Greece for 8 Years (5+ / 0-)

    What has happened to that country is a crime.

    Greek society was corrupt. It was damn near tribal. But it worked. People ate well (and a lot healthier than the majority here in America). The only crime was petty crime. I felt safe walking anywhere in the country at any time I felt like.

    Some things needed changed, but as with any social change, it should have been done in little steps. Trying to put a 21st century think tank economy on Greek society was idiotic. And the results were ruinous to millions.

    •  I have peeps there. I dare say it's still corrupt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      but as you say, it worked. It sounds like it was a developing nation that got plugged into serious financial juice when it became part of the EU, with predictable consequences.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:00:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Greeks bearing austerity (4+ / 0-)
    Draco (ˈdreɪkoʊ; Greek: Δράκων, Drakōn) (circa 7th century BC) was the first legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece. He replaced the prevailing system of oral law and blood feud by a written code to be enforced only by a court. Known for its harshness, draconian has come to refer to similarly unforgiving rules or laws.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:21:13 PM PDT

  •  Go Rahm go! Hooray for Dems! (8+ / 0-)

    Doing a fantastic job Rahm.

    God, I certainly hope Chicago Dems are going to unite behind one guy and get that fucker out of office pronto.

  •  This is the Civic Committee's framing (10+ / 0-)
    Illinois has a grotesque pension problem, one that has essentially paralyzed state-level politics and one that has no easy or painless solution.
    Illinois has a revenue problem as a direct result of a structural budget deficit caused largely by an antiquated regressive flat tax and corporate give aways to businesses earning billions in profits.

    The pension issue was caused by chronic underfunding by the state of Illinois to maintain these give aways and artificially low flat tax rates that see a house keeper pay the same percentage in income tax as the billionaire owner of the Hyatt.

    Fixing the pension issue, and the structural budget deficit, can be achieved by refinancing the debt, doing away with the unsustainable "pension ramp", changing the state's outdated flat income tax to a graduated income tax, and eliminating corporate giveaways.

    But instead, lead by "progressive" democrats like Daniel Biss and his pension bomber power seeking cohorts, Springfield legislators who caused the underfunding and subsequent pension issue are instead looking to skip repayment of the money the state owes the pension system, and fix the problems Springfield caused by violating the state constitution and diminishing earned benefits of those who Illinois residents count on to keep them safe and educate their kids. They talk about "shared sacrifice" and "tough decisions" but what they really mean is people who never missed their contribution for 30+ years sharing the sacrifice as the state continues to give tax dollars to corporations.

    Democrats in Illinois have seriously hurt themselves with the way they are handling the pension issue. Union members are watching Springfield closely. Quinn is certainly one term as no one in organized labor will support him. Democrats control all branches in Illinois. There is no reason for them to sell out their base of labor in the state, other than to appease their corporate sponsors.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:22:23 PM PDT

    •  And yet, Democrats -- who must take it on the (0+ / 0-)

      chin for mismanaging the states, are faced with the proposition of going to the voters and saying:

      "Uh, yeah -- OK, you know, I know that we've already increased the state income tax by 67%, but, umm, that really wasn't enough, so .... we'd like raise it more!

      How do you feel about that?"

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:17:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Love the continuation of Civic Committee Framing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Satya1, 3goldens, happymisanthropy

        A "67% increase" is a sensationalized manipulation of a 2% increase to the lowest flat tax in the nation - 3% flat tax on those earning minimum wage or millions of dollars. It's completely regressive and places an unfair tax liability on those least able to pay.

        Since you're using this talking point, you also know that moving to a Graduated Income Tax would increase state revenue by billions each year while REDUCING the tax burden of the majority of Illinois families, especially lower and middle class families.

        I think the majority of Illinois families would feel pretty good about that.

        But the Civic Committee needs to keep people afraid of a Graduated Income Tax. Because if they don't, Illinois voters would easily approve it.

        Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

        by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:33:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks michael! (0+ / 0-)

          Good stuff.  I'm following you now.

          BTW, I wrote about the vote on amendment 49 earlier.  Given how universal the criticism of that was, the fact that it earned something like 55% of the votes at the poll tells me that the Civic Committee framing has already been swallowed by lots of folks.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:45:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Media (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens

            It's hard to fight back when the media in Illinois is completely owned by those who want to push this agenda. Just read the Tribunes editorial pages. On second thought, don't put yourself through that.

            And the framing was set in place because democrats and labor was slow to react to it for fear of seeming obstructionist and a desire to be reasonable. But polling has shifted in our favor on this issue, and Illinois residents firmly believe that the cause of the "problem" is Springfield, not teachers, nurses and first responders.

            Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

            by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:56:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo (9+ / 0-)

      It's a right wing narrative to call this a "pension problem" as if pensions were the source of the problem.  I had hoped for  better insight at the Daily Kos front page.

      Right wingers and unprincipled Dems are out to make the people that have worked all their lives as teachers or for the state of Illinois the scapegoats by drastically cutting pensions.  It's another "screw the little guy" to bail out statewide finances and people aren't getting that.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:25:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is a pension problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WorkerInUSA, johnny wurster

        That's the dirty little secret few will admit to around these parts. Obviously there's a host of other problems that have contributed to the the financial mess (see TIFs) but the current state of the pension system will bankrupt the state and that's not good for school funding or many other programs dear to progressives.  

        •  Bullshit. The gov made a social contract (5+ / 0-)

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 11:08:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sheesh, (5+ / 0-)

          BLAME the teachers ( and all public pensions) is becoming a pathetic ignorant meme on a so called progressive site.

          Just because the state chose to underfund pensions and instead give the money they "borrowed" from pensioners to the corporates, does NOT make it a pension problem. It is the same old GREED problem of the corporations demanding states subsidize them for creating low wage jobs in their state.

          People work thirty plus years and their pension is what they count on to live on when they retire. I know. I worked forty plus years as an educator.   I have two MA degrees and 90 graduate credits after that.  I PAID ever damn education credit myself.  I had peers in the private sector with no more than a BA making way more than I did and anytime they needed coursework it was paid for by their employers. But I was OK.  I did not go into education to become rich.   I liked teaching.  BUT I did understand that a portion of my earning power went into a pension.   That was my security.  That is what I live on now and if the state I worked in decided to cut or eliminate my pension, I would be on the streets.

          I am so sick and tired of progressives trashing public pensions and jumping on the "blame the public employees" bull crap.  I really am sick of that kind of ignorance anywhere but especially on the left.

          “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

          by Jjc2006 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 05:21:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who's blaming the teachers? (0+ / 0-)

            Don't be stupid about this. Being willfully ignorant about this doesn't eradicate the facts.

            •  Your insulting condescension (0+ / 0-)

              makes me wonder why you are even on a progressive site.

              I am neither stupid nor being stupid.  Teachers' are  large part of pensioners.    The majority of teachers are neither rich nor greedy and our pensions are what we counted on for retirement.   We stayed in an underpaid profession where most were required to continue our education (at our own expense and time, where we often bought our own supplies, but counted on two things: health care and retirement.  For many of us, our pension IS OUR ONLY source of income in retirement.

              Because those in charge borrowed from our pensions to fund their pet projects does not make us responsible.   Yet you IMPLY you are willing to do so by saying the "pensions" are the problem.

              So take your ignorant condescension elsewhere.  Not interested in listening to simplistic ignorance.

              “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

              by Jjc2006 on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 06:13:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Being a "progressive" doesn't mean much... (0+ / 0-)

                if your going to stay dumb to fiscal realities. The mistakes were made by the politicians, which is something we may fully agree on. But that's absolutely irrelevant to the fiscal realities plaguing IL right now.  

                And pensions are absolutely the problem to a sound, fiscal and truly progressive IL. Unless you believe contracting state programs across the board by 3-5% a year to meet pension liabilities is progressive you may be best served revisiting the state's pension realities. Otherwise poverty programs, school funding, parks spending, mass-transit, the county hospital system that serves the poor and many other dear programs to "real" progressives will be slashed year over year far into the future. But hey, let's save the teachers even if it means going into full-blown austerity mode across the board on all other matters.

                BTW, I too am a teacher and I also loved your simplistic condescending send-off.

        •  Absolutely correct (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aeroplane

          And if the Legislature pins the payoff of the pension system on local school boards, you will be able to see Wisconsin from a lot more locations than Zion, IL.

          It's not important how the pension system got to this point. If the Repukes can pin it on unions and Dems, IL will not be blue forever. In fact, it's not blue even now.

          •  See my point below (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, happymisanthropy

            If we keep calling it a "pension problem" instead of a "budget problem" it opens the door for RW organizations like the Civic Committee to imply to the ignorant voters that the root cause rests in the pension system and not with legislators wimping out when it comes time to paying the bills.

            In the last election (this year) there was a constitutional amendment on the ballot that was essentially a pretense for the legislators to claim they were facing the budget crisis.  It was savagely rejected in editorials at the Trib, Sun-Times and every other paper in the state.  It was also heavily criticized by IL constitutional experts, conservatives and liberals alike.

            Yet IL voters saw "pension reform" and like sheep nearly voted it into law.  It only got 55% of the vote and so didn't pass.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:31:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Blue forever? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, WorkerInUSA

            The handling of the pension issue has really hurt Illinois democrats, many of whom are in denial about this and don't think voters are noticing.

            But what I'm seeing is that those who have worked hard to help people like Quinn narrowly win election won't make that mistake again. But more importantly, those who are not politically active - rank and file teachers in may case - are questioning why they should support democrats at all. The statement I hear the most is "Why vote at all? The democrats were suppose to be our allies and now they control all branches in Springfield and are still trying to screw us."

            If the Illinois GOP can get its act together, Illinois is primed for them to make advances because of this. Illinois democrats have forgotten who they represent and are being very obvious about supporting their sponsors rather than their base.

            Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

            by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:50:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  IL is not a blue state (0+ / 0-)

              It is blue now. However, in the last 40 years, R held the Gov 28 years.

              Chicago is all that keeps IL blue. And I will tell you that a LOT of people watched that teacher's strike last year with a lot of annoyance. There was a great big 18% raise, and now there is a great big 18% layoff. Gee, what a shocking development.

            •  I grew up (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aeroplane

              in Arlington Heights, and lived 1997-2009 in Belleville (near St Louis in the Metro-East). The property taxes in IL are just out of control. I read about property taxes in other states, and am amazed. We had a house that we sold for 245K in Belleville, and we paid 7.5K/year in property taxes. My mom sold a historic property in AH, and she was paying 15K/year in property taxes.  If this pension thing results in property tax increases, you are going to see a rising of the taxpayers, and many of them are not sympathetic to the Dems. After that teachers' strike, even more lost sympathy.

        •  To echo a previous response, "bullshit" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, happymisanthropy

          The main essential problem is that legislators followed questionable practices to fund expenses.  They borrowed heavily when they should not have and they underfunded the pension system so they could use funds elsewhere.  The problem is a budget problem with revenue not covering expenses. The pension is set up  as the "fall guy", the excuse to send future pensioners the bill for a sloppy, corrupt legislature.

          Using the phrase "pension problem" gives the appearance that the root cause was the pension system.  That is bogus.  The root cause was the fact that legislatures wanted to spend funds on programs but never had the guts to raise taxes or amend the tax codes as expenses increased.  It is a "budget problem".

          If I as a father borrowed from my child's piggy bank to buy gas and my child notices later she is short $20, do I tell her she has a problem with her piggy bank?

          It didn't help that that narcissistic idiot Blagojevich was the do-nothing governor at a time when much more needed to be done.

          Now I know there are specific problems with the pension system in Illinois (eg. pension sweeteners) but they are miniscule compared to the budget issue facing the state.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:22:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't matter how the problem was realized (0+ / 0-)

            That's a totally different conversation. The fact is that IL and Chicago have massive pension problems. No matter how you justify te current situation doesn't change te fact that the state will not be able to function with current pension funds at 30, 40 or 60% funded. Every single level of government will need to be slashed on a yearly basis to keep up with te states obligations.

            In other words, IL will need to contract government by 3-7% per year to keep up with its liabilities. Pensions are the problem in today's IL and they'll lead to a state government that will be in perpetual austerity mode for decades.

        •  Looks like FY13 is a spending increase (0+ / 0-)

          over FY12 budget; it's just that more has to go to fund the pension.

        •  So you're ok with breaking contracts (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Satya1, 3goldens, happymisanthropy

          And violating the State constitution and the US constitution's contract provisions? That's quite "progressive".

          What is fundamentally hurting the state's budget is the structural deficit. This is the root cause. Pension "reform" as proposed will not fix the structural deficit or even solve the state's revenue issues short or long term. The pension issue is not caused by the normal costs of paying for modest earned benefits - its caused by the state having to pay back money owed the pensions system and an unsustainable pension "ramp" passed in the 90's that scheduled repayment, yet was often ignored by the very Springfield legislators who passed the very law.

          Solving the wrong "problem" is not a solution and is really not good for school funding or many other programs dear to progressives.

          Only addressing the state's revenue problem through moving to a Graduated Income Tax, ending corporate give aways, addressing the abuse of TIFs, and re-amoratizing the unsustainable pension "ramp" and many other proposed solutions will fix the problem.

          But its easier to welch on a promise, break a contract, and demonize people like teachers, nurses and first responders who never missed a single contribution in their careers and who don't qualify for Social Security.

          Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

          by michael in chicago on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:44:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not okay with breaking contracts (0+ / 0-)

            But how about you do the math and come back to me on how IL can fund its government while meeting all current pension liabilities.

            At this point it becomes a matter of what you actually think the state should fund. Schools or pensions (and other safety net programs in the state and city)? Because the school is burning through nearly one billion of their reserves this year to plug it's deficit. That leaves precious little moving forward despite the fact that pensions will continually expand its share of the CPS spending pie.

          •  If you aren't a billionaire, (0+ / 0-)

            it's OK to steal from you.

            I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

            by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:57:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Comptroller where for art thow? (0+ / 0-)

          Where is the independent Comptroller in Illinois?   Who is controlling the pension funds independent of everyone else?  Who sets the revenue to the pensions that no one else can change?
          Where is the infernal machine at befalls a good man like one of us?  No Greek tragedy here.  It is an American tragedy; Willy Lowman on a city wide scale.  

  •  You know its not just Chicago. (6+ / 0-)

    In two episodes over the last few years Tucson has closed about 20 schools.  

    If I had one wish, Republican men would have uteruses.

    by Desert Rose on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:25:10 PM PDT

  •  Good complilation of information about what is (5+ / 0-)

    occuring in Chicago and to a somewhat lesser extent perhaps in a majority of school systems in the nation, which is likely a greater tragedy though Chicago serves as the worst illustration on a large scale.

    In a classical sense of the magnitude of importance the Greek tragedy analogy works, generally.  But the tragedies focused on the faults and especially hubris of the elites and their punishment and suffering.

    So far it's only been the common people who have suffered to any documented extent with perhaps a smattering of exceptions and those mostly among the outer fringes.

    I think a better description for what we see happening with education and throughout the nation is inverted totalitarianism.

    None of the educational reform movement will produce any other end results eventually than those similar to Chicago as an end result.

    As with almost all of the other reform movements since the 80's in particular, and today spiraling out of control, ten to twenty percent will received some benefit while eighty to ninety will suffer or be pushed out of the educational system into various holding tanks.

  •  Dear Front Page, (2+ / 0-)

    If you want to be partisan, you might want to start with stories that don't make your own party look bad.

    We're not half as dumb as you seem to think.

    Warmest regards,
    Your Readership

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:38:50 PM PDT

    •  Odds of a Repub taking Chicago: nil (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, Stude Dude, Words In Action

      The odds of a Green takeover of Chicago politics are about as dim.  

      If Chicago remains as a misgoverned city stumbling from weakness to weakness, you can bet that it will be used as proof that Democrats do not know how to govern.  That will hurt us nationally.  

      Chicago's Democratic machine is also showing the inability of corporatist Dems to govern a modern, diverse city.  Perhaps honest-to-goodness progressives would help out.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:30:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Austere" my ass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ramoth, 3goldens, happymisanthropy

    I am so sick of this particular euphemism, Dear Republicans. Palestrina is austere. A Basho haiku is austere. TAKING FUCKING BASICS FROM LITTLE KIDS  SO FAT CAT PRICKS CAN FART THROUGH SILK  IS NOT FUCKING AUSTERE AND IT WILL GET YOUR FUCKING HEAD CHOPPED OFF LIKE FUCKING LOUIS XIV.

    Anybody with a better word should post it.  

  •  Easy solution to this. Build more prisons! (4+ / 0-)

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:43:49 PM PDT

  •  Democrats were once the Party (13+ / 0-)

    of belief in education for all, support for labor unions so that working folks could not be taken advantage of by corporations, and decent pensions for all.  What happened to those Democrats?  Where are they?  Where are the Democrats who found a way to ensure public education for ALL children?  Who care about Head Start and inner-city schools?!  Where are the Democrats who once took on tough problems and hammered out decent solutions to them? Where are the Democrats who honored promises made to workers instead of shrugging their shoulders and walking away?

    I look around and all I see are leading Democrats using the financial collapse and austerity as excuses to deny an entire generation of children a good education, to cut SS and Medicare and Medicaid, and to stand on the sidelines as labor unions are destroyed.  I expect to see the city of Detroit taken over and every single service that can be privatized, privatized.  And no one seems to care.  Where are the MI Democratic members of Congress?!  MIA?  What Rahm and Arne Duncan are doing to Chicago public schools is an obscene outrage.  The federal government could "save" the automobile sector and the banks----where is the help for schools?!  Can this country really afford to lose an entire generation of kids who are receiving pitiful educations thanks to "teach to the test", ridiculous charter schools that are not held in many instances to the standards the public schools are, and a generation of retired folks living on tunafish and food stamps and on the street because they have no pension?!  And, of course, Democrats aren't the only problem----we all know that Republicans are only good for regulating our "lady parts" and generally behaving like lunatics.  Why we even pay them salaries confounds me.

    Where is the vision?  Where is the effort?  Where is the will to bring about real solutions to society's problems?!  I saw John Lewis on Bill Moyers' show tonight and I wanted to weep.  That man is a giant among men and we need an entire Congress full of him.  If those folks could persist and prevail given what they fought and endured, where are OUR heroes?!  

    Sorry for the rant but right now I am effing fed up with the politicians of today!  What a bunch of worthless, gutless morons.

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:56:38 PM PDT

    •  Show me a Democrat (6+ / 0-)

      who put his kids in a public school, and I'll show you a Democrat whose opinion on K-20 education I'll give a damn about.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:00:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, who are these democratic parents you doubt? (3+ / 0-)

        Rahm put his kids in a very good private school---where they don't have standardized tests, no less--but almost all of the 'real' Democratic parents I know in Chicago put kids in public schools. As did most working class democrats, minority democrats, etc.  There is still a large number of Catholic schools here but those are dying too---the archdiocese can't afford the funding.  But a lot of parents see those as an alternative to public schools that they see as 'unsafe'--or not as 'disciplined' and in some neighborhoods the public schools aren't safe. BUT also, those of us with special needs (LD's etc.) kids had no alternative to public schools, since elite private schools and most Catholic schools either don't want them or don't have the services for them. The public schools have to provide the services although it's not clear what Rahm's cuts will do to the level of services they provide.  

        •  The Catholic schools will stay afloat (0+ / 0-)

          as long as there are white families in Chicago who don't want their kids going to public schools where the majority of students are black or Latino. A blunt and awful statement, but a hard one to refute.

          "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

          by Geenius at Wrok on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 08:01:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Please turn this into a diary. nt (3+ / 0-)

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:38:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  THANK YOU (4+ / 0-)

      I feel the same.

      As a retired educator (40+ years in public ed and I still sub), I am feeling angry, frustration and sadness at the betrayal of our government (both parties) when it comes to education.

      Blaming the teachers (and other public employees) for the decline of the cities is disgusting and false.   At one time, businesses, corporations were considered a part of the community and contributed to the community, including taxes that supported public education.    Once upon time corporations wanted an educated workforce.  Once upon a time, corporate bosses took pride in their companies and their companies contributions to the community.

      I grew up in a small town in eastern PA, near Philly, where most of our citizens worked in one of the factories, the largest being a steel mill.  The owners of that factory took pride in the town of their employees.  They not only supported the schools, they built a community center where the children from all the schools (catholic and public) came together. All could join for free and there were programs from third grade through senior high school, sports (indoor soccer, basketball, volleyball) and game rooms.    Once that family that owned the steel mill died off/sold out to a large corporation everything changed.   Eventually the mill was closed and the work moved to China or someplace.    The textile mills went south at first to avoid unionization, and then over to third world countries.   The tax base once shared by factories became based on housing.   It's not a unique story.

      There is only one thing to blame.  CORPORATE GREED.
      Blaming public pensions is the common scapegoating.  But it is greed and we all know it.

      “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

      by Jjc2006 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 05:37:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rahm, Arne & Obama are fucking liars. Period. (5+ / 0-)

    because they aren't racist, homophobic 13th century droolers on reproductive health,

    THEN all their despicable sell outs to Wall Street, AHIP, Pharma, Bill Gates & Broad and the Kopp-Kipp Krime syndicate, the energy bandits, the old MIC ...

    all their despicable sell outs are supposed to be a.o.k.

    "more democrats" - ha ha ha. NOT of this kind.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:01:03 PM PDT

  •  Stupid is not regional, (5+ / 0-)

    nor is it restricted to party. I fear the old saw which states that a people will get the government they deserve.
    I heard a rousing speech a few years ago concerning our national loss of industry, phrases like  "American know how" and "American innovation". Just how do these ideals work without education?

    elect Elizabeth Warren to the presidency, 2016

    by Wood Gas on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 08:02:40 PM PDT

  •  The Lost Ones... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, HCKAD, 3goldens

    In China there is a generation that, under Mao, received no education (other than rote Maoist propaganda).

    There is a term used, in China, for this generation;  I believe it is referred to as The Lost Ones. If I am remembering incorrectly, the accurate term is something quite similar.

    We are in danger of creating our own incarnation of "Lost Ones" if the attitude and actions of those in power continue on the destructive, ignorant path they are now taking.

    Want to create a future of angry, frustrated, uneducated citizens who gravitate toward violence and criminal lifestyles?  This is a good start.  Anyone among the class of "elites" motivated by personal greed and accumulation of obscene, bloated wealth who think they will be immune from the devastating consequences are true paragons of ignorance.

    "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

    by 417els on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 09:01:40 PM PDT

  •  So much wrong with the initial diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluebirder

    I just don't really have the luxury of being on a computer to correct so many misconceptions except the crime bit. Chicago is not going through "skyrocketing" crime rates. The opposite is true. All crime categories are trending down at historic levels. Chicago has a homicide rate comparable to or lower than Dallas, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, DC and much lower than the usual suspects (Baltimore, Detroit, St. Louis, Oakland, Kansas City,...).

  •  There will be deaths. (2+ / 0-)

    I'm glad that violent crime is overall dropping (partly because we got lead out of the environment more than a generation ago?).

    But This American Life's Harper High series made it depressingly clear that when school district lines are obliterated in poor, gang-ridden neighborhoods--the ones that will be hit by this, not nice places in Lincoln Park--kids are forced to cross gang lines and get involved in ongoing conflicts whether they want to or not.

    Harper High was doing yeoman's work dealing with the fallout and the PTSD in the neighborhood, but faced losing their budget.  Now we can expect more, bigger, less prepared schools to face more of it.

  •  Mathematics (0+ / 0-)

    Supposedly Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility.

    Last year, there was a teachers' strike. Victory!! 18% salary increase.

    This year, there is a layoff and school closing. 18% job lose?

    Does 18% = 18%? You be the judge.

     

    •  If you can't afford to pay your teachers (0+ / 0-)

      then don't demand that they put in more hours of work.

      Or did you completely forget the context?

      I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

      by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:04:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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