Last week when Mayor Lightfoot announced she was dumping $250 million dollars into 10 South and West-side neighborhoods, saying it will bring "transformative change" I have to admit I thought of a famous quote by Alexis de Tocqueville. It kinda speaks for itself. That fine line between bribing the people with the people's money to curry votes and a real attempt to help people who are in need, have a history in America that came to a realization in 1964 when then-President Lyndon Johnson declared a "WAR ON POVERTY." The cost of that war cost American taxpayers some $23 TRILLION DOLLARS, which is 3 times the cost of all U.S wars since the American Revolution.
Yet progress against poverty as measured by the U.S Census Bureau has been minimal at best, and in terms of President Johnson's main goal of reducing the causes than the mere consequences of poverty have failed completely. The two main takeaways from the Census Bureau's report are:
1. The lack of progress in building self-sufficiency since the beginning of the war on poverty 56 years ago is due in major part to the welfare system itself.
2. By breaking down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance welfare generates a pattern of increasing intergenerational dependence.
Most of us are familiar with the famous quote by the Irish Philosopher Sir Edmund Burke, "THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT." I'm convinced Mayor Lightfoot is well aware of the history of the war on poverty but it's hard to get that other quote out of my mind by de Tocqueville, those last seven words 'BRIBE THE PEOPLE WITH THE PEOPLE'S MONEY. Since 1931 Chicago has been run by 13 Mayors, all Democrats. That's 89 years of one-party rule and we seem to still be at the point of utter frustration, dealing with poverty, violent crime, failing schools and colossal taxes on just about anything the politicians can think of. The latest being 2 major taxing grabs that were criminal acts a few years ago -- sports betting and marijuana legalization. Chicago's property owners are facing skyrocketing property taxes on houses that are plummeting in value. In order for the politicians to keep their wild promises, the public's money has to come from somewhere, which is from the public of course.
Back in 2014 Democratic Governor Patrick Quinn in a desperate failed attempt to hold off his challenger Bruce Rauner for another term as Illinois Governor came up with 55 million dollars to be distributed to Chicago in the guise of an Anti Violence program. Even Cook County prosecutors who sometimes are challenged to find an Asian at 22nd and Wentworth smelled a rat. Questions such as who got the money? who decided who got the money? where did the taxpayer money come from? Somehow, after Quinn was defeated it kinda all went away with little or no answers whatsoever. Imagine 55 million dollars of taxpayer money and no accountability. To some, it smelled an awful lot like an egregious attempt at what de Tocqueville described as bribing the people with the people's money.
All of this, of course, brings us to the present time in Chicago. Last week Mayor Lightfoot moderated a panel at the U.S Conference of Mayors, meeting in Washington D.C on preparing for solutions to mass shootings. She announced to the panel that Chicago deals with at least one mass shooting a week. Certainly not a startling revelation to anyone who hasn't been submerged under an ice shelf over the past few months. Of course, a room full of mayors from various municipalities is probably thinking to themselves geez "what are they doing about it?" Of course, the words GANG VIOLENCE remains the elephant in the room and the star attraction is as always according to Mayor Lightfoot "TO MANY GUNS ON THE STREET."
One has to wonder since guns are getting the blame just how all that came about over the last 89 years. I'm sure they would love to lay it all on Trump but then again people are not that stupid. Chicago's cops confiscated 10,800 guns off Chicago's streets, very few of the criminals arrested were held accountable, thousands of gun violators simply walking free in the same communities they have been terrorizing for decades, yet the theme of the panel was FEDERAL GUN CONTROL. Four hundred million guns estimated on hand in America and by God its time the Federal Government does something about it. So far most of those big-city mayors have yet to mention that over 80% of the gun violence in America's cities according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is GANG related. Yet not one politician at that Conference mentioned that.
They do however dump millions of dollars into one failed program after another in an effort to at least appear they are doing something. During the sixties and as we saw when Quinn decided to ship 55 million dollars to so-called anti-violence programs, the money disappears and the killings and violence never skips a beat. Back in the sixties, the Black Stone Rangers street gang wound up actually running the programs until several were indicted and imprisoned for stealing large portions of the war on poverty money. The GANGS are simply not going away and the sooner politicians realize that no community can thrive when you have thug killers infecting those communities.
Gangs cannot be bribed. They don't need to because they will end up with the well-meaning money anyway. Violence is a genetic condition. If someone doesn't break the chain, it's getting worse with every generation. Cops, unlike politicians, cannot, and do not turn their heads from ugly or grotesque scenes. Evil thrives in darkness until our politicians step up and shine a light on it (GANG VIOLENCE). It's not going to shrivel up and die anytime soon.
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