Crook County is what happens when you elect a leftist to run it

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Crook County is what happens when you elect a leftist to run it

By John Ruberry

They’ll turn us all into beg­gars ’cause they’re eas­ier to please.
“The Rain­mak­ers, Gov­ern­ment Cheese.

I am sick and tired of sub­si­diz­ing crooks.“
Roger Keats, Toni Preckwinkle’s 2010 Repub­li­can gen­eral elec­tion oppo­nent, announc­ing his move to Texas.

Last month in this space I wrote about Illi­nois’ bub­bling soda tax rebel­lion in Cook County, where Chicago is. It’s where I live. Many peo­ple call it “Crook County.” I do.

After a law­suit delayed its impo­si­tion for a month, a one-​cent per ounce sweet­ened bev­er­age took effect which cov­ers not just soda – whether it has sugar or arti­fi­cial sweet­ener – but also fla­vored bot­tled water, sports bev­er­ages, energy drinks, and sweet­ened cof­fee. But not expen­sive sug­ary cof­fee pur­chased from a barista at a Star­bucks or other high-​end cof­fee ven­dors. Oh, how did that last one escape notice?

A penny-​per-​ounce doesn’t sound like much, but as you’ll see in my pho­to­graph on the left, a 42-​ounce bot­tle of Ari­Zona iced-​tea on sale for a dol­lar at a Dol­lar Tree store near my home sud­denly costs $1.42 – that’s a 42-​percent sales tax rate. A budget-​minded fam­ily who pur­chases a 24-​pack of store-​brand pop (the word soda isn’t used much in the Chicago area) for $5.00 at the local big-​box retailer has to dish out $7.88.

Of course the tax is “for the kids.” It always is that way with leftists.

Left­ist? Who is a leftist?

Cook County Board Pres­i­dent Toni “Taxwin­kle” Preck­win­kle, a Chicago Demo­c­rat, that’s who.

Proof? Do you want proof?

On my way to work on Fri­day I heard a clip from Dan Proft on WIND-​AM Chicago of for­mer Utah Repub­li­can politi­cian Dan Lil­jen­quist describ­ing a “sober­ing expe­ri­ence” about the time he met with Preck­win­kle when she was a Chicago alder­man. Lil­jen­quist was a law stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago and work­ing for the Insti­tute for Justice’s Clinic on Entre­pre­neur­ship. They were offer­ing free legal advice to inner city Chicagoans who wished to start their own busi­ness. Lil­jen­quist pitched his idea to Preck­win­kle, who replied to him, “I’m opposed to self-​employment. You give these peo­ple false hopes that they could ever earn a liv­ing on their own.”

Yes, Preck­win­kle is a left­ist. With left­ists, gov­ern­ment is their god. When there is a prob­lem only gov­ern­ment can solve it. Gov­ern­ment, of course, is never the prob­lem. So Preck­win­kle has set her­self up as Mother Preck­win­kle, spend­ing other people’s money on Cook County’s mas­sive health care net­work. Per­haps pri­vate hos­pi­tals and health care insti­tu­tions can do a bet­ter job, and there are plenty of them here. Sure, not all health care facil­i­ties accept Med­ic­aid but plenty do. And what if – wait for it – instead of depend­ing on county health care, county res­i­dents instead got jobs in the pri­vate sec­tor and become eli­gi­ble for employer-​based health insur­ance. Or even bet­ter, let’s say they start their own busi­nesses and hire peo­ple who become eli­gi­ble for pri­vate insurance.

Oops, I’m giv­ing them “false hopes.”

Cook County, not sur­pris­ingly, is suf­fer­ing from neg­a­tive pop­u­la­tion growth.

I men­tioned Mother Preck­win­kle. But some­times a mother can’t do it all – she needs a nanny. Enter bil­lion­aire and for­mer New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Nanny Bloomberg” is spend­ing $3 mil­lion on radio and tele­vi­sion ads sup­port­ing Taxwinkle’s tax. Oppo­nents of the soda tax, the Can the Tax Coali­tion, led by retail­ers, are spend­ing a lot on their ads too. Preck­win­kle dis­misses them as “Big Soda.”

Mother and Nanny say that the soda tax is a health care mea­sure to pre­vent dia­betes, heart dis­ease, and obe­sity. But Taxwkin­kle sued the retail group for delay­ing col­lec­tion of the tax by for a month. You mean that the tax was not about health? After an uproar, the suit was quickly dropped.

Oh, speak­ing of uproar, 87 per­cent of Cook County res­i­dents oppose the soda tax.

Food stamp recip­i­ents, because of fed­eral law, don’t have to pay the pop tax. There are nearly 900,000 peo­ple on food stamps in Cook County. That shoots the “for the kids” and “it’s for our health” argu­ment to pieces.

Crook County has been liv­ing beyond its means for decades. Some of the soda tax money will go to woe­fully under­funded but gen­er­ous pen­sion plans. Mother Preck­win­kle and her pre­de­ces­sors have been reward­ing their public-​sector union allies for most of my life.

But it’s not Preckwinkle’s money. It belongs to tax­pay­ers such as myself.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_95046” align=“alignright” width=“300”] In down­town Chicago[/caption]

Taxwin­kle hasn’t cam­paigned as a left­ist. Amaz­ingly, she orig­i­nally ran as a tax-​cutter. Preck­win­kle elim­i­nated an unpop­u­lar county sales tax. Then she brought it back. But Preck­win­kle is gov­ern­ing as a left­ist. Because of course she is one. It’s time for Cook County res­i­dents to wake up and think about what they vote for. And that includes the mostly lap-​dog mem­bers of the Cook County Board.

And many more politi­cians as well.

Left­ism is expen­sive but it’s prof­itable for retail­ers who live on the other side of the Cook County line. Pop sales are boom­ing there.

John Ruberry is a fifth-​generation Cook County res­i­dent who reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

By John Ruberry

“They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.
“The Rainmakers, Government Cheese.

“I am sick and tired of subsidizing crooks.”
Roger Keats, Toni Preckwinkle’s 2010 Republican general election opponent, announcing his move to Texas.

Last month in this space I wrote about Illinois’ bubbling soda tax rebellion in Cook County, where Chicago is. It’s where I live. Many people call it “Crook County.” I do.

After a lawsuit delayed its imposition for a month, a one-cent per ounce sweetened beverage took effect which covers not just soda–whether it has sugar or artificial sweetener–but also flavored bottled water, sports beverages, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee. But not expensive  sugary coffee purchased from a barista at a Starbucks or other high-end coffee vendors. Oh, how did that last one escape notice?

A penny-per-ounce doesn’t sound like much, but as you’ll see in my photograph on the left, a 42-ounce bottle of AriZona iced-tea on sale for a dollar at a Dollar Tree store near my home suddenly costs $1.42–that’s a 42-percent sales tax rate. A budget-minded family who purchases a 24-pack of store-brand pop (the word soda isn’t used much in the Chicago area) for $5.00 at the local big-box retailer has to dish out $7.88.

Of course the tax is “for the kids.” It always is that way with leftists.

Leftist? Who is a leftist?

Cook County Board President Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle, a Chicago Democrat, that’s who.

Proof? Do you want proof?

On my way to work on Friday I heard a clip from Dan Proft on WIND-AM Chicago of former Utah Republican politician Dan Liljenquist describing a “sobering experience” about the time he met with Preckwinkle when she was a Chicago alderman. Liljenquist was a law student at the University of Chicago and working for the Institute for Justice’s Clinic on Entrepreneurship. They were offering free legal advice to inner city Chicagoans who wished to start their own business. Liljenquist pitched his idea to Preckwinkle, who replied to him, “I’m opposed to self-employment. You give these people false hopes that they could ever earn a living on their own.”

Yes, Preckwinkle is a leftist. With leftists, government is their god. When there is a problem only government can solve it. Government, of course, is never the problem. So Preckwinkle has set herself up as Mother Preckwinkle, spending other people’s money on Cook County’s massive health care network. Perhaps private hospitals and health care institutions can do a better job, and there are plenty of them here. Sure, not all health care facilities accept Medicaid but plenty do. And what if–wait for it–instead of depending on county health care, county residents instead got jobs in the private sector and become eligible for employer-based health insurance. Or even better, let’s say they start their own businesses and hire people who become eligible for private insurance.

Oops, I’m giving them “false hopes.”

Cook County, not surprisingly, is suffering from negative population growth.

I mentioned Mother Preckwinkle. But sometimes a mother can’t do it all–she needs a nanny. Enter billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Nanny Bloomberg” is spending $3 million on radio and television ads supporting Taxwinkle’s tax. Opponents of the soda tax, the Can the Tax Coalition, led by retailers, are spending a lot on their ads too. Preckwinkle dismisses them as “Big Soda.”

Mother and Nanny say that the soda tax is a health care measure to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But Taxwkinkle sued the retail group for delaying collection of the tax by for a month. You mean that the tax was not about health? After an uproar, the suit was quickly dropped.

Oh, speaking of uproar, 87 percent of Cook County residents oppose the soda tax.

Food stamp recipients, because of federal law, don’t have to pay the pop tax. There are nearly 900,000 people on food stamps in Cook County. That shoots the “for the kids” and “it’s for our health” argument to pieces.

Crook County has been living beyond its means for decades. Some of the soda tax money will go to woefully underfunded but generous pension plans. Mother Preckwinkle and her predecessors have been rewarding their public-sector union allies for most of my life.

But it’s not Preckwinkle’s money. It belongs to taxpayers such as myself.

In downtown Chicago

Taxwinkle hasn’t campaigned as a leftist. Amazingly, she originally ran as a tax-cutter. Preckwinkle eliminated an unpopular county sales tax. Then she brought it back. But Preckwinkle is governing as a leftist. Because of course she is one. It’s time for Cook County residents to wake up and think about what they vote for. And that includes the mostly lap-dog members of the Cook County Board.

And many more politicians as well.

Leftism is expensive but it’s profitable for retailers who live on the other side of the Cook County line. Pop sales are booming there.

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Cook County resident who regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.