Illinois’ dispirited bicentennial celebration ends

By John Ruberry As I've mentioned here a few times, 2018 is Illinois' bicentennial year, a fact that not only has escaped most Americans but even, I suspect, most people living in Illinois. Last Monday the official Illinois bicentennial party was held in Chicago at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. … Continue reading Illinois’ dispirited bicentennial celebration ends

Forward to Detroit: Prominent Chicago mayoral candidate suggests a commuter tax

By John Ruberry Democrats, particularly Chicago Democrats, love political dynasties. Before Mayor Carter Harrison Jr. there was Carter Harrison. Before Richard M. Daley there was Mayor Richard J. Daley. In Mike Royko's indispensable study of urban machine politics, the Pulitzer Prize columnist wrote, "The Dan Ryan is the expressway that [Richard J.] Daley takes to … Continue reading Forward to Detroit: Prominent Chicago mayoral candidate suggests a commuter tax

Harvey, Illinois’ layoffs to pay for pensions portends nasty future for the rest of state

By John Ruberry For decades Illinois, Chicago, and many other Land of Lincoln municipalities have been kicking the can down the road in regards to public worker pension obligations. Harvey, a poverty-stricken southern suburb of Chicago with a long history of corruption, has not just reached the end of the road, it has run off … Continue reading Harvey, Illinois’ layoffs to pay for pensions portends nasty future for the rest of state

Illinois Democratic governor nominee mum on details for his proposed pension bailout tax hike

By John Ruberry "We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth." First presidential inaugural address from Ronald Reagan, who was born in Illinois. "As a result, Illinois government is a massive retirement system that, during work hours, also offers some … Continue reading Illinois Democratic governor nominee mum on details for his proposed pension bailout tax hike

Illinois bicentennial: The 14 worst leaders from the state

By John Ruberry In honor of Illinois' bicentennial, Kerry Lester of the Daily Herald compiled a list of Illinois' best-known leaders. There is some good in it--Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, and some bad. Ethel Kennedy? Robert F. Kennedy's widow was born in Chicago but grew up in Connecticut. And besides, her contributions don't amount … Continue reading Illinois bicentennial: The 14 worst leaders from the state

The decline and fall of Chicago

By John Ruberry Two unwelcome pieces of bad news punched Chicago in the face last week. A state pension reform law for two municipal pension plans was unanimously ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court. Also last week came news that the Chicago metropolitan area saw the biggest population drop of the nation's metro regions. Chicago … Continue reading The decline and fall of Chicago

Rahm’s last term

By John Ruberry Yes, three years is a long time in politics but even before the uproar over the Laquan McDonald shooting--the troubled black teen was shot 16 times by a white Chicago police officer in 2014--Mayor Rahm Emanuel already faced tough reelection prospects in 2019. President Obama's former chief of staff was forced into a runoff … Continue reading Rahm’s last term

Chicago Tribune columnist’s “In Chicago, wishing for a Hurricane Katrina” creates anger

By John Ruberry As the tenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina approaches we will come across many retrospectives of the storm that killed over 1,800 people and destroyed large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico coastal area--particularly in New Orleans. But we won't see too many like this one from the Chicago Tribune's Kristen … Continue reading Chicago Tribune columnist’s “In Chicago, wishing for a Hurricane Katrina” creates anger

Blackhawks Cup win gives Chicagoans a respite from troubles

By John Ruberry Chicago has suffered a tough run since the Great Recession of 2008-09. Its high murder rate has garnered America's third-largest city the unfortunate nickname of Chiraq--a morphing of Chicago and Iraq. Depopulation--a big problem for most rust belt cities--continues to plague Chicago. Its population hasn't been as low as it is now since … Continue reading Blackhawks Cup win gives Chicagoans a respite from troubles

Chicago: America’s Junk City

By John Ruberry On Monday Rahm Emanuel will be sworn in for his second term as mayor of Chicago. He faces enormous challenges including a high murder rate--with it comes the new nickname for the city, "Chiraq," a crumbling infrastructure that includes pothole-strewn streets, and multiple financial crises. Just last week Moody's Investors Services double-downgraded … Continue reading Chicago: America’s Junk City

Unions–and a one day classroom sub–shed light on Illinois’ pension debacle

By John Ruberry About 20 percent of Illinois' operating budget goes to state worker pensions. With so much cash going to retired Prairie State employees, you would think that the state where I live would be on diligent in funding the system. But Illinois' pensions are the worst funded among the 50 states.  Some years … Continue reading Unions–and a one day classroom sub–shed light on Illinois’ pension debacle

Mayor One Percent: Class warfare in Chicago’s mayoral race

By John Ruberry Four weeks from now Chicagoans will return to the polls and choose between the remaining two candidates for mayor--former Obama White House Chief of Staff and incumbent Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" (pronounced 'chewie') Garcia. Interestingly, the candidates are often referred to by the mainstream media as Rahm or Chuy--I … Continue reading Mayor One Percent: Class warfare in Chicago’s mayoral race

Next public sector union battleground: Illinois

By John Ruberry Four years after Wisconsin became the chief battleground in the war of taxpayers versus public sector unions, a new front is developing south of the Cheese Curtain in Illinois. With the possible exception of California, no where else in America are government unions so powerful. And of course it should be no … Continue reading Next public sector union battleground: Illinois

No transparency: Illinois pension “fix” betrays larger problem in state

By John Ruberry On the day before Thanksgiving word trickled out that the bipartisan legislative committee that has been working since June on a fix for Illinois' worst-funded-in-the-nation public pension system has finally completed their work. Except only the insiders knew the details of the plan to erase the $100 billion pension deficit. The outline … Continue reading No transparency: Illinois pension “fix” betrays larger problem in state