Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Cost of Corruption in Illinois

The corruption in Illinois is so excessive, the state has become a national punchline. Blagojevich's national humiliation tour was the most recent event, but Illinois and Chicago have a long history of tolerating corruption.

In Chicago the phrase "vote early, vote often" is usually said with a laugh. It is also widely accepted the dead in Chicago rise every two or four years to vote.

With the conviction of patronage chiefs Robert Sorich and the HDO's Al Sanchez, does any reasonable person think Mayor Daley is not complicit? These convictions occurred after the Shakman decree was signed stating the city would not partake in hiring based on political clout.

Even employees at the Board of Review which evaluates property tax assessments state it is a cesspool of corruption.

It is stunning how this level of corruption is tolerated. Republicans are even culpable because they are terrified Jesse Jackson Jr. will become Mayor and immediately devolve into a race-baiting poverty pimp like his father.

Some think the corruption is tolerated because it has slowly built up over time like a frog in a pot of water on a stove. Does this excuse the apathy?

At political events it is painful to hear the aphorism "people get the government they deserve." There is truth in this saying.

There are always two ways at looking at voter disinterest. Either people are very happy with their lives or they are too self-absorbed to care about voting. Half of the people eligible to register to vote are registered. And half of the registered voters vote. Therefore, our elected officials win with 12.5% of the population supporting them.

One of the barriers to voting is people do not understand the true cost of corruption. Most Chicago residents think corruption is awarding snow removal contracts to the Mayor's friends.

The awarding of clout contracts and no bid contracts is the 300% to 1000% increase in contract value to fair market. $300,000 value contracts are charged well in excess of $1million. Repeat this process thousands of times and you will start to see a massive budget gap developing.

It is less of a concern that a politically connected person gets a city job (assuming they do it adequately) than the long-term impact of corrupt no bid contracts and their corresponding debt.

Governments operate at significantly less efficient levels than the free markets, but Chicago and Illinois governance essentially does not work. The state of Illinois is a year behind in paying their bills. Many Illinois businesses, espesically pharmacies, will not take a check from the state of Illinois.

When patronage and no bid contracts go to a small circle of corrupt power hungry cronies, the needs of the people are not met. There would be revenue to renegotiate the police contracts if but for the corruption tax.

Public safety, mass transit infrastucture, education, and healthcare have all degraded to unacceptable levels because of the cost of corruption. Blagojevich is not the problem, merely a symptom. If voters do not hold elected officials to higher standards, expect more of the same.

Chicago is more dangerous than Baghdad. How many lives are lost every year as a cost of corruption? Less than 50% of Chicago Public School high school students graduate and less than 6% graduate from college. Patients go to Stroger hospital with bags of food because they know they will be there 2-3 meals before seeing a doctor. The jails are overflowing. Public transit is falling apart. And they cannot afford police services.

This is the cost of corruption.


Anonymous,  April 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM  

Illinois makes Louisiana look like armatures when it comes to corruption.

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This blog is about my opinions and world view.  I am a conservative, evangelical Christian.  Generally speaking, if you post a comment, I'll allow you to express your view.  However, if you say something hateful, untruthful, or just generally something I don't like, I may remove it.

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