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Byrd: The worst politician in America

BY MATTHEW BYRD | MARCH 12, 2014 5:00 AM

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Being a loyal Chicago native, it’s very difficult for me, on a regular basis, to not become overwhelmingly nostalgic for my beloved city on the lake. Whenever I consume Mesa’s less-than-desirable pizza, a strong urge to consume Dino’s — the best local pizza place on the planet courtesy of the Northwest Side — overtakes me. Taking the Cambus just reminds me how laughably small the oxymoronic Iowa City is compared to my home.

And don’t even get me started on the accent. As much as people like to tell me, I am not the one who talks funny. It’s you people.

Unfortunately, CNN has provided me an opportunity to ruminate on one of the worst aspects of Chicago: that it’s run by, as Jon Stewart has so accurately named him, a nine-fingered vulgarian who represents everything wrong with the Democratic Party and American politics in general.

The documentary series “Chicagoland,” currently airing on CNN, takes a look at Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, covering Rahm’s tenure as the city’s chief and giving cranky left-wingers such as yours truly even more ammunition to hate the man.

Let’s start with scam that is the TIF program, something Iowa Citians may be familiar with it to a small degree. Originally intended as an incentive program to spur development in economically disadvantaged communities, TIF has become Emanuel’s personal trough to feed the city’s elite development communities.

The basic set-up of TIF is that the city will subsidize construction and significantly lower property tax values on land used for TIF funds in exchange for … nothing, actually. Instead of being used for low-income communities, Rahm has used TIF as a giveaway to downtown high-rise developments.

He is essentially transferring money from poor communities, who now pay the brunt of the city’s property taxes, to build a giant monument to egregious wealth and privilege while also robbing the city of tax revenue that could be used to improve public services such as schools, libraries, public transit, sanitation, hospitals, etc.

Boy, isn’t it great to have a Democrat in charge.

Speaking of those public services, it’s funny that Rahm can find hundreds of millions of dollars for Downtown Crony Capitalist but, suddenly, when the money is being used for average Chicagoans, the city is broke. This has been the motivation behind the closure of almost 50 public schools in the city and half of the city’s mental-health clinics. It’s also the motivation behind the mayor’s proposal to rob the city’s retired public workers of their pensions because of a “pension crisis” cause by a lack of adequate funding by politicians such as … Rahm Emanuel.

I could go on and on for days about every idiotic, pernicious, and downright destructive initiative proposed by my “liberal” mayor. But, the important thing to take away is that, on every major policy issue, Emanuel has decided to placate the city’s elite at the direct expense of its ordinary citizenry, particularly the poor. If you just looked at his record, you’d think the man would’ve been a top candidate for Mitt Romney’s chief of staff, not Obama’s.

But, more importantly, on a national scale Rahm represents just how awful the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party can be when it has some actual power. And, Rahm is a great representation of how you can destroy a great community such as Chicago with just some good old-fashioned conservative/crony capitalist economic policy, something that is echoed in Republican and Democratic Party officials across the country.


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