The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


Sometimes it's important to look at things in-the-small to learn important lessons about things in-the-large.

The Democrats desperately want to take over Congress in order to resist Donald Trump. In fact, that seems to be their entire raison d'être. The Dems seem unable to tell us exactly what they'd do to improve the economy (it's booming), improve the plight of the middle class (it's improving by the month), reduce unemployment (it's already at its lowest levels in decades), fix healthcare (it's hobbled by the remnants of Obamacare, a program they continue to champion), improve the lives of minorities (black and hispanics have seen the best economic and jobs picture in half a century), reduce hot spots around the world (their guy, nincompoop, John Kerry, is working hard to submarine any progress in controlling Iran). But none of that seems to matter, in fact, their message is simple—hate on Trump.

But back to things in the small. Michael Barone writes about the great city of Chicago and the recent announcement that a mega-political operator, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has decided not to run for re-election:
Chicago is one of the great creations of mankind: a frontier post in 1833 that was one of the world’s great cities just 60 years later, showing off in the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 its new lakefront parks, its new electric light systems, its sanitary canal channeling wastewater away from Lake Michigan, its pioneering skyscrapers and enormous stockyards and factories.

Now the economic foundations of the metropolis are being drained and undermined to provide the generous pensions of long-retired public employees, many of them now in income-tax-free Florida, while public schools are closed, services reduced, police patrols pulled back.

That looks like a future of decline for Chicago, and maybe for America, too. Democrats have shown zero interest in reducing the entitlements of retirees, not since President Bill Clinton broke off negotiations with House Speaker Newt Gingrich amid the impeachment crisis of 1998. Ditto Donald Trump, and no Republican seems to be raising the issue, as President George W. Bush did in 2005.

It’s not a good sign — like a cold wind coming off Lake Michigan — that even as shrewd and well-connected a politician as Rahm Emanuel doesn’t see a viable way forward.
Chicago has had a Democratic mayor and city council for 64 of 68 years! Therefore, the city represents an excellent laboratory for the effectiveness of long-term Democratic governance in-the-small. By any viable measure—including the city budget, taxes, pension obligations, education, public safety, net outflow of taxpaying residents—Chicago is in trouble—big trouble.

Barone provides a recent history:
[Democratic Mayor Rahm] Emanuel inherited a city whose electorate was divided roughly equally between blacks on the South and West sides, Hispanics on the West and Northwest sides and gentry liberals running ever farther inland from the lakefront. It had a great economic heritage and enjoyed robust growth in the 1990s.

It has been downhill since. Chicago and Illinois have been hobbled by metastasizing pension obligations, frozen in place by state courts [judges appointed by a Democratic legislature] and [Democratic] state House speaker Michael Madigan. Taxes have been rising: Shoppers on North Michigan Avenue pay the nation’s highest taxes.

Chicagoans have been voting with their feet. Metro Chicago has by far the highest percentage of domestic out-migration of any major metropolitan area, and net outflow this decade is 5 percent of its 2010 population. In particular, blacks have been leaving metro Chicago for Atlanta and other points south.

Emanuel’s electoral base has been lakefront liberals plus a plurality of whichever minority group hasn’t produced his main opponent. That was blacks in 2015, but his standing with black voters has been hurt by his concealment during electoral season of the videotape of a police shooting of a young black man.

At the same time, Emanuel acquiesced in Obama administration oversight of the city’s police department. And police officers’ retreat from proactive policing has led to enormous increases in shootings and homicides.
A tax and spend economic model dovetailed with concessions to public sector unions is the mother's milk of Democratic policy in-the-small and also in-the-large. It has crippled blue cities (like Chicago) and blue states (like Connecticut) forcing economic decline and in some cases, conditions that force significant out-migration.

And yet, the Dems tell us that the policies that have failed in-the-small will somehow work in-the-large at a federal level. The entire presidency of Barack Obama demonstrated that claim to be false, but it's trotted out every two years. To help people believe their demonstrably false claims, Democrats always mix in a heaping cup of emotion—hate Trump, abolish racist, MeToo, and now Democratic Socialism.

If none of it works in-the-small, why on earth would anyone believe it would work in-the-large. But that's what the Dems are selling, and in these turbulent times emotion may very well trump comment sense, past history, and critical thinking.