Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 8, 2007 / 20 Shevat, 5767

Chicago sheds assets in hopes of gaining residents

By George Will


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | CHICAGO — Eighteen years ago, Richard M. Daley went into the family business, which is the business of being mayor of Chicago. Back then, he hardly could have imagined that he would become an accomplished practitioner of today's new wrinkle in public finance, here and elsewhere.


He says his father, who died in 1976, would approve, but one wonders.


Richard J. Daley, who was mayor from 1955 until his death, was a builder. He thought of urban success the way many mayors then did and still do, as the improvement and enlargement of the city's physical assets — bridges, roads, public housing, etc. Today, some mayors and governors are discovering the wisdom of, in effect, cashing in municipal or state assets.


That is why two years ago Chicago became the first city to sell a toll road. Actually, it has leased it for 99 years, which is much the same thing as selling it. The 7.8-mile, six-lane Skyway goes from the Indiana Toll Road (which the state of Indiana last year leased for 75 years to a Spanish-Australian group for $3.85 billion) to Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway. Skyway was built in the 1950s to bring workers and material to and from the steelworks on the South Side. Most of the steelmaking has gone elsewhere, but Skyway was still a sufficiently attractive investment to have drawn $1.83 billion from the same consortium that leased the Indiana Toll Road.


Now, 99 years is a long time. Ninety-nine years ago the Cubs won the World Series; things change. But that is for the consortium to worry about.


Meanwhile, the city has fewer immediate worries because of the one-time infusion of $1.83 billion. The money has financed a $500 million long-term reserve and a midterm reserve that has (note the carefully crafted noncommitment) "mitigated the need to raise taxes over the next eight years." "Mitigated," indeed.


Some of the $1.83 billion has been used for city services, and some has been used to retire city debt — which has caused the three major credit rating agencies to upgrade the city's rating to its highest level since 1978. This makes it cheaper for Chicago to borrow money, thereby increasing the value to the city of the lease arrangement.


The city also has leased, again for 99 years, four underground parking garages for $563 million — $61,342 for each of the 9,178 parking spaces.


What probably will be next? Midway Airport, which is used by 11 airlines and almost 18 million passengers a year.


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


Daley believes that Census figures are evidence of what will happen if he wins his wager on forgoing some future revenue streams in order to put money to work immediately. Chicago, like many other cities, lost population in the 1950s. And the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. But in the 1990s it gained at least 112,290 residents, a 4 percent increase. (Daley believes the Census undercounts African-Americans and Latinos, who together are a majority of Chicagoans.) By selling future revenue streams, Daley believes the city can ignite a virtuous cycle: Buying improvements "as quickly as possible" in education and infrastructure can lure people back into the city, thereby improving the city's tax base and cultural vibrancy, which enables further improvements that attract still more residents.


Unfortunately, Daley's theory — that it can be better to get a sum X immediately, rather than getting over many years a sum Y that is substantially larger than X — assumes something that cannot be assumed. It assumes that governments will prudently husband sudden surges of revenue from the lease or sale of assets. Still, his theory has adherents downstate, in Springfield.


The state government is hoping to lease the state lottery for at least $10 billion. The purchaser would get most of the lottery's revenues and profits for up to 75 years. Last year, the lottery made $630 million on revenues of $2 billion.


Daley stresses that the assets sold are not "core competencie" of the city government, such as public safety and education. Actually, what competencies are really "core" is debatable. Leasing — privatizing — some cities' school systems probably would make the systems more competent.


Perhaps the moral of Chicago's story is that what government can shed, it should shed.


This lesson was illustrated exactly 50 years ago by Murray Kempton, the finest practitioner of the columnist's craft, when he heard the great defense attorney Edward Bennett Williams deliver his successful closing argument for Jimmy Hoffa's acquittal. Kempton's conclusion: "To watch Williams and then to watch a Department of Justice lawyer contending with him is to understand the essential superiority of free enterprise to government ownership."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

Archives

© 2006 WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles