Yesterday Chicago news carried reports that 29th Ward Alderman, Isaac “Ike” Carothers, an influential Democrat and chairman of the City’s Police & Fire Committee, plead guilty to Federal corruption charges involving his accepting sports tickets and $40,000 worth of home remodeling in exchange for greasing the skids on behalf a developer who had a $3 million project in the works.
Yes, another one bites the dust, and it was my intention to yock it up at the Alderman’s expense. There’s pathetic humor inherent in the situation – A powerful Chicago politician, after all he’s gotten away with, is caught picking up a “tip” in the amount of 1.03% of the project’s total price tag.
While not much money was involved, it is an indication of how things work. If a City official can string together enough such deals to get a cash-flow going it can add up to a nice chunk of change. And there are no taxes. A child could do it.
But, my jolly humor went out the window this morning when I read THIS STORY linked from the Drudge Report.
All of a sudden there’s not much to laugh about.
In a few paragraphs we get a very unfunny picture: Right now, as you read this, billions upon billions of dollars are circling the drain, and the rest of the economy is floating in the same direction. This is what we get for all those bail-outs and Louisiana Re-Purchases, and Corn Husker Kick-Backs. The same goes for all the carve-outs and "donuts" and pork projects and the millions earmarked for phantom zip-codes and non-existing congressional districts. That's the way things are done.
This we know: The Chicago Way of doing things is expensive enough in the Windy City, but on a national scale Alderman Carothers’ $40,000 won’t buy a cup of coffee.