Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff in President Barack Obama’s White House, has written an op-ed in the Washington Post advising America, and Democrats in particular, to follow Chicago’s example in designing their policies, arguing that doing so will help the economy and keep Republicans out of office.
Emanuel advocates heavy investment in public infrastructure, funds for competition among public schools, spending more money for skills training at the collegiate level, and pushing for “comprehensive immigration reform.” He also cites Democrat successes from Bill Clinton’s second term, such as balancing the federal budget.
Yet there are a few features of Emanuel’s tenure in Chicago that the nation would be wise not to emulate.
Murder. One is a massive violent crime wave, resulting in more than 400 murders by October 1. The city has already passed last year’s total of 435 murders, and the murder rate is rising in Chicago despite drops in other major American cities and in spite of the nation’s most restrictive gun control laws outside of Washington, DC.
Taxes. Another is the enormous tax burden Chicago imposes on its residents. The city has the highest sales tax in the nation, at 9.5%. That is partly why in his own budget for 2013, Emanuel refused to raise taxes–and, in fact, cut certain taxes. Instead, he proposed raising revenues from other sources, and cutting spending in several areas to balance the city’s budget. (Curiously, Emanuel does not offer that same advice to President Obama.)