By: Diane Benjamin
Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials, commonly seen in within governments that practice Mixed Economics.
Today Mary Ann Ford of the Pantagraph reported on a study by a group called Good Jobs First. They touted Uptown as a “best-practice model of long-range neighborhood planning”. Mary Ann obviously has never heard of free market capitalism since she reported how great Uptown is. Maybe you don’t remember either the days when private investors risked their own money and either succeeded or failed on their own. Personal responsibility is now passe, gambling with taxpayer money is the norm.
Here’s a list of problems with Uptown’s crony capitalism. Some of these were listed in the study as successes:
- $22 million dollars was received from the Federal government. Problem: Total debt is now approaching $18 Trillion. Chalk up $22 Million of that to Normal.
- Illinois is spending $1.5 billion on high-speed rail, hence the need for the $22 million grant. Add that to the $18 trillion debt
- 140,000 hours of work in at least 13 different crafts were created. Union jobs complete with union dues. Who got the dues? Candidates pledging to spend taxpayer money so they have jobs. What happens when the job is complete?
- Private development in Uptown totaled $220 million. How much is secured by public-private partnerships that put taxpayers on the hook if the business fails?
- How much debt was put on taxpayers? I reported that yesterday: https://blnnews.com/2014/10/30/normals-debt/
- How much have taxes increased? http://il-normal.civicplus.com/index.aspx?nid=129 and http://il-normal.civicplus.com/index.aspx?nid=597 and http://il-normal.civicplus.com/index.aspx?nid=531
- Since government created the plan, Uptown Station was built for government, not the people. We have a train station and no way to drop riders off at the door. It was planned for Koos’s agenda, not your convenience.
- Amtrak loses Millions of dollars every year, receives millions of taxpayer dollars every year, and the trains aren’t close to running on time. Since government has deemed them a necessity, they don’t have to improve.
- When construction ends, Normal will start the process again. Koos already has more plans. Union workers need jobs, so government will create them, at taxpayer expense.
Our country is stuck in a vicious cycle, just like during the Great Depression, where government thinks it is their job to create jobs. Until we elect people unwilling to spend taxpayer dollars for pet projects, the cycle will continue. The private sector is squeezed out, free market capitalism and innovation die. Your pockets will be picked so “friends of government” have jobs. We stopped it before and we can stop it again.
One more point: “best practices” is a term heard frequently in both Bloomington and Normal. Who decided what “best” is? “Best” is determined by people like Good Jobs First who want discussion shut down. You aren’t suppose to question their infinite wisdom! Whenever “best practices” is said, it is safe to assume the speaker wants you to sit down and shut up because they are smarter than you.
Keep your ears open, you will hear other elected officials claiming they know what “best practice” is. It’s time to sending anybody saying it packing.