Detroit Is Chicago's Future

Is Chicago going the way of Detroit?

The short answer: Yes.

Detroit at its height had 2.1 million residents. After decades of one party rule it is a bankrupt city with a little over 600,000 residents and tens of thousands of abandoned homes and buildings. The city has actually paid people to leave almost empty neighborhoods and move to others within the city limits so utilities could be shut off and other services terminated in order to save money.

Chicago is headed down the same path if it doesn't change its direction, stop punishing its residents and businesses, and dismantle the Democrat Party machine that has ruled the Windy City for decades.

A sign of trouble: people are leaving the city and its population has declined for the first time since the early 90's. It's not just the city of Chicago losing population but the state of Illinois as well. It is an indicator that something is seriously amiss.

The biggest loser in the latest demographic analysis is the city of Chicago. Of all the metropolitan areas that lost population in the last year, it lost the most—more than the greater Los Angeles area, more than Boston, more than Minneapolis.

By almost every metric, Illinois' population is sharply declining, largely because residents are fleeing the state. The Tribune surveyed dozens of former residents who've left within the last five years, and each offered their own list of reasons for doing so. Common reasons include high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and the weather.

Are any steps to change this being taken? There have been a few, but lawsuits filed to stop changes to things like Chicago's severely underfunded pension plans succeeded and the financial juggernaut that is threatening the city is picking up speed. Much of this failure can be attributed to the public employee unions infesting the city and wielding unprecedented power. This is the same infestation that doomed Detroit to bankruptcy, failure, and decay. It has also led some of those same unions to demand the city double down and dump even more money it doesn't have and can't raise into retirement plans that will themselves go belly up once the city can't meet its growing obligations.

We've already seen the start of the decay with the crime rate skyrocketing (homicides and shootings have increased while elsewhere in the US the trend has been in the opposite direction), schools are under-performing and the worst are being closed, overloading the remaining schools, always increasing taxes and business 'fees', and increasingly draconian business regulations. This is exactly the same path that brought down Detroit.

Unless some major changes are made – one of them being getting rid of the entrenched special interests and cronies - Chicago will fail and it will end up looking more like decaying Detroit every day. That would be a shame.