Feds Investigate Jesse Jackson Jr.

We all knew this was coming:

Federal prosecutors and FBI agents in Washington have launched a new criminal investigation of Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. involving financial improprieties, including possible misuse of funds monitored by Congress, law enforcement sources tell NBC News.The probe prompted lawyers for Jackson to meet with federal prosecutors this week in an attempt to persuade them not to indict the congressman.

via NBC Chicago.

This couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Businesses Expanding but Not Hiring

A majority of owners of midsized businesses in the Chicago area plan to expand in the next three months, but only a third say they will hire more workers in that time, according to a new survey.  …

The most recent poll … found that nearly 60 percent of surveyed businesses planned to expand in the next six months. …At the same time, just 30 percent plan to add staff in the next three months. In the spring survey, 42 percent said they planned to hire soon.

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

Businesses are terrified of the government.  So what do they do?  More as slowly as possible.  Hire as few as possible.  Be as conservative as possible.  Because the G is going to come and screw you up real bad at any minute.

Business are terrified of Obamacare.  The costs associated with bringing on new people is dizzying.  Hire someone today and down the road you may just have to fire them because their health care costs are out of control.

Running a business is hard.  Really hard.

Any business that tells you that they”could use “help from the government” is so big that they are fully in bed with the government.  Much like GE, or GM.  Recall that GE paid no taxes on $14B in income in 2010.  The GM fiasco speaks for itself.

The life blood of this country is in the small and medium sized businesses.  Right now these businesses are sick and we’re not nurturing them the way we should.  But they future is our future.

This country is heading in the wrong direction.

$2M in Unemployment to Inmates

More than 1,100 people have collected nearly $2 million in unemployment benefits while they were in county jails or state prisons, including $43,000 that went to a person in the Cook County Jail, a state agency said Tuesday.

Now they may face state or federal criminal fraud charges as well as having to repay what they shouldn’t have taken in the first place, said Greg Rivara, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

In Cook County alone, there were 296 inmates tied to $722,689 in wrongful payments. In Will County, 21 inmates collected $85,159. Lake County was another leader with 20 inmates collecting $84,533, the agency said.

via Chicago Tribune.

WT…?!  You couldn’t make this stuff up.

#1. Where are the two wonder-twins of justice in this?  Nothing from Lisa Madigan or Anita Alvarez?  Why?  Where have they been?
#2.  Who the hell is running this agency?  Jail and prison records are actually a matter of public record.  You’re telling me no one ever bothered to cross-check the payouts against another public record?

#3.  It kinda makes you wonder how much fraud is really going on in the system.  After all, The Machine has their corrupt friends running all these agencies there is really no limit to how much might be missing.

Certainly not last… This is just another fine example as to why any service run by the government is doomed to ultimately doomed to fail.  People are incentivized to cheat the system.  But government employees are also incentivized to get as many people as possible into the system so they can justify their jobs and get more jobs and thus become more politically powerful.  As such, no one is watching the money.
The government that works the least is most often the government that works best.

SUV as Deadly Weapon

Two people were struck by a hit-and-run driver after a fight outside a River North neighborhood bar early Sunday morning, police said.

via Chicago Tribune.

Although it’s not reported here, the news from police on the scene is that this was a street fight where the fight’s loser went to his car and then used it to run over the fight’s winner.

Another example of people who are intent on hurting other people proving they can do so without using a firearm.

Ald. Burke, Wrigley & Your Tax Dollars

Ten years ago, Chicago’s most powerful alderman, Edward M. Burke, and the rest of the City Council signed off on a deal that promised $16 million in taxpayer subsidies to the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. to help it build a new corporate campus on Goose Island rather than move to the suburbs.

Three years later, Burke’s law firm, retained by Wrigley, persuaded Cook County officials to lower the property assessments for two buildings the chewing gum giant had bought down the street from the new campus.

Burke’s legal work helped Wrigley cut its property taxes by more than $412,000 between 2006 and 2008, records show.

For that, the company says, it paid the alderman about $90,000 in legal fees.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

What the story fails to mention is that Wrigley also received millions in TIF money to build the hitherto unfinished building on Goose Island.

The story is a good read (i.e. good read it) as it also talks about how Wrigley has been sold to Mars.  So now all the millions spent on top of the millions in lost revenue will likely never be recouped.

Just embarrassing all around…. unless you’re The Machine.

Illinois Need to Cut COLAs

The head of Illinois’ largest pension plan strongly suggested that cuts in cost-of-living benefits are inevitable for more than 360,000 teachers and retirees outside of Chicago.

In an interview with Crain’s editors and reporters, Richard Ingram, executive director of the underfunded Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, said state politicians will have few other options if they want to make meaningful progress on closing the gap between promised pension benefits and the available funding.

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

Well Duh!

What’s missing from this article is any analysis as to how much longer the pensions can survive should the state cut or reduce the COLA.  Mark my words — cutting the COLA is NOT a FIX.  It is a band-aid at best.

Illinois – Worst Financial Shape Ever

Bloomberg L.P., the big New York financial data firm, is holding its fall municipal-financing conference on Wednesday, and guess what the title is for the special panel on the Land of Lincoln?  Try Land of Entropy.  Yes, sports fans, the panel titled “Illinois Treading Water” is set for 1:45 p.m. and, according to a synopsis, not too much good will be said about our fine state.

“California debt is beating Illinois bonds by the most in three months as investors choosing between the two lowest rated U.S. states reward efforts to bolster the finances of the nation’s biggest pension in California,” it says.  But though they passed a version of pension reform in California, nothing good has happened here.

“Illinois lawmakers failed to advance any measures in a special session Aug. 17,” the synopsis says.  “Standard & Poor’s cut the state’s credit.”  And, at last check, “Illinois carried a backlog of about $8 billion in unpaid bills, not including pension obligations.

“More: Illinois’ ratio of pension assets to liabilities is “the lowest among U.S. states.”  It concludes, “What is the outlook for significant defaults in the state? How can Illinois get its fiscal house in order?”

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

Rahm, Michael Madigan, Pat Quinn, John Cullerton, and the rest of The Machine will go down in history as fiddling while Illinois burned.

Fast and Furious Killed 14 Teenagers

“Near midnight, the assassins, later identified as hired guns for the Mexican cartel La Linea, broke into a one-story house and opened fire on a gathering of nearly 60 teenagers. Outside, lookouts gunned down a screaming neighbor and several students who had managed to escape. Fourteen young men and women were killed, and 12 more were wounded before the hit men finally fled.”

Citing a Mexican Army document it obtained and published, Univision reported that “[t]hree of the high caliber weapons fired that night in Villas de Salvarcar were linked to a gun tracing operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

via The Daily Caller.

This blood on Eric Holder’s hands.

Fast and Furious started as a way for the Obama administration to “prove” Hillary Clinton’s lie that three-quarters of guns found in Mexico were from U.S. Southern states.  The intention was to use this “proof” to force Congress to pass tougher gun laws.

But instead it blew-up in their face.  Now they’re all scrambling to pretend it never happened.