One American city is having a multi-pronged crisis. According to the Chicago Tribune, "out of the country's ten largest cities, the Chicago metropolitan statistical area was the only one to drop in population between 2015 and 2016."
In 2016, a staggering 19,570 people left the Chicago area--almost double the number that left in 2015, which was the first year since 1990 that the city and surrounding metropolitan area didn't gain residents.
Over the past year, the Tribune surveyed dozens of former residents who've packed up in recent years and they cited a variety of reasons: high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate, and weather.
Chicago Tribune cites a resident named Patrice Bedford:
The city's expensive, she said. Public schools face an unfolding financial crisis and the violence is "terrifying and frightening" to a parent-to-be. It didn't take long for Bedford, 28, to realize it was time to pack up and leave her Roscoe Village home.
Bedford is moving to Denver, Colorado.
While one cannot change the weather, and budget fights are mainstays of numerous states, three factors are critical in determining why Americans are fleeing Chicago.
WalletHub recently crunched the numbers to find the states with the worst tax burden, and Illinois came out on top. The website "calculated relative income-tax obligations by applying the effective income-tax rates in each state and locality to the average American’s income."
Illinois had the highest "effective total state and local tax rates on median U.S. households" at 14.76%, or approximately $8,011 annually. When cost-of-living is included, Illinois jumps to from 51 to 43--still pretty bad.
According to a January 2017 report form the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the 51 largest metropolitan areas, Chicago ranks 47th, with an unemployment rate of 6%. While 6% may not seem like a high number, other metropolitan areas such as Salt Lake City, Denver, and Austin sit at 3%, 3.1%, and 3.5% unemployment respectively. In difficult economic times, three percentage points could be the difference between a steady job and continuous unemployment.
The murder rate in Chicago is astronomical. From 2014 - 2015, murders in Chicago rose by approximately 17%, jumping from 423 to 496, according to CNN. However, the leap from 2015 - 2016 is truly shocking. In 2016, there were 762 murders in Chicago, a year-to-year increase of 53.6%.
The reason for this, according to Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, is a precipitous drop in "proactive policing."
Mac Donald, author of The War on Cops, spoke with The Daily Wire about Chicago's increase in violence:
"Officers are backing off of proactive policing. Pedestrian stops dropped 82% through most of last year, and criminals have become emboldened.
It began in 2015 because of the general--what I've called the 'Ferguson Effect,' which is the officers' response to the calumnies against them by the Black Lives Matter movement that says that proactive policing is racist. Officers are encountering huge hostility in the streets now.
Last June, a Chicago officer told me he's never encountered so much hatred in his 19 years on the job. He said it's basically become an undoable job now because when officers get out of their cars to make a pedestrian stop, [they] often find themselves surrounded by hostile, jeering crowds, throwing things at them or interfering with their arrest."
Mac Donald noted that the increase in crime, as well as the retreat of proactive policing, was made worse in late-2015 due to several separate incidents:
"It was noticeable already in 2015. There was a meeting Attorney General Loretta Lynch had called in Washington in October of 2015 with big city police chiefs and mayors to discuss the rising crime. [Chicago Mayor] Rahm Emanuel told Loretta Lynch that the Chicago cops had gone fetal; they were no longer willing to try to interdict criminal behavior.
Then you had the release of the Laquon McDonald video in November of 2015, which definitely set the department back.
Then, former superintendent, Garry McCarthy, foolishly agreed to a settlement with the ACLU over the Chicago police's 'stop policies.' The ACLU of Illinois had written a completely specious report on stops that pointed out that 74% of all stops police made in Chicago had black subjects. However, that type of analysis is completely illegitimate because it ignores crime rates.
McCarthy agreed to the 'stop' agreement, and it created a new form that officers had to fill out following a pedestrian stop that was three pages long, three narrative sections, and it discouraged that type of proactive policing above and beyond the type of ideological attack the Black Lives Matter movement had done. That was the additional nail in the coffin."
While the unemployment rate is a mixed bag in terms of blame, cause and effect, both the egregiously high taxes, as well as the rise in crime can be directly attributed to progressive policies or ideals.
Progressives strive for a perverse Utopianism in which the government is the parent, and the people its children. The only means by which they can achieve such utopian goals is to forcibly remove money from taxpayers. When the utopia ultimately fails to emerge, progressives increase taxes. Rather than realize the failure of their aims, they push harder, believing their plans simply haven't gone far enough. It's a cycle that only ends when the money dries up.
As for violence, Mac Donald explains it perfectly. Anti-police sentiment has become increasingly aggressive, and departments have backed down, which has left the city open to criminal activity. When criminals--specifically gang members--freely roam the streets, death follows.
Americans are fleeing Chicago because it's a dying city; and its status as a dying city is due in large part to progressive social justice and utopian policies.
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