An Open Letter to Chicago

Dear Chicago,

You really screwed over your millennials.
And it’s a shame because we love you, but that love is starting to waver.
Remember what you did about 60 years ago?
When city unions bribed politicians with votes in exchange for (outrageous) pension benefits that you couldn’t afford?
You knew it wasn’t right, but you did it anyway.
You promised police officers, firefighters, and teachers ridiculous amounts of retirement money that you couldn’t. afford. to give.
Now those people are retired, and you’re $20 billion short on delivering your promises.
Twenty. Billion. Dollars.
Chicago, your annual budget is $9 billion!
What were you thinking??
Worse, you expect my generation to pay for your carelessness.
You basically racked up a $20 billion credit card bill, and then asked us to pay for it.
Oh sure, go ahead, deny it.
But you know as well as I know that millennials will end up paying the price.
And Chicago, that really pisses us off.
We don’t like paying for taxes that go nowhere and serve no greater purpose except to make up for your bad behavior.
You foolishly spent not only retirees’ money, but also their kids’ money.
My money.
And you spent it before we were even born.
Seriously??
Here we are facing exorbitant college tuition costs, while everyone around us complains about how much millennials complain, and YOU my beloved city… YOU just royally screwed us.
Just as we’re starting our careers, families, post-academic lives.
Well guess what, Chicago?
We are your future, and we matter.
Whether we stay or leave matters.
Don’t raise our taxes.
Don’t file for bankruptcy.
Figure this out like an adult.
And leave politics out of it.

Disclaimer: The letter above is an attempt to make an enormously complex issue simpler. For those just tuning in, last month, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled against Mayor Emanuel’s plan to cut benefits and force city employees to contribute  more into their retirement – calling it unconstitutional. Now, Emanuel and his team must find another way to make up for a $20 billion shortfall in retiree benefits – a burden that will most likely fall on taxpayers. The question is: how much? 

Tune back in next week for a closer look at the issues and what it all means for us.

–P.S. Cheap Wine and Coffee now has a Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest page. For anyone wanting more conversation than the blog allows, I post on Facebook and Twitter daily and hope you’ll join me! 🙂

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