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Illinois GOP Rep.: Let Chicago Public Schools Go Bankrupt

By Eric Owens

A member of the Illinois General Assembly has proposed a bill that would allow Chicago’s deeply troubled public school system to solve its massive projected budget deficit of $1.1 billion by declaring bankruptcy.

The House member is Ron Sandack, a Republican from the pleasant Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, according to WLS-TV.

“This knee jerk reaction to always say ‘let’s just raise taxes,” Sandack told the ABC affiliate. “That’s where a bankruptcy can actually be helpful.”

Sandack’s matter-of-fact recommendation comes as Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest taxpayer-funded school system in the nation, faces a grave and immediate financial crisis.

The bulk of the $1.1 billion deficit is a mammoth $634 million pension payment which will come due on June 30.

Chicago Public Schools doesn’t have enough money to make the payment. It also has no reserve fund.

Sandack’s legislation would allow Chicago Public Schools and other cash-strapped school districts across Illinois to seek Chapter Nine bankruptcy protection. Federal bankruptcy judges could then order debt restructuring, which could include partial or full release from pension obligations.

“We can’t tax our way out of this problem,” Sandack told WLS. “We need additional, broader relief.”

“Some restructuring of that obligation I believe can occur at the federal level under a Chapter Nine construct,” the GOP state congressman added.

Chicago’s powerful teachers union opposes Sandack’s bill.

“Financial crisis is no reason to go back on what basically was a promise made to people who taught the last generation of school children,” Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey told the station. (RELATED: Chicago Teachers Union Chief Faults ‘Rich White People’ For City’s Education Mess)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also against the massive national embarrassment that would surely result from the bankruptcy his city’s public school system.

“We should not allow the finances to undermine all the educational progress our principals and teachers are making,” Emanuel told WLS. “Because what you don’t want to do is put the system into a process that could actually distract away from the educational things.” (RELATED: Mayor Rahm Was A SHIRTLESS BADASS Who Took On The Nazis In The Summer Of ’78)

The fate of Sandack’s bill awaits a decision by a House committee.

Meanwhile, early Tuesday evening, a couple thousand Chicago Teachers Union members took to the downtown streets of the Windy City — as they frequently do — shouting, hoisting signs and snarling traffic in an effort to get their way in their latest contract dispute. (RELATED: Chicago Teachers Union Blasts Mass Firings Dictated By Post-Strike Contract)

“You have to remember that what you’re fighting for is not just a fair contract, it is the history of fair contracts,” teachers union president Karen Lewis told protesters outside the hideous, 1970s-spaceship-looking Thompson Center,according to the Chicago Tribune. “And if we have a chance, this is it. This is the time where you have to stand up and tell ’em all ‘No, we’re not going to take that.’” (RELATED: Karen Lewis: Improving Failed Schools Full Of Black Kids Is RACIST)

“There’s a lot of money on LaSalle Street, and Chicago claims to be broke,” union delegate and elementary school teacher Adam Geisler told the newspaper, alluding to the banking and legal offices lining the street.

The rally showcased the Chicago Teachers Union’s new slogan: “CPS: Broke on purpose.”

Chants included: “Education is our right. That is why we fight!”

In May 2012, members of the Chicago Teachers Union authorized a strike which occurred in the fall of that year, forcing the city’s children to miss seven days of school.

The bond rating of the Chicago Public Schools has steadily deteriorated over the last decade. For example, while Standard & Poor’s gave CPS an A+ rating in 2006, that rating is now A-. Moody’s Investor Services gave the district an A2 rating in 2006 but the Moody’s rating is now Ba3.

This Moody’s rating of Ba3 means investing in Chicago’s public schools is “speculative” and “subject to substantial credit risk.”

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CPAC Straw Poll Winner Rand Paul Battles The Bush Machine—Goldwater Style

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2015—As the winner of the past three Conservative Political Action Committee’s (CPAC) Straw Polls, Senator Rand Paul excels at generating meaningful political and economic discussions among college students and young professionals. The same generation that is known for speaking in bewildering acronyms continues to gather in force to ask and to answer difficult questions that are essential to the life and liberty of all Americans. Their answers will ultimately determine the future of the nation.

The Senator’s most recent economic stand will endear him to anyone who has ever interfaced with the Internal Revenue Service. He promised to introduce the largest tax cut in American history. In his speech to attendees of CPAC, he mentioned that he is poised to propose a tax plan “that would get the IRS out of our lives.” He indicated his intention to cut taxes “for everyone from the richest to the poorest.”

“It’s time for a new way predicated on opportunity and freedom!” said Paul to a wildly supportive crowd. The Senator attacked America’s indiscriminate foreign aid policies, especially the large sums of money sent without the permission of taxpayers to countries that consider The United States an enemy. “Not one penny more to these haters of America!” said Paul.

His speech had the tenor of a well-run, focused campaign and was eerily similar to comments made by Senator Barry Goldwater exactly 50 years ago on the campaign trail leading up to his landmark GOP presidential nomination. “You cannot stop a man who has vowed to bury you by handing him a shovel,” said Goldwater, “By feeding and clothing his friends, while denying your friends the means to help protect you!” Goldwater believed that removing foreign aid would ultimately prevent wars.

Several members of the Young Jewish Conservatives attending CPAC this year specifically mentioned the foreign aid issue as a driving force behind their support for Rand Paul for president. Paul’s straight talk appeals to countless concerned Americans who are fed up with politics as usual, feel betrayed by the Party Machine, and fear that the United States is on an irreversible course similar to that of the Titanic—or Greece.

Two weeks prior to CPAC, the Students for Liberty (SFL) held its national conference in Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 students from across the world attended. The group was largely inspired by the ideas presented to them by Senator Paul’s father, Congressman Ron Paul. Now it is the fastest-growing political group on college campuses globally, and is surpassing both the College Democrats and College Republicans groups on American campuses.

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is another group inspired by the Paul family’s articulation of limited government principles. Many YAL members were active in the GOP for years before they understood the liberty message, realized how well it resonates, and committed to passionately fight to preserve it. The large presence of both SFL and YAL at CPAC is telling, and has seemingly eliminated the establishment hostilities doled out to them by fellow attendees when they were the minority at previous conferences. The young libertarians gladly swap testimonies of political enlightenment with a fervor nostalgic of a tent revival meeting. They are also getting elected to offices across the land, a clear sign that they are not going away anytime soon.

Freedom is popular, it seems, and the Bill of Rights is back en vogue with a new generation of American rebels. This energy threatens to change the go-along-to-get-along, aging Republican establishment, which is why the party profiteers are so quick to strike back at the resurgence of old school conservatism.

The same Rockefeller Republicans who sandbagged Goldwater after he won the GOP nomination from the floor are currently working financial and legal channels on behalf of Jeb Bush. The 2016 Republican nomination is seemingly fixed for the top fundraiser and his delegate-donors, a complete violation of the nominating process. Sources say Jeb Bush bussed hundreds of people to CPAC from their Washington offices just to fill seats during his speech and to presumably raise his standing in the straw poll. This effort did not succeed in preventing him from being handily booed every time his name was mentioned, including while he addressed the attendees who remained after a protest/walkout. His temporary seat-filling strategy was met with disdain by attendees who saved and spent their own money to attend the duration of the event and cast their ballots.

One of Paul’s leading critics is fellow Senator and former GOP nominee John McCain, a man who praises Goldwater with his lips while shunning everything he stood for by his actions.  Just two years ago, the 80-year-old McCain called Senators Paul and Cruz, as well as Congressman Justin Amash, “wacko birds.” He called their supporters, the Under 40 crowd that supports Paul’s limited government principles, “impressionable libertarian kids.”

Yet, the vibrant, liberty-leaning younger crowd that has wrestled its way into the GOP is the only fresh blood coursing through the Party’s very old veins. Perhaps the current Republican Party leadership is not the right body from which to expect kind words of “big tent” gratitude. The crowds who now stand with Rand don’t seem to care. Their vision is clear, and they know they will eventually outlive the generation that got the country into this mess in the first place. They seem to be ready to get to work.