Richard M. Daley, the Bernie Madoff of Big City Mayors

Print
Sunday, 18 August 2013 10:45

The Washington Post ran an article on Bill Daley's decision to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in Illinois. The piece notes that Daley is the son of former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and the brother of another former mayor, Richard M. Daley.

It probably would have been worth noting that latter connection is not likely to play especially well right now. Richard M. Daley failed to make the required contributions to the city's pension funds for his last decade in office, leaving them underfunded by more than $27 billion. (This includes the teacher's fund, which comes from a separate budget.) The current mayor, Rahm Emmanual claims that this is an unpayable burden and want to default on the city's debt to these funds. (The workers and their unions strongly object to this plan and will fight any default in court.)


Regardless of the outcome of this dispute, allowing pensions to become as underfunded as Chicago's was remarkably irresponsible, especially in a city such as Chicago with a relatively healthy economy. There are few big city mayors who have been more reckless with public finances in recent decades.

It is probably also worth noting that Emanual has claimed that the city's schools were a disaster when he came into office. The schools had been under Daley's direct control for most of his 22 years in office.