Do as I say, not as I do – that seems to be the current acknowledged and unacknowledged philosophy of our politicians. The recent revelation that Cook County Board President Todd Stroger owes over $11,000 in past due taxes and penalties is a classic example of that philosophy.
One would assume that with Stroger making over $175,000 a year and his wife making nearly $50,000 a year, it would be a piece of cake for them to make the $11,000 payment. All they need to do is hunker down for a couple of weeks and – voilà – money saved and tax bill paid off.
Of course, that is the logic our politicians readily use whenever they use their willy-nilly logic process of deciding that we, the overtaxed and overburdened residents of Crook, oops, I mean Cook County, can do.
As they vote to make us pay more, they always claim that a few extra pennies paid here and there is easy for us to make. No regard is given to how we must all adjust our quality of life as we are nickel and dimed out of every possible amount.
Strangely, even though Stroger owes what amounts to a two-week paycheck, he needed a payment plan to pay the money. What’s up with that?
Another interesting assertion being made by some is that the current emphasis on Stroger’s situation is just racism over politics. Now, I can never deny the role race plays in anything. Race is always the hidden agenda in everything that goes on.
But the importance of race must always be tempered with the reality that stupidity trumps both race and politics. And in my opinion, Stroger is representing stupidity at its core.
Here’s a question that we all should be asking. If you can’t run your household budget, how in the heck can you run the county’s budget?
I know many feel we shouldn’t criticize Stroger. But I am offended he used his own version of racial politics by claiming that without the increase, hospitals and clinics would be closed down, implying black people by default would be the ones to bear the brunt of a reduced county healthcare system.
Even more offensive was a recent news conference where 20 black ministers protested against the county board’s decision to hold a vote to override Stroger’s veto. This column, by the way, was written before the final outcome.
Where is the “rainbow” coalition to support Stroger? Closing of hospitals and clinics wouldn’t just affect poor black people. So where were all the other ethnic groups when those black ministers stood protesting against the county board? Why is it that everyone else benefits and only blacks protest? And when blacks protests, why are we so comfortable to always include those who don’t even show up to the table?
Not all in the black community are so gullible as to be persuaded to not look into what is going on with Stroger and ask the hard questions – like how Tony Cole, the ex-felon, ex-busboy, ex-basketball star who got a $61,000 a year job with the county really got the job, even after lying on his job application about his criminal background.
Or asking why Stroger fired his cousin Donna Dunning, who bailed Cole out of jail several times. What is her real relationship to Cole? How is it that Cole had the ability to call Stroger directly every time he needed bailing out of jail. And what exactly is the relationship between Tony Cole and Todd Stroger?
Rumors are flying and swirling that certain black politicians are clamoring for Stroger’s job – big fish who are circling for position.
Pay attention Chicago. The county board, which used to be an area of government no one paid attention to, is now the hottest event in town. And to keep it hot, all we have to do is pay attention to what they are up to.
The pennies in our pockets will glow even redder as they heat up from the politicians fighting to decide if we should get to spend those pennies or if the politicians will just take the pennies from us.