by Don Washington on 2012/08/30
There are those that forget that Mayor Rahm Emanuel was/is an investment banker and that he spent his entire Congressional career as the FIRE sector’s pet marmoset. He was their pet for so long that virtually any terrible thing you can imagine the FIRE sector was involved in Vice Chairman, White House Advisor, Congressman, Board Member, Chief of Staff and now Mayor Emanuel either got his little paws dirty, bloody or caked with something terrible by taking part in it directly or doing his part in making the conditions for catastrophe possible. I bring this up because whenever our little marmoset of a Mayor leaves his cage and wields power outside of the Chicago it is always on behalf or at the behest of his campaign investors or those like them. I mean he really is Mayor Marmoset 1%.
The first time he got loose he went down to Springfield to defund public pensions, strip the Chicago Teacher’s Union of as much power as possible, advance the funding of charter schools and the defunding of public schools, massive tax breaks for obscenely profitable corporations like CME Group and Motorola and that’s the short list. He was spotted roaming the halls of Mayor’s Conference touting privatization and the marvels of an economy focused on the needs of the finance sector and as horrific as all of this may sound there is his latest encore… which will either send you into a towering rage or make you wonder who exactly is he working for… or it could do both, we report, you decide.
You are probably unaware, since it was covered in a way that was somewhere between shameful and not so well by our media friends here, (Except for Kristen Mack who did one of the one or two very good stories on this and for that should be held up once again as an example of what all reporting might should feel like in Chicago.) the Mayor Emanuel went to bat for Accretive Health Inc. as only a guy with mountain-destroying clout can. Apparently this compassionate corporate citizen has spent a few years up in Minnesota creating a rap sheet of apparent abuse and harassment of sick and recovering patients that is six volumes long. We’re talking the kind of aggressive debt collecting that runs up the line of illegality, pauses to pull on its spiked gloves and cattle prods before crossing it with all the glee of an over militarized police force smashing up peaceful protestors.
To get a sense of who these “enhancers of private care delivery” were targeting they would often focus on pregnant women in delivery because: they "were most vulnerable in getting a pre-balance paid." These people are so abusive that Nancy Chockley, the President and chief executive of the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Institute for Health Care Management Research and Educational Foundation, said "They are targeting very vulnerable people at a time when they are most vulnerable." Wonderful people these, in a sterling business.
So there you are, a predatory corporate company whose presence curdles milk, dims the sun, invokes fear in children and makes flowers die at a distance and no one in the world will come to your rescue as Minnesota’s State’s Attorney Lori Swanson prepares to lay a full square exorcism on your evil ass. Things look bleak, you can almost hear yourself having to explain to Lucifer how you may have overstepped your mandate for evil and in doing so set in motion the wheels of your own destruction… Lucifer, not known for mercy would not be amused.
So who would come to your aid in your moment of extremis… God in Heaven if it isn’t Rahm Emanuel who sends a letter to Swanson, demanding she "cease efforts to publicly prosecute" the case in the press; reminding her that he is a big wheel in the Democratic Party who will use his power. This is like the Mafia sending a guy to your office remind you that people have accidents all the time. Sad thing for the family when it happens… maybe you oughtta hurry home… you know… it’s nice to have family… you do have one right?
Here’s the deal. Thus far every time Mayor Emanuel has come down from Mt. Doom wielding the One Ring it’s been in the service of multi-billion or million dollar operations that frankly do not need his help but have his heart, such as it is, and his ear without even trying. Accretive has $6 million dollars in TIF money so that they can continue to collect money like loan sharks for health insurance companies and hospitals… good to know that our premiums AND our tax dollars via TIFs are paying for something worthwhile… but I digress.
CME gave back a piddling $15 million in TIF funds, (Don't get me wrong. It is a good thing they gave it back BUT they will GET MORE TIF money in the future, you know.) since the Mayor helped it net what will work out to almost a trillion in tax breaks over the next decade. In return they will continue to do a lousy job self-regulating markets as evidenced in their role in the MF Global Scandal, while working to destroy public schools and smash unions by supporting the investment and growth in charter schools. I guess we could call all of that synergy, right? We don’t need to go into Mayor Emanuel’s work on behalf of his friends who wish to eat public sector unions alive, starting with the teachers but we could and have other places. Just think of it as another example of how he is NOT your friend.
What all need to understand is this. The office of the Mayor is a powerful post. It can be used to improve the conditions of its citizens, tend to its poor and its infrastructure, provide quality services to the vast majority of its people, advocate for a city that has the resources to meet the needs of its neighborhoods or it could do something else. It could become a tool to increase economic inequality, defend and expand the privileges and reach of the most powerful and stand ready to apply economic, social and physical force to the hopes, aspirations and protestations of the majority of its citizens. These are not preferences they are public policy.
Thus far our Mayor has not been shy with how he uses power, whom he uses power for and more importantly who he uses power on. If you are not a major corporation or one of the economic elite Mayor Emanuel is not inclined to defend whatever interests and rights you think you have and he has a track record that proves it.