Insipid Viral Email Alert

Posted by Bob Lord

Received another insipid viral tea partyesque email the other day. This one apparently has been making the rounds for the last few weeks. The originator depicts Chicago as the #1 hellhole in the U.S. (it's obviously not), then blames it all on Democrats. As you'd expect, the arguments are beyond specious. I've pasted in the email and my response after the jump. If you receive the email and want to gig the sender (or, better yet, the bottom most person on the email chain), feel free to use my response. Or you may want to spice up the language in the response — I was exercising unusual restraint.

The email:

Perhaps the U.S. should pull out of Chicago ?

Body count: In the last six months 292 killed (murdered) in Chicago .

221 killed in Iraq AND Chicago has one of the strictest gun laws in the entire US.

President : Barack Hussein Obama

Senator: Dick Durbin

House Representative: Jesse Jackson Jr.

Governor: Pat Quinn

House leader: Mike Madigan

Atty. Gen.: Lisa Madigan
(daughter of Mike)

Mayor: Rahm Emanuel

The leadership in Illinois
– all Democrats.

Thank you for the combat zone in Chicago .

Of course, they're all blaming each other.

Can't blame Republicans; there aren't any!

Chicago school system rated one of the worst in the country.

Can't blame Republicans; there aren't any!

State pension fund $78 Billion in debt, worst in country.

Can't blame Republicans; there aren't any!

Cook County ( Chicago ) sales tax 10.25% highest in country.

Can't blame Republicans; there aren't any!

This is the political culture that Obama comes from in Illinois .

And he is going to 'fix' Washington politics for us??

George Ryan is no longer Governor, he is in the big house. Of course he was replaced by Rob Blajegovitch who is…that's right, also in the big house. And Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned a couple of weeks ago. That is because he is fighting being sent to…that's right, the big house.

The Land of Lincoln , where our governors make our license plates.

But you know what? As long as they keep providing entitlements to the population of Chicago, nothing is going to change, except the state will go broke before the country does.

My Response:

Your email regarding Chicago was forwarded to me. Since I found you at the bottom of the email chain, and I figured you were just trying to inform your recipients, I thought I’d relay a few points for you to consider.

First, it seems that the statistic regarding murder that matters is the murder rate, not the body count. In that regard, Chicago is not even named in the list of cities with the worst murder rates. See http://www.forbes.com/2007/11/08/murder-city-danger-forbeslife-cx_de_1108murder.html

Using the body count, rather than the murder rate is misleading. If you look only to body count, the US would be considered a more dangerous country than Yemen. You need to consider body count in relation to the population, and Chicago has a very large population.

Second, Chicago also is not among the cities with the highest crime rate: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43158398/ns/business-us_business/

Third, take a look at this chart. At the bottom, you’ll see the ranking of how many federal tax dollars the states receive for each dollar of federal tax paid. You’ll see how badly Illinois is treated on this front.  I may be missing something, but it seems to me that if you’re in one of those states that gets shorted on the allocation of federal dollars, especially if you’re a densely populated state, you need to extract state and local taxes at a rate higher than the states receiving a more generous allocation of federal tax dollars.

Fourth, Cook County’s sales tax rate is high, but Illinois’ income tax rate is very low, which is the Republican, not the Democratic, model. Both Jindal in Louisiana and Brownback in Kansas are trying to shift from income tax to sales taxes, and other states have been making that same transition under Republican rule for decades. It is the model actively being promoted by ALEC, a conservative think tank funded by the Koch brothers. So, the originator of the email is criticizing Illinois for having the tax structure Republicans are seeking to implement everywhere, then blaming it on the Democrats.

Fifth, look at other cities and other states. Michigan is in Republican control, and isn’t doing so well. Meanwhile, the three states with the best education systems in the country, Maryland, New York and Massachusetts, all are blue states. Check out how consistently Montgomery County, Maryland is one of then top two or three counties in the country in public school performance.

Sixth, look at the statistics in the Red South. Whether it’s the poverty rate, the obesity rate, median income, percent lacking health insurance, education level, dropout rate or you name it, the Southern states, all in Republican control, have abysmal performance records, far worse than their Blue state counterparts.

Seventh, the Democrats from Illinois who serve in the US House and Senate and who are listed in the email are not relevant to Chicago’s plight. They are federal lawmakers, not state or city lawmakers. And, if they were somehow relevant, why did the email originator prominently mention Dick Durbin, but not mention the Republican Senator currently representing Illinois, Mark Kirk? That seems
intellectually dishonest, and actually undercuts the originator’s argument that there are no Republicans anymore.

If by chance you agree with me that the email was misleading, go ahead and forward my email to the person who sent you the original email.

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