Thursday, November 12, 2009

Parking Meter Stimulus

"Looking to the future, I am increasingly confident that our economy will begin to improve. By acting responsibly to protect our working families, as this budget does, Chicago will get through these challenging times and emerge stronger."

Richard M. Daley, "Mayor Daley: How we'll weather the storm," Chicago Tribune, November 11, 2009.

So, what's the secret to weathering the storm? Maxing ARRA dollars? Reaping the early returns from the green economy? I suspect Chicago will do well on both those counts, but that's not the Mayor's answer. It's all about parking meters.

In American Pharaoh - Mayor Richard J. Daley -- His battle for Chicago and the Nation by Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor, we learn that old man Daley was essentially a bean counter. Yes, he put a patronage surcharge on all city business, tore down neighborhoods, built infrastructure and the downtown, but he knew the innards of city business.

Like father like son. Richard M. Daley has led the nation in leasing assets like bridges,airports and parking meters in order to reap current value. The result is that the city has reserves while all that others can do is cut people and services and cry relief.

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