The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago’s Pandemic Money
—Either Way, the Banks Win

Apr 26, 2021

Biden’s latest pandemic bailout is sending 1.9 billion dollars to the city of Chicago for “pandemic relief.” How will Chicago’s City Council spend the windfall?

The economic collapse in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic left the city $965 million dollars short in its 2020 and 2021 budgets. Mayor Lightfoot covered the shortage by taking out loans from banks—what they often call “scoop and toss,” or “kicking the can down that road.” They make up for the shortfall now by borrowing, and promising to pay it back to the banks later—with plenty of interest, of course! By paying down that debt, Lightfoot’s proposal would save the city from handing millions in interest payments over to the banks.

Some aldermen on the City Council object. They say, wouldn’t it be a shame to just use the bailout to balance the city budget?

So the debate is: Do the banks get a lot of our money now? Or even more of our money later! It’s a win-win, for them—as it always is, under capitalism.