Exit, Lori Lightfoot; enter, Brandon Johnson — and the song remains the same. Or does it?
It’s hard to imagine conditions in Chicago getting more desperate than under former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, but new Mayor Brandon Johnson — in office less than a week, as I write — is already doing his damnedest to make everyday life and business survival in one of the country’s most iconic cities even worse.
But imagine, we must.
As reported by The New York Post, the iconic Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) opened in 1898, only 27 years after the infamous Great Chicago Fire. Proud Chicagoans heralded the CME as a major part of the city’s rebirth and helped establish the Windy City as a world financial hub.
Johnson, whose far-left socialist mindset exceeds even that miserably of failed Lightfoot, has proposed new taxes to the tune of roughly $800 million, including a financial transactions tax (FTT) that would make it virtually impossible for CME to do business in Chicago.
FTTs are levied on the buying and selling of financial assets, such as stocks, bonds, and derivative assets, and are based on a percentage of the traded asset’s value, with the tax being paid when a trade is made. As a longtime registered investment advisor, I call bullcrap — which I’ve done in similar situations, through the years — but the last time I checked, my vote doesn’t count. However, it remains to be seen whether a direct threat from the Merc and its $66 billion market cap to the new tax-and-spend Chicago mayor does.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, CME CEO Terry Duffy said the exchange is prepared to leave Chicago “if we had to.”
[Mayor] Johnson has no legal authority to impose a transaction tax on my business. [He also shouldn’t] get too bogged down on how he’s going to short-term-think he’s going to raise taxes on certain people in order to fit his agenda.
We have sold all of our property in the state of Illinois, in the city of Chicago. We don’t own anything any longer. In our leases, we have a language in there that says if there’s something that’s ill-conceived from the city or the state, our leases are null and void.
We have sold all of our property in the state of Illinois, in the city of Chicago. We don’t own anything any longer.
In our leases, we have a language in there that says if there’s something that’s ill-conceived from the city or the state, our leases are null and void.
“We’re in a very strong position, Duffy added. “If we had to leave, we could leave.”
I’m gonna go out on a very safe limb and bet that this guy means business.
Like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange itself, Duffy — who has grown the CME into the world’s largest derivatives market — doesn’t want to leave the city:
We like Chicago. We have options coming up on our long-term leases already. So that doesn’t mean we’re leaving. [But] Chicago’s been on its back foot before, and it can get back on its front foot, but it takes all of us to do so. So I want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
Duffy, of course —along with other like-minded corporate leaders — is not part of the problem and I doubt he ever will be. The problem, in every Democrat-run city across America, lies squarely at the feet of left-wing politicians who turn a blind eye to violent crime, rampant drug addiction, senseless murder, and the insanity of “woke.”
And what’s their answer to every problem — usually intentionally created by Democrats? Raise taxes? The creation of massive wealth-redistribution scams that “feed the poor” by “stealing from the rich?” There’s a line in the 1970s Ten Years After classic, “I’d Love to Change the World,” that should be hung around the neck of every Democrat in America: “Tax the rich, feed the poor, til there are no rich no more.”
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, miserably failed Joe Biden, Chucky Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries, and the entire Democrat Party were unavailable for comment.