Is Mayor Daley Smarter than President Obama?

January/31/2009 1:51AM
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It will be interesting to see how this new guru of budget reductions will fare. She’s  Mckinsey Consulting trained, so I’m skeptical. I had lots of interactions with McKinsey people, and none were productive. They worked hard and seemed very bright, but most of the experience was educational and maybe a stint or two as a community organizer, so they were one mile long and one inch deep in real experience. 

When businesses get in cash flow trouble, they look at all their options. When government gets in cash flow trouble, they just look at one option. How can we get our hands on more money? Now, Obama says he will add a second option, cut expenses. Every president in my lifetime has said that and none have done it. Some one’s ox gets gored and the plan is scrapped. No pain no gain, but in government there is no pain and never any gain. The governor of Arizona was promoted to Head of Homeland Security. A promotion that causes me to sleep with one eye open. Her experience to do that job is nil. In this cabinet ,as with the presidency today, experience counts for nothing. Anyway, Janet Napolitano left a $2-3 billion budget problem in Arizona. They are announcing cuts. The protests have begun. It will be interesting. It’s a microcosm of what Obama faces.

Businesses also look at divesting or selling non performing assets. Government never does this. It would shock the daylights out of me it this administration does. Where would President Obama have learned to do that? When you want bigger government, how can you sell anything that might make it smaller?

Mayor Daley, on the other hand, has been running the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois for years. And, his father did for years before him. He’s learned a thing or two about budgets. Chicago has the highest tax rate of any city in the country. People are becoming more aware of that as the economy gets worse. He has a budget hole just like everyone else. Can’t raise taxes more. Can’t cut expenses, the employees help at election time and he might not get their help if he lays them off. What does he do? He sells the parking meters for $1 billion. Years ago the sold the sky way for over a billion. Budget problems solved.

If President Obama looked around like a good business man, he might find lots of ways to finance his stimulus package short of debt or taxes or printing presses. 

How about Amtrak? Why not sell that? How about the U.S. Postal System. Why not sell that before it goes away on it’s own? Offshore drilling? There’s probably a cool trillion in leases and royalty revenues lying out there. Take the heat from the environmentalist and use the money to finance the alternative energy and vent the heat. 

Daley’s thinking. When the buyer of the parking meters made the first price hike, first of many to come, there was some noise. But, over time, voters will forget who made the deal. But, Daley will have a nice cache of money to use as he sees fit without upsetting taxpayers. Nice. 

Mr. President, back when you were working for Daley as a State Senator, you must have learned something. Even if you didn’t you can still get more good ideas from Daley than you will ever get from a McKinsey grad. It would be free, no, what am I thinking, almost free. You will have a favor to return to Mayor Daley and that will be called some day. For the good of your presidency and our country, do it.

Mayor Daley can’t speak like you but you can’t think like Mayor Daley. You keep doing the speaking and go to Daley form time to time for ideas.

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