Chicago-style corruption isn’t what it used to be. Former Obama chief of staff and current mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel has developed an ‘infrastructure trust’ to repair Chicago’s roads, rails and schools. Naturally, needless rent extraction by private entities is involved (boldface mine):
Here is how the “infrastructure trust” works: the city pays for upgrades to its roads, rail or schools with dollars pooled by Emanuel’s friends from the banking and investment world. Meanwhile, the city retains “ownership” of the infrastructure, though this comes at the cost of having to ensure a revenue stream for the fund. Emanuel’s favorite example is his $225 million pet project to green-retrofit some of the city’s older buildings. The savings on energy usage stemming from the renovations are then extracted and used to pay off investors. Of course, the city could also sell municipal bonds to raise necessary funds, and then use the savings in energy costs to pay the loan back at a much lower cost to taxpayers. But then Emanuel’s friends (and campaign donors) would not be the richer for it.
I understand the need to cut deals, but this is just looting. I have no idea what the justification for this is other than ‘public-private partnership’ propaganda-speak. ‘Public-private partnership’ is just a phrase–it doesn’t actually mean anything. Or perhaps it means what ever the guys lining their pockets want it to mean.