Chicago is now the city of big debt, where each of its 2.7 million residents -- from infants in diapers to senior citizens on fixed incomes -- is on the hook for about $20,000 in long-term pension promises and bond obligations. Like the relentless snow clogging the city’s streets, it just keeps piling up.There's more:
Chicago isn’t bankrupt Detroit, junk-status Puerto Rico or New York at the brink of insolvency in 1975. Yet the city of gleaming skyscrapers along Lake Michigan’s shore tripled its debt load from 2002 to 2012, as it ignored annual pension payments and borrowed for capital and operating expenses. A $590 million payment for retirement obligations is due next year, threatening cuts in everything from police to garbage collection, a tax increase, or both.
The rescue Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs will have to come from another financial leaky boat, the state of Illinois, which has the lowest credit rating among U.S. states. Lawmakers in Springfield, the capital, on Dec. 3 approved retirement-benefit cuts to address a $100 billion state pension shortfall. Not, though, for Chicago.
Chicago’s debt load per person was the biggest among the 25 most-populous U.S. cities -- and almost twice that of Puerto RicoCan you say Chapter 9 bankruptcy?