When President Obama tries to make the case that his policies have improved life in America, he isn’t talking about his hometown of Chicago.
The third-largest city in the United States, where Mr. Obama’s political career began, is the murder capital of the country, with one of our nation’s highest unemployment rates.
It is now “governed” — if one can say that with a straight face — by the president’s former chief of staff and top adviser, Rahm Emanuel, and a gang of incompetent Democrats who have taken a troubled city and made things a great deal worse.
It’s a city where jobs are scarce, unemployment has soared, the labor force is shrinking, businesses have fled, gun-wielding drug gangs are killing innocent people with near impunity, schools are dysfunctional, and City Hall seems incapable of taking control of the streets and making the city safe again.
Five-hundred-and-six Chicago residents were gunned down last year, up from 433 in 2011, and it’s headed for another record number this year. Just in the month of January, 43 people were fatally shot.
Mr. Emanuel, who’s been in office for nearly a year, watched the homicide rate climb through most of last year, but apparently without taking any effective actions to halt the killing spree.
Earlier this year, as the crime epidemic worsened, law enforcement authorities beefed up their police presence in some of the worst neighborhoods. It’s unclear whether that is having any long-term impact.
For many discouraged, frustrated Chicagoans, the latest law enforcement initiative is 506 lives too late.
Mr. Emanuel’s police action certainly came too late to prevent the shooting death of 15-year-old Porshe Foster last November. The sophomore honor student had just completed basketball practice and was talking with friends in her South Side neighborhood when a hail of bullets were fired into her group, one of them hitting her in the back.
The city’s disastrous economy undoubtedly is a factor in its soaring crime rate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 473,731 people in the 14-county Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA) were unemployed in March — pushing the jobless rate up to nearly 10 percent.
“In addition to the higher rate, the Chicago MSA lost an estimated 12,303 employed residents between February and March 2013, dropping total regional employment to approximately 4.4 million,” according to the World Business Chicago website.
Chicagoans, seeking answers to the senseless killings that have engulfed their city, blame the high level of youth unemployment and their all-too-often dysfunctional school system.
Some pointed to Mr. Obama’s focus on gun violence and gun-control laws when discussing the wave of killings in the city, but add that he is missing one of the core factors behind Chicago’s descent in lawlessness and death.
“If the main topic with the president is only going to be gun control, we are pushing ourselves backwards,” one community organizer bluntly told CNN last month.
“What we need to do is address the root of the problem, the economic violence on a lot of these kids who don’t have jobs or an education,” she said.