STUMP » Articles » Chicago: A Compilation » 4 January 2000, 03:00

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Chicago: A Compilation  


4 January 2000, 03:00

Posts are ordered chronologically within a theme. For items that cross a theme, I will pick only one category to put them in.

It seems like I could have sprouted off Chicago Public Schools for its own entity, but I will just lump it all in. It’s one of the biggest finance problems for the city, though.


2 April 2014: Public Pensions Watch: Chicago – Is Rahm Regretting It?
I look at how far in the pension hole Chicago is. It’s a very deep hole.

3 April 2014: Public Pensions Watch: Chicago Deal – the Basics
The basic proposal for Chicago pension reform: increased property taxes and reduced benefits.

4 April 2014: Public Pensions Watch: Chicago Reform Blitzkrieg? Ha Ha, FAIL
There was an attempt to ram through a Chicago pension bill in the Illinois legislature. It did not get through.

5 April 2014: Public Pensions Watch: Chicago Deal Reaction Roundup
Mayor Rahm Emanuel cobbles together a pension reform deal. It does not fix the problem (no surprise.)

9 April 2014: Public Pension Watch: Rahm’s Do-Over?
I’m a bit premature in saying something was removed from the pension reform deal. It ultimately didn’t matter — all of this was doomed.

16 June 2014: Public Pension Watch: Chicago, Not Waving But Drowning
Chicago going under the waves, pulled down by its pension debt.

27 July 2014: Public Finance Watch: Chicago Faces Doom
Chicago budget is lacking. They’re going to shortchange the pensions. As per usual. They decide to use accounting trickery to pretend it’s all okay.

4 August 2014: Public Pensions Watch: Chicago Still Faces Doom
Some short-term financing tricks does not fix the gaping pension hole. Chicago, again, does not make full contributions to the pension funds.

4 October 2014: Public Pensions Watch: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up, Chicago
Chicago may be able to cut retiree health care, but don’t bet on being able to cut the pensions.

18 November 2014: Public Pension Watch: How Screwed is Chicago?
The answer is: a lot screwed.

7 June 2015: Chicago Pension Watch: Teachers Pensions — What are the Benefits like?
I dig into data to look at what Chicago Teachers pensions look like based on years of service.

8 June 2015: Chicago Pensions Watch: What does Chicago Say About Its Own Pensions?
A quick review of the three largest Chicago pension plans.

24 July 2015: Chicago’s DAY OF DOOM!
I make the easiest prediction of a court ruling ever: Chicago pension reform is struck down by a Cook County judge.

10 August 2015: Chicago and Illinois Pensions Watch: History and Who is Serious
The Chicago Teachers Union aren’t too serious about pension reform. Shock.

5 February 2016: The Meaning of the Word “Fault”: Chicago Pensions Edition
There is a bunch of blame-shifting in Chicago pensions re: a bizarre interest rate swap set-up for the teachers pensions. Teachers blame the banks. The banks say “pay up”. Guess who wins.

24 March 2016: Chicago Watch: Money Money Money…also, there went their plans
The Illinois Supreme Court struck down Chicago pension reductions. Also, looking at the insane short-term borrowing being used to finance Chicago pensions.

25 March 2016: Public Pensions Watch: On COLAs (and Chicago)
Reducing/removing COLAs were the basis of Chicago pension reform…that was struck down by the courts.

26 March 2016: Chicago Watch: Reactions to Loss of Pension Court Case (and other stuff)
Everyone agrees: Chicago is screwed.

20 May 2016: Around the blogs: Mish and 538, Bury and Central States, Glennon and Chicago
One of the items is a new valuation of Chicago pensions. Surprise! The news is bad.

24 May 2016: A Deal, But No Grand Bargain, in Chicago
Deals are cut to try to save a few of the Chicago pensions.

29 May 2016: Rauner Refuses to Kick the Can
Gov. Rauner refuses to vetoed a bill to have Chicago keep underfunding its pensions.

31 May 2016: Rahm’s “Win” Means Pensions Lose or You Can’t Tell Us We Can’t Kick the Can, Rauner!
Rauner’s veto was overturned. No, it’s not a victory for Chicago’s pensions, even if a short-term victory for Mayor Emanuel.

9 August 2016: Chicago Update: Pensions, Taxes, and Bonds
Yes, about taxes and bonds… but it’s mostly about fixing the hole of Chicago pensions. Which is not getting fixed.

14 October 2016: Chicago and Illinois Update: Strike Averted, but At What Cost?
Mayor Emanuel of Chicago averts a teacher strike, but the pensions deal is unaffordable for the city. The state will not bail out Chicago.

12 December 2016: Chicago Retiree Healthcare: Some Are Out of Luck (for now)
The Chicago retiree health plan is phased out.

14 December 2016: Chicago Public Pensions: Diversity Day!
Diversity issues surrounding Chicago pensions: back pension pay, diversity in asset managers, and I ask about fiduciary duty.

16 December 2016: Chicago Teachers Pensions: Questioning Assumptions
Checking on valuation assumptions for Chicago Teachers pensions: specifically, the rate of return and payroll growth assumption.

4 April 2017: Exactly How Screwed Are Chicago Pensions?
Very screwed. Zero Hedge projects fund depletion of MEABF within 6 years. I say Chicago’s collapse will be worse than Detroit.

12 April 2017: Watching the Money Run Out: A Simulation with a Chicago Pension
I unveil my new cash flow projection toy. I confirm Zero Hedge’s projection for MEABF.


3 March 2015: Chicago Watch: I Warned Rahm, You Know
Rahm Emanuel goes into a run-off election for mayor of Chicago. The finances of the city really suck.

11 March 2015: Chicago Watch: Doomed Finances Compounded by Swaps
A downgrade trigger occurring on swaps for which Chicago was a counterparty.

21 April 2015: Watch It Unwind: Chicago, Greece, and Asset-Grabbing
Chicago Public Schools budget is looking bad. Will they grab assets from the pension fund?

22 April 2015: Chicago Followup: How did those bonds do?
Chicago Public Schools issued $300 million in bonds. Their yield was 285 bps over “risk free”.

13 May 2015: Chicago Bonds — Welcome to Junkville, Population: You
Moody’s downgrades Chicago to junk status.

17 May 2015: Chicago Bonds Watch: Credit Ratings vs. Market
There’s what credit rating agencies say, and there’s what the market prices say, about the credit risk in Chicago bonds.

20 May 2015: Chicago Bonds: Junk or Not Junk? That is the Question
Are Chicago bonds junk? Let’s check the spreads!

25 May 2015: Chicago Bonds Watch: There’s One Born Every Minute
Chicago (with junk ratings at time of issue) issues over $400 million in bonds. Let’s see who picks them up!

27 May 2015: Chicago Bonds: Check Out These Investors Desperate for Yield
Some bond investors are desperate for yield.

9 July 2015: Chicago (and Illinois) Watch: Shenanigans! Shenanigans for Everybody!
Chicago is desperate for revenue.

15 July 2015: Deal or No Deal: Wrangling in Chicago
An idiotic idea to borrow money from the pension fund to cover other operating costs is shot down. The proposed schools budget assumes that the state is just going to step in and cover $500 million of their shortfall.

24 August 2015: Pension Quicktakes: How About that Stock Market? And Red Light Cameras?
Chicago installs a bunch of red-light cameras for an insignificant revenue boost. And worse street safety.

7 September 2015: Labor Day Fun: Chicago Tax Wrangling — Throwing Money into the Pension Money Pit
Mayor Emanuel asks for higher taxes. To throw into the pension hole.

5 January 2016: Borrowing for Operational Costs is a Bad Idea: Detroit and Chicago Schools
Long-term borrowing should be for long-term capital expenditures, like building schools. Not for paying short-term salaries and benefits.

14 January 2016: The State of Chicago: Deep in the Suck
Chicago finances are awful. Oh, and they’re taking on more debt.

3 February 2016: More on the Chicago Schools Situation
The Chicago Public Schools try to put up bonds a second time (after withdrawing the offer), and the Chicago Teachers Union seems to be on a suicide mission.

16 February 2016: More Chicago Public Schools: Budget Cut and Trying to Negotiate from Position of Weakness
The Chicago Public Schools is squeezed for cash, because the city of Chicago is squeezed for cash. Of course, the teachers want more.

10 April 2016: Public Pensions and Finance Round-up: Sunday, April 10
Chicago bondholders and a look at one of the grossly underfunded Chicago pensions.

12 May 2016: The Connections Between Detroit and Chicago Public Schools
It’s all about kickbacks.

8 July 2016: Chicago and Cook County Update: Tax Bills are Coming
A bunch of people were getting hit with “surprise” property tax hikes. Some were huge.

24 August 2016: Do the Hokey-Pokey: Chicago Public Schools Strike Threat and Debt
Chicago teachers threaten to strike. It’s about money.

27 September 2016: Get Ready for the Next Chicago Teachers Strike!
It’s all about the money.

7 October 2016: Chicago Public Schools: Who is Profiting?
Who is profiting over CPS finance? A look at bonds issued and interested parties.

23 October 2016: Chicago Update: Is It Rauner’s Fault?
Whose fault is is that Chicago’s finances are crap? I argue it’s not the fault of the relatively new governor.

4 November 2016: Public Finance: Raining on Chicago’s Parade
I rain on Chicago’s World Series parade as I note how crappy their finances are.

11 December 2016: Chicago Public Schools: Bonds, Budgets, and Tax Bites
A look at various actions being taken to try to fund Chicago Public Schools.

17 January 2017: Chicago Bond Quickie: Not Wise to Scrap with Rating Agencies
Chicago decided it was wise to pick a fight with credit rating agency Moody’s, right before they issue some bonds.

2 February 2017: Credit Rating Agencies Rumble Over Chicago!!!!
Credit rating agencies fight over just how sucky Chicago finances are.

14 March 2017: Public Finance: Illinois wants to tax ALL THE THINGS!
I look at proposals to add more, discrete services to the sales tax rolls. As opposed to, I dunno, just having a flat transaction tax. Chicago tries to up its revenue via parking ticket writing.

26 May 2017: You’ll Never Guess What Rahm’s Plan to Save Chicago Schools Is!
Mayor Rahm has a plan…. stop me if you’ve heard this one before….to borrow money for operational expenses.


3 July 2014: Chicago Watch: Daley, Rahm, and a Restaurant
The prior mayor avoids a court appearance over graft, current mayor Emanuel scrapes up some dough from his well-heeled buddies, and fund-raising for the eventual Obama library/museum.

17 October 2014: Chicago’s Rahm Blames Poor Numbers on Shitty Economy (and not Dem Legend Daley)
Mayor Emanuel says the crappy economy is why he’s unpopular.

29 October 2014: Illinois Connections Watch: Usual Biz in Chicago
Though Chicago is pretty broke, there still is some fun money for the connected.

9 April 2015: Chicago Watch: Congrats on your “win”, Rahm… I guess
Rahm Emanuel is re-elected as mayor of Chicago. I don’t know why he wants to keep that thankless (and moneyless) position.

15 December 2015: Whatsa Matter Rahm? Anything Getting You Down?
Problems with Chicago cops, teachers, and cash.

2 February 2016: Chicago Doings: The Storm Before the Storm
Convenient retirements, Rahm trying to talk up Chicago bonds, and the teachers think other people should pay more.

9 March 2016: Chicago Watch: What’s the Leverage When There’s No Money?
Chicago teachers threaten to strike. I note that Chicago does not have the money to meet their demands. There’s no leverage.

11 March 2016: Illinois Weekend Watch: Round and Round While We Wait for a Strike
I look at a bunch of Chicago-related doings while we wait for a Chicago’s teacher strike. Lawsuits, benefits, politicking.

17 March 2016: Chicago Watch: Throwing Rahm Under a Bus, Plus Swaps
Candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, blasts Mayor Emanuel over Chicago finances. I detail some of the specific things Sanders complains about.

28 March 2016: Chicago Watch: What’ll It Be, Teachers?
I look at the threats against those who don’t want to join the non-strike strike.

31 March 2016: Show Us the Money! From Somewhere!
A bunch of people in Chicago, protesting stuff. Woo.

2 April 2016: Chicago Day of Action Round Up, and Where’s the Money?
Yeah, this is all about money, but I decided to put this here. Not much changed due to the Day of Action. They thought it wise to put said Day of Action on April Fools Day. Well-chosen.

3 April 2016: Chicago Day of Action: Some Fliers
I share some scanned fliers from the Chicago Day of Action. It includes words for chants.

16 May 2016: Public Finance and Pension Quick-Takes: Puerto Rico, Chicago, and Detroit
Mayor Emanuel disbands a police oversight committee. There’s a prediction of increased crime.

The State of the States: a Compilation

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