No billionaire, only economic justice, can ever make Chicago a safer city

No one person, not even Ken Griffin — a billionaire 21 times over — can do enough to solve societal problems such as entrenched poverty, unlimited guns and hopelessness.

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Ken Griffin, head of the Chicago-based investment firm Citadel LLC.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chicago financial mogul Ken Griffin is pretty rich, worth a tad north of $21 billion. That is more than the gross domestic product of the world’s bottom 80 countries. Griffin also has given hundreds of millions of dollars, likely approaching $1 billion, to a variety of charitable causes, including efforts to improve Chicago education and reduce Chicago crime.

Griffin apparently feels this entitles him to launch a blistering criticism of Chicago and Illinois governance, even threatening to move his 1,150 employees out of Illinois if the city cannot stem an increase in street violence.

But, for two reasons, it really doesn’t matter how much Griffin donates to worthy causes such as crime prevention.

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First, no one person, even a billionaire 21 times over, can ever do enough to solve societal problems such as entrenched poverty, unlimited guns and hopelessness. These are problems that require systematic commitment and the investment of local, state and federal resources.

And whatever good comes from Griffin’s substantial donations, it is more than offset by his pernicious embrace of a political economy that leaves tens of million of people behind in poverty. It’s only when that crime occasionally interferes with Griffin’s privileged world that he threatens to move his substantial wealth out of Chicago — unless everybody follows his hollow prescription for change.

Griffin spent tens of millions of dollars on political candidates such as former Gov. Bruce Rauner, who spent four years cutting the state’s social safety net so as to funnel more Illinois wealth to the already rich. Griffin spent $53 million to successfully defeat the Illinois Fair Tax Amendment, which would have required billionaires such as him to pay a little more to finance a more just, less crime-ridden society.

Griffin should use his substantial wealth and influence to support polices that truly would uplift the hopeless while addressing the avalanche of guns that have turned Chicago’s mean streets into a shooting gallery. Until he experiences that epiphany, his millions of dollars in donations should be seen for what they are — a drop in the bucket.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

The big lie and socialism

It’s often said that if you tell the same big lie often enough, people will believe it is true. In that way, efforts by Democrats to improve the lives of the working class and the poor often are condemned as socialism by people — including Republicans in Congress — who have no idea how socialism actually works.

And then there is that fable of the stolen election....

Dan McGuire, Bensenville

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