Use federal money to pay down Chicago’s enormous debt — not on shiny new programs

That is what the federal pandemic relief bill is designed to do — cover lost revenue.

SHARE Use federal money to pay down Chicago’s enormous debt — not on shiny new programs

President Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief package, on March 11, 2021.

AP Photos

Chicago should use all of its $1.9 billion in federal pandemic relief funds to reduce the city’s debt. That is what the federal relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, is designed to do — cover lost revenue.

In an April 14 Sun-Times news report, Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) seems to be complaining when she says the $1.9 billion in federal relief “just barely covers” the $1.7 billion in city revenues lost to the pandemic.” But, in reality then, the city should have only received $1.7 billion.

Sorry, but the federal government is struggling, too. It can’t afford to fund Chicago’s universal basic income program. And since the city is more than $36 billion in debt, neither can the city of Chicago. The money should be used to pay down past debts and debt related to the pandemic. It should not be used for shiny new programs.

We cannot keep ignoring the mountain of debt crushing the city.

Courtney Houtz, West Loop

When people resist police

Not using it as an excuse for a horrible mistake, but does the Sun-Times editorial board assign any blame at all to a person who resists or fights the police, given the inherently chaotic and dangerous situation this creates? Complying with the police reduces your chances of being injured or worse by about 99.9%. I know that’s heresy to say these days — to suggest that a person being arrested shouldn’t fight. That’s why most police are just answering calls and trying not to do anything else. Good luck with summer here, with your constant emboldening of criminals.

Manny Irizarry, Norwood Park

Biden, infrastructure and climate change

President Joe Biden’s proposal to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, the American Jobs Plan, has a strong focus on countering climate change. It aims to make our infrastructure more resilient to the impact of climate change, and it includes initiatives to reduce the emissions that cause climate change.

Biden’s plan would provide funding not only for roads, bridges and transit systems, but also for sustainable housing and buildings, electric vehicles, and research and development for clean energy technology.

A 2020 report on managing climate risk by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission validates Biden’s climate goals. This document details the threat that climate change poses to America’s energy, water, transportation and communication infrastructure. For example, it asserts that extreme precipitation, inundation from rising sea levels, extreme heat and forest fires “challenge nearly every element of transportation systems, from bridges and airports to pipelines and ports.”

The report concludes that “it is essential that the United States establish a price on carbon. ... In the absence of such a price ... capital will continue to flow in the wrong direction, rather than toward accelerating the transition to a net-zero emissions economy.”

That’s why I’m encouraged that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act has been introduced in the U.S. House. This bill puts a steadily rising fee on carbon dioxide emissions and returns the money to the American people.

Let’s urge our members of Congress to take action to address this critical national security threat.

Terry Hansen, Hales Corners, Wisconsin

The Latest
Some poor patients would pay Dr. Martinez in cheese they had received as federal food benefits.
Five months ago, the CTU accused now-former Mayor Lori Lightfoot of stepping in to rescind a promise by her hand-picked school leadership to give CPS employees the parental leave benefit.
The Cubs starting pitching has been consistent lately, but that hasn’t translated to the winning streak the team needs.
Married woman reconnects with a childhood friend in Celine Song’s feature debut.
Pigeon experts say it is likely a domestic bird that escaped its home and is in danger of being gobbled up by a predator. It will be put up for adoption.