Every year, the Chicago Public Schools Office of the Inspector General trots out a nicely worded 50-60 page report on mismanagement, fraud, and corruption uncovered in CPS, making it appear like the office is doing a bang-up job. But why even bother having the OIG if so many complaints aren’t investigated?

In fiscal year 2018, the OIG received 1,520 complaints and opened investigations into only 270, or 17.8%. The OIG has 19 full-time employees and a budget of $2.08 million, while CPS has approximately 35,000 employees and a budget of $5.75 billion. The OIG calls every year for more investigators and a higher budget, and every year CPS turns him down cold. Why?

It’s safe to assume quite a few of the complaints wouldn’t be worth the time and money to investigate, especially since investigating teacher residency fraud won’t bring in money, unlike student residency fraud, which could bring in tuition money,  And quite a few of the complaints might have come from people who believe wearing an aluminum foil helmet the night of a full moon will protect them from Martian planes. But it seems the powers-that-be really don’t want the OIG to unearth more wrongdoing, as what else can explain the lack of support from CPS and the city?

Let’s hope the next mayor sees the need to clean up CPS a lot more and save taxpayers money, instead of taxing them out of the city.

Walter Brzeski, Dunning

What “socialism” really means

Randy Rossi’s recent letter against socialism tells of visiting former socialist countries and hearing of the troubles people faced due to the failures of those authoritarian regimes. I believe those stories are true. I also offer the histories of the Great Depression and the more recent recession as examples of another horror.

In 1929 and in 2008, gambling with, and on, debt led to tremendous crashes in the stock market. In the 1930s, unemployment in the United States peaked at 25%, over a quarter of a million home evictions occurred, and over 2 million Americans were homeless. More people emigrated from the United States than immigrated to it, surely to escape the horrors that capitalism wrought. 

However, after President Roosevelt introduced social spending and worker-oriented programs like the Works Progress Administration, Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act, the numbers flipped.

Following the 2008 crisis (propelled by wealthy investors gambling on working families’ mortgages, not simply because “life is tough,” as Mr. Rossi posits), unemployment shot to 10%, and 9 million families lost their homes to foreclosure.

I suspect that expansion of the types of socialist programs that propelled us out of the Great Depression are what many Americans today refer to when they say “I prefer socialism to capitalism.” Policies like Medicare for all and a Green New Deal have massive popularity. Why? Because they put working people first.

If I find someone campaigning for President Stalin, of course I will turn them away at my door. But if I find someone calling for socialized health care, social housing, living-wage jobs programs, and public banks, I very well might invite them in and call them “comrade.”

Paul Williams, Avondale