In normal cities, law enforcement arrests criminals, and grocery stores stay open. In Chicago, criminals are free to do as they wish, grocery stores are run out of business, and the mayor thinks socialism is the only possible solution.
Mayor Brandon Johnson is now proposing government-owned grocery stores in order to combat food deserts in the city, as four Walmart locations and one Whole Foods have all recently closed. Walmart claims its Chicago locations have not been profitable since they opened them 17 years ago, but the “tens of millions of dollars” in losses have “nearly doubled in just the last five years.”
That corresponds with Chicago’s descent into pro-criminal policy and the lawlessness that followed. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that more than $2 billion in goods were stolen from retailers in Illinois in 2021, while Chicago arrests for retail theft dropped dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Chicago is simply refusing to (or is unable to) arrest and prosecute shoplifters, and it is predictably hurting normal residents who simply want to be able to buy food.
Johnson is part of that problem, actively defending criminals and their criminal actions and celebrating any and all policies that put criminals back out on the street as quickly as possible. Now, his grand solution to reverse Chicago’s decay is not to renew the focus on retail crime and make it feasible for Walmart and others to do business in Chicago but to put the government in charge of a few grocery stores.
You can predict the result of this move with little effort. Criminals would still be free to steal whatever they like from “Chicagomart” just as they would from other retailers. The stores would run on heavy losses, but those losses would be shouldered by taxpayers instead of a corporation such as Walmart. Chicago residents would be subsidizing shoplifting, and whatever terrible business decisions that the notably incompetent Chicago government would make with the stores.
Chicago, under both Johnson and former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, has opted to shoot itself in the foot repeatedly. Now, it will try to treat its self-inflicted injuries with quack remedies rather than trying to stop the bleeding and then stop shooting itself in the foot. All of this because Johnson and other Chicago leaders think criminals should be able to do whatever they want.