Innumerable examples of bribery and cronyism paint a seedy picture of how business is done in the Windy City. However, if you believe a recent survey, Chicago’s business leaders are sick of it.
Crain’s Chicago Business recently reported on a survey Crain’s Custom Media helped conduct. The survey found that “91 percent believe companies using paid lobbyists or making big political donations have a business advantage, while 88 percent believe the ethical behavior of elected or appointed officials is a ‘very serious’ or ‘somewhat serious’ issue.”
Furthermore, Crain’s editorial board asserts that “businesspeople need to do more than shake their heads as they answer surveys … They have the power to end pay-to-play. All they have to do is stop paying.”
Unfortunately, this perspective has little grounding in reality. Self-interested individuals and businesses find it easier to seek rather than forgo favoritism, especially if they believe that other individuals and businesses will pursue these favors. Thus, government in a free society should not engage in cronyism or corporate welfare, which ultimately benefits a select group at the expense of others.