Archives for December 2015

The $5 Million Cover Up

Hand coming out of a monitor and stealing money

When I was asked to a write an article on economics and justice, the first thing that came to mind was the good ole Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel. Here is a man who earned a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet that he claims taught him how to move his feet very quickly in the political arena. Moving his feet quickly is an understatement. Emanuel has played the shell switcheroo game that hustlers have played for decades on innocent, naive people everyday on the streets of Chicago. Conning them to pick which shell their money has disappeared under, the hustler makes off with a wad of cash and no justice served for those that have lost their money.

 

Emanuel’s days of hustling, however, have come to an end. The economics behind moving the city’s resources from one shell to the next, devastating Chicagoans as 50 Chicago public schools shut down, leaving parents of Black and Latino children left to figure out where their children will receive an education, somehow the world-class city found millions of dollars from somewhere to fund a sports complex. Emanuel, like many of the hustlers on the street, slept and ate well at night not giving a second thought to the families affected by their game.

 

The biggest Emanuel hustle yet, at the expense of justice for a young life taken, cost the city of Chicago $5 million. How many public schools could have benefited from $5 million? Emanuel is probably lying awake at night calculating the lives he could have possibly saved with that $5 million check he signed in 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s

blood. The check dripping in cold blood was signed over to the mother of slain McDonald to keep quiet about her son’s murder by Chicago police officers. McDonald, a ward of the state, was not in the care of his own mother at the time of his demise, but she accepted the check anyway. A hustler like Emanuel, McDonald’s mother has possibly been living high off the hog without a thought to serving justice for McDonald who had his entire life ahead of him.

 

Over a year ago McDonald was executed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke for no reason. Van Dyke, along with fellow officers, gave inaccurate accounts of what happened on that cold night on the south side of Chicago. Stating that McDonald lunged at them in a life threatening manner, Van Dyke put two bullets into the teenager bringing him down. While McDonald lay on the ground, Van Dyke reloads and fires 14 more shots into McDonald’s lifeless body. Unfortunately for Van Dyke, the murder was captured on dash cam as well as a Burger King surveillance camera. Fellow officers deleted the files from the Burger King camera, but they forgot to delete the camera that recorded them deleting footage from another camera.

 

Emanuel, running for office at the time of young McDonald’s murder, somehow figured that the release of the video capturing the shooting would be damaging to his election, he allegedly signed off on a very expensive cover-up. Officer Van Dyke was allowed to continue receiving a paycheck. Prosecutor Anita Alvarez allegedly aided in the cover-up as well. Had Emanuel demonstrated justice on behalf of a youth who was a ward of the state, the city would have fallen in love with him. He would have been a hero and saved his city $5 million.

 

The situation did not play out that way, however. Now under investigation for a heinous cover-up, the release of the video 13 months later has caused thousands to march in the streets of Chicago for the past several weeks protesting, demanding for Emanuel’s and Alvarez’s resignation. Superintendent Garry McCarthy was forced to resign by Emanuel. This was not enough for the people of Chicago.

 

The Laquan McDonald murder cover-up is laced in economics, to say the least. We are still waiting on the justice…which may or may not ever come. It was already paid for.

 

Practical Approach to In-Store Credit Card Offers

How to Take a Practical Approach to In-Store Credit Card Offers During the Holidays

We hear it almost anytime we purchase an item at a store that offers an in-store credit card, “Would you like to apply for our store credit card?” Most major retailers such as Home Depot, Target, and Kohl’s offer a credit card that can only be used in that particular store. During the holidays, it might seem like a good idea to get that additional 20% off for opening up a store credit card. Experts say that consumers should definitely be cautious during the holiday season, as the idea of getting a store credit card might be enticing. You can buy all your gifts at one location, and not have to spend any money up front. Here are some tips to stay practical with credit cards during the holiday season.

Create a holiday budget

Not only do we have to spend money on gifts throughout the holiday season, but consumers must purchase food and decorations as well. All of this adds up, and a budget can be really helpful in spending conservatively during the holiday months. Create a budget for how much you would like to spend in total, for all gifts you must purchase. It might be easier to first create a list of who you need to purchase presents for, and determine how much can be spent on each person. Also be sure to budget for holiday food supplies. Are you hosting a holiday and need to supply food for a large number of people? Or are you attending another location where you only have to bring one or two food items? The earlier you know your holiday plans, the better you can prepare a budget for the cost of food. Every year stores come out with new decorations, which you might be tempted to buy. If you know that you spend money every year on a couple of new items, go ahead and budget for how much you can allow yourself to spend this year. Always remember that after holiday decoration sales provide consumers with the best savings!

Now is a store credit card worth it?

After creating a holiday budget, you can better determine if an in-store credit card is right for you. If you slacked in the holiday savings department, and need extra money for the holiday season, an in-store credit card might be a great option. You can also explore layaway options, which allow you to pay for items throughout an extended period of time. Financial experts warn consumers of high interest rates, especially for in-store credit cards – just like taking on title loans or personal loans. If you must apply for an in-store credit card during the holiday season, make sure it is for a store that has a variety of items. Target is a great place for an in-store credit card because they have items you might need for gifts, decorations, and food. Try not to max out an in-store credit card, and look for holiday savings deals for that particular store.

It can definitely be hard to stay practical when it comes to money during the holiday season. Sometimes we rush and wait until the last minute, and by that time it might be too late. Always make sure you are using your best personal finance judgement when it comes to applying for a credit card, even during the holiday season!