Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Let's Gamble, Smoke Pot and Look at Porn -- For Our Children

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Opinion: Let's Gamble, Smoke Pot and Look at Porn -- For Our Children

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has only the noblest reasons for wanting to bring keno, poker, blackjack, slot machines, baccarat and craps to Chicago. He wants to do it for the children.

“As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, if we were to get a casino, I’d like to direct all the resources to school modernization and school improvement so our kids will be in modern school buildings with a full school day and full school year,” Emanuel told Ward Room.

That’s nice, but if we’re going to start engaging in adult vices on behalf of our children, why stop with gambling? There are plenty of other morally degrading habits we can adopt to help the kids out.

  • Smoking pot. According to Business Week, legalizing marijuana could bring in anywhere from $40 billion to $100 billion in tax revenue -- all of which could be spent on education: “Government would simply be transferring revenue from organized crime to the public purse.” This would also give parents an excuse when it’s time to have the drug talk with their children: “Sure, we got high. But we only did it to put you through school.”
  • Prostitution. This is another illicit activity which, if legalized, could increase the public coffers. Prostitutes at legal brothels in Nevada earn $100,000 a year, making them liable for $20,000 in federal taxes. And if a guy’s wife catches him at a cathouse, well, he was just doing it for the children.
  • Pornography and strip clubs. The Chicago Zoning Ordinance prohibits adult bookstores from operating within 1,000 feet of a school. This is counterproductive, since a “sin tax” on pornographic materials could be used to fund education in the city. The more space we make available for porn, the more we can raise.

Emanuel could raise a lot of money by turning Chicago into a Pottersville, Ill., a sin city of taverns, dance halls, nightclubs, casinos, strip joints, and marijuana dispensaries. It would be a wonderful place to raise children.

 This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $2.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.

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