Wisconsin

U.S. News & World Report Ranks Chicago Metro Area 83rd ‘Best Place To Live’

From a U.S. News & World Report press release on February 7:

U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, today unveiled the 2017 Best Places to Live in the United States. The new list ranks the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Predictably, the Chicago metro area made the list.

Somewhat surprising is how far down it was:

Chicago, IL
#83 in Best Places to Live
6.1 Overall Score
5.9 Quality of Life
6.1 Value

Scores are out of a possible 10.

Nearby metropolitan areas that ranked higher than the “Second City” included:

#18 Madison, Wisconsin
#19 Grand Rapids, Michigan
#47 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#55 Indianapolis, Indianapolis

According to the press release:

The 2017 Best Places to Live were determined in part by a public survey of thousands of individuals across the U.S. to find out what qualities they consider important in a home town. The methodology also factors in data from the United States Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as U.S. News rankings of the Best High Schools and Best Hospitals…

You can see the full rankings list here on the U.S. News website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 Employment, Housing No Comments

ABC7 News Investigation: ‘Chicago Is A Crossroads Of Home-Grown Terrorists’

Friday night, Chuck Goudie of Chicago’s ABC7 News reported the following concerning an I-Team investigation into home-grown jihadists. From the TV station’s website:

Two new investigations of American terrorists portray a chilling image of terrorists living in our midst, and concentrated in the Midwest.

Targeting the jihadist next door in the Midwest would have to become a priority according to new data compiled by House Homeland Security investigators. They lay out an “unprecedented spike in the homegrown terror threat, primarily driven by the rise of ISIS.” That, along with a new University of Chicago report on the American face of ISIS, paint a frightening picture of the threat growing among us.

First for Al Qaeda and now for ISIS, Chicago is a crossroads of home-grown terrorists.

According to new findings by the House Homeland Security Committee, the tentacles of terror cases in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin since early 2016 touch Chicago

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Researchers Say American Terror Threat Is Home-Grown”
ABC7 News Video

Besides home-grown jihadists, in May 2015 a threat attributed to the Islamic State posted on anonymous message board JustPasteIt claimed the following:

We have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire. Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday. We are increasing in number bithnillah. Of the 15 states, 5 we will name… Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Bithnillah” (“bi’ithnillah”) can be translated as meaning “with the permission of Allah.” The post was signed “Abu Ibrahim Al Ameriki,” a U.S.-born terrorist with the group.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Goudie, Chuck. “Researchers Say American Terror Threat Is Home-Grown.” ABC7 News. 10 Feb. 2017. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/researchers-say-american-terror-threat-is-home-grown/1748712/). 12 Feb. 2017.

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Monday, February 13th, 2017 Government, Public Safety, Religion, War No Comments

Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Recognizes ‘Illinois Diaspora’

“You mean that oft-repeated yarn about the state’s population loss being predominantly due to residents being fed up with our winters and moving to warmer destinations like Florida and Arizona isn’t true?”

Survival And Prosperity post yesterday afternoon regarding 86,000 Illinoisans “escaping” to Wisconsin from 2006 to 2015 (hat-tip Illinois Policy Institute)

I had to chuckle when I spotted the following on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon. The Tribune Editorial Board penned last night:

Property taxes here are among the highest in the nation. And certain parts of the state aren’t just jobs deserts, they’re becoming depopulated deserts. More people moved away from Illinois during the last two years than from any other state in the country. Many moved to other Midwestern states. So don’t repeat the lie that it’s the weather.

Here’s what else a prospective employer sees in Illinois: No state budget in nearly two years. A credit rating nearing junk status. Inability to pay bills as they come due, a basic definition of insolvency. And political impasse in the General Assembly. An attempt at compromise legislation to get a budget passed hit a snag in the Senate on Wednesday. Senators, keep working…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Great minds think alike?

Nope. Not at all. Just very concerned Illinois residents who have arrived at the same conclusion regarding where this is all heading if Springfield and voters can’t get their act together. Like, yesterday.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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86,000 Illinois Residents Escaped To Wisconsin From 2006 To 2015

Any Chicagoland readers remember that major Wisconsin tourism push years ago which suggested Illinois residents “Escape To Wisconsin”?

Apparently, tens of thousands of Illinoisans took them up on that offer.

And never returned.

The “Illinois Diaspora” continues.

From the website of the Illinois Policy Institute, a Chicago-based non-partisan research organization that works “to make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation,” on February 2:

Illinois suffered a net loss of more than 11,000 people to Wisconsin in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the equivalent of more than 31 Illinoisans becoming Wisconsinites on a daily basis.

Illinoisans have routinely relocated to the Badger State over the past decade. During the 10-year period from 2006 through 2015, Illinois lost almost 86,000 people on net to Wisconsin. That’s an average net loss of nearly 9,000 people per year and almost 24 per day.

Illinois’ population losses aren’t the norm in the Midwest. In fact, the Land of Lincoln is the only state in the region with a shrinking population, and half of the Illinoisans who left in 2015 relocated to other Midwestern states

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You mean that oft-repeated yarn about the state’s population loss being predominantly due to residents being fed up with our winters and moving to warmer destinations like Florida and Arizona isn’t true?

Madelyn Harwood offered up an informative comparison between the two Midwestern states in support of her statement that “It’s easy to see why Wisconsin is an attractive alternative to Illinois.”

Head on over to the Illinois Policy Institute website here to read the entire piece.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 Demographics, Population No Comments

Chicago Ties Birmingham, Alabama, For Highest Jobless Rate Among Large Metro Areas In December

This morning the U.S. Department of Labor handed the Chicago metropolitan area some bad news on the employment front. From a Bureau of Labor Statistics news release this morning entitled “Metropolitan Area Employment And Unemployment- December 2016”:

Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, Mass.-N.H., had the lowest unemployment rate in December, 2.5 percent, followed by Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., 2.6 percent, and Salt Lake City, Utah, 2.7 percent. Birmingham-Hoover, Ala., and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis., had the highest jobless rates among the large areas, 5.4 percent each.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Worrisome.

You can read the entire BLS news release here (.pdf format).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 Business, Employment, Government No Comments

9/11 Principal Architect: Through Muslim Immigration ‘America Will Expose Her Neck To Us For Slaughter’

I was going to dive into the latest investment activities/recommendations of the “crash prophets” for the remainder of this evening, but I can’t get something which Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) Sheriff David Clarke, Jr., said on FOX News Saturday about vetting particular Middle East refugees out of my mind:

We’re talking about abled-bodied, grown men, fighting-age, that should be back in Syria and back in the Middle East fighting for their country coming over to the United States to spread jihad

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Note that Sheriff Clarke said “spread jihad” as opposed to “carry out jihad.”

It’s possible Sheriff Clarke is aware of the interrogation sessions and conversations with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed- alleged principal architect of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks- by psychologist, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, and CIA contractor James Mitchell, Ph. D. Back on November 23, 2016, Paul Bedard reported on the Washington Examiner website:

In Enhanced Interrogation, CIA contractor James Mitchell tells for the first time about his role interrogating al Qaeda principals, many like KSM still jailed at Guantanamo Bay. He details accounts of waterboarding and other interrogation sessions of the nation’s most notorious enemies.

None more so than Mohammed. Among the most fascinating aspects of the book are chatty discussions between KSM and Mitchell long after the waterboarding and before he was delivered to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he clammed- and lawyered- up…

Snippets obtained by Secrets from the book set for release next Tuesday from Crown Forum show that Muslim terror groups had a much bigger plan to crush America than just through attacks like 9/11.

Instead, the plan is to fill the country with like-minded Muslims through the country’s easy immigration laws and by having babies, and then using the U.S. legal and welfare system to turn the country into a system like Iran.

Consider this passage in the book, Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America, where KSM reveals the plan to Mitchell:

“It would be nice,” he said, if al Qaeda or like-minded Islamists could bring America to its knees with catastrophic attacks, but that was unlikely to happen; “not practical” is the wording he used. From his perspective, the long war for Islamic domination wasn’t going to be won in the streets with bombs and bullets and bloodshed. No, it would be won in the minds of the American people.

He said the terror attacks were good, but the “practical” way to defeat America was through immigration and by outbreeding non-Muslims. He said jihadi-minded brothers would immigrate into the United States, taking advantage of the welfare system to support themselves while they spread their jihadi message. They will wrap themselves in America’s rights and laws for protection, ratchet up acceptance of Sharia law, and then, only when they were strong enough, rise up and violently impose Sharia from within. He said the brothers would relentlessly continue their attacks and the American people eventually would become so tired, so frightened, and so weary of war that they would just want it to end.

“Eventually,” KSM said, “America will expose her neck to us for slaughter.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Hmm. Two things came to mind reading this:

1. How did Dr. Mitchell know Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wasn’t just feeding him B.S.?

2. Enhanced Interrogation was released on November 29, 2016- a short time after Election Day and prior to President Trump taking office. Considering the CIA connection, some might suspect there could be a “hidden agenda” attached to the book (justifying “extreme vetting,” enhanced interrogation, and/or keeping Guantanamo Bay open for business, for example, “in the minds of the American people”).

I guess I’ll have to read it one of these days. In the meantime, “food for thought” considering current events.


“Schumer tears up over ‘un-American’ ban”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Bedard, Paul. “9/11 mastermind: Al Qaeda favors ‘immigration’ to defeat USA.” Washington Examiner. 23 Nov. 2016. (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/911-mastermind-al-qaeda-favors-immigration-to-defeat-usa/article/2608083). 30 Jan. 2016.

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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke: Mainstream Media Now Democrats’ ‘Propaganda Wing’ As Trump Defends Nation

Let’s turn our attention north of the “Cheddar Curtain” now. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr., appeared on FOX News Saturday morning and really let the mainstream media and opponents of strengthening the borders/homeland security have it. On the sparring between President Trump and the mainstream media, Sheriff Clarke informed FOX & Friends Weekend viewers:

Well, first of all, the mainstream media, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC- they have become the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party and of leftist ideology. They abandoned their responsibility under the Constitution, their First Amendment protection. And we want them to have First Amendment protection but we don’t want it to be used against people whose political views they don’t agree with or that they oppose. They’re supposed to be a watchdog but instead what they have become, like I said, is an echo chamber for leftist ideology. So I think it’s good because the media has changed. And organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others do not realize that this is a new media age and every person in the United States now is their own reporter. And that is competition to them as well and they don’t like it.

On President’s Trump’s initiatives to protect the nation’s borders and strengthen homeland security, Clarke said:

First of all, I’m tired of these one-percenters like Mark Zuckerberg and others lecturing us about who we are. I know who I am, and most Americans know who we are. We are a sovereign nation. If you’re going to be a sovereign nation, you have to have borders and you have to protect those borders. Mark Zuckerberg has no idea of who’s coming into this country and what it takes to vet those individuals. I as a law enforcement officer- I’m in my 39th year- we do a lot of vetting of people. I know how it’s done. But you have to have databases with which to compare. So you take a name, someone coming in as a refugee. And we’re not talking about the kids. I’m tired of all this crocodile tears about the kids, the poor kids coming. We’re not talking that. We’re talking about abled-bodied, grown men, fighting-age, that should be back in Syria and back in the Middle East fighting for their country coming over to the United States to spread jihad. So that’s who we’re talking about. But if you don’t have a database, someone gives you a name, and you don’t have a database in Syria, because they don’t have the record systems and the databases like we have with people- you have nothing to compare it to. So they give you a name and you look and there’s nothing there. That doesn’t mean that they’re safe to come in. So Donald Trump is right on this. And I hope that the rest of the people in Washington, D.C., realize that this thing is a mess and we have to get our arms around it. And at least President Donald Trump recognizes that…

What’s interesting is former President Barack Obama said that they were already doing it. So if he said- and they weren’t- but if he said they were already doing it, and now President Donald Trump comes along and says we’re doing it and now these same people who said, “Well, hey, Barack Obama’s taking care of it”- these same people are now being critical of it. The hypocrisy of this is profound. But, President Donald Trump understands that his first obligation is to defend and protect American citizens, and defend and protect America from foreign threats. That is his first and most important obligation. So he is rising up to that. And people should be proud of that. It makes me feel more secure that finally, somebody understands that the defense of this nation is government’s number one priority.


“Sheriff Clarke: Mainstream Media Has Abandoned Its Constitutional Responsibility”
FOX News Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Amended Illinois Tax Hike Plan To Hit Taxpayers, Businesses, And Employment?

Back on January 16 I published a post on Survival And Prosperity entitled “Illinois ‘Grand Bargain’ Legislation Includes 32 Percent Personal Income Tax Hike.” I started the piece with:

Illinois taxpayers may get hit with a significant income tax hike pretty soon…

Yesterday morning, I learned the potential “hit” could be a “combination of punches” directred at taxpayers, businesses, and employment.

From the Greg Hinz On Politics blog on the website of Crain’s Chicago Business:

There’s still no word on when lawmakers are going to vote on it, but an amended tax-hike plan has been introduced in the state capital.

It’s a doozy, with an even higher income tax, a limited service tax and a sort of minimum tax on business. But the soda pop levy is gone, as are a couple of those corporate loophole closings that business groups didn’t like…

The highlights:

The Individual income tax would go to 4.99 percent from the current 3.75 percent, and the corporate income tax to 7 percent from 5.25 percent. Combined, that would pull in about an additional $5 billion a year.

A new “business opportunity tax” ranging from a fee of $225 to $15,000 a year would be imposed, based on payroll. The intent is to make sure that all companies pay something, whether they are profitable or not. The state’s net on this is an estimated $750 million a year.

However, the research and development tax credit would be made permanent and the manufacturers purchase and graphics arts credits would be combined, as some businesses wanted.

A service tax—extension of the sales tax—would be imposed on certain items including repair and maintenance of personal property, use of amusement services including gyms, landscaping, laundry and dry-cleaning, and storage of personal goods such as cars and property. This would pull in a projected $400 million a year.

The telecom excise tax would be extended to cable and satellite services.

Both Radogno and Cullerton are said to have negotiated and support the above, pending action on the rest of the package…

Hinz does a good job summarizing the proposed expanded revenue grab. At this point, I want to go back to that bit about a new “business opportunity tax.” From the actual legislation for the so-called “Business Opportunity Tax Act”:

Section 1-10. Tax imposed.
(a) Beginning on July 1, 2017, a tax is hereby imposed upon each qualified business for the privilege of doing business in the State.
(b) The tax under subsection (a) shall be imposed in the following amounts:
(1) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is less than $100,000, then then annual tax is $225;
(2) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $100,000 or more but less than $250,000, then the annual tax is $750;
(3) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $250,000 or more but less than $500,000, then the annual tax is $3,750;
(4) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $500,000 or more but less than $1,500,000, then the annual tax is $7,500; and
(5) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $1,500,000 or more, then the annual tax is $15,000…

I can see a number of existing and prospective Illinois business owners having concerns with the proposed “Business Opportunity Tax Act.”

First, Illinois already has poor business reputation. For example, early last year Chief Executive magazine asked 513 CEOs to rank states they are familiar with on the friendliness of their tax and regulatory regime, workforce quality, and living environment. The “Land of Lincoln” came in as the 48th worst state in this annual survey, beaten only by New York and California in that order. The “Business Opportunity Tax Act” has the real potential of increasing the perception that Illinois is business-unfriendly.

Second, if my understanding of the legislation is correct, the larger the payroll an Illinois business has, the more taxes they will pay. Consider the following. If I’m an Illinois business owner with a payroll just shy of $250K who would like to bring on more staff, I may be dissuaded from doing so to avoid forking over an additional $3,000 to the state (unless I’m convinced the hiring would offset the $3K hit). And how might employee raises be impacted once payrolls start approaching a higher tax bracket? The proposed “Business Opportunity Tax Act” may not be too terrific for Illinois employment.

Third, readers of this blog may know that I am in the process of rolling out a research business focusing on specialized asset protection. It’s been my intention to launch in the Chicago area. Lately, however, I’ve been thninking of opening up shop in southeast Wisconsin (where my family has a residence) due to the direction Illinois looks to be heading with taxes and its treatment of the business community. The passage of the “Business Opportunity Tax Act” could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I wonder how many other prospective Illinois business owners might be in the same boat?

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Hinz, Greg. “New, wider tax plan rolls out in Springfield.” Greg Hinz On Politics. 24 Jan. 2017. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20170124/BLOGS02/170129931/springfield-lawmakers-roll-out-new-wider-tax-hike-plan). 26 Jan. 2017.

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More Wisconsin Welfare Reform Coming?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is pushing for additional welfare reform in the state. Reid Wilson reported Monday afternoon on The Hill website:

Twenty years after a Republican governor of Wisconsin spearheaded an ambitious welfare reform package, the current governor is trying to build momentum for a new round of reforms.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Monday said he would ask the state’s Republican-led legislature to undertake one of the most aggressive welfare reform packages since a wave of new measures passed in the mid-1990s.

Walker’s plan, “Wisconsin Works for Everyone,” would impose new work requirements on both able-bodied adults with school-age children who receive state food assistance and those who receive housing assistance. Both work plans, which would be tested on a pilot basis, would require recipients to be employed for at least 80 hours per month, or to be enrolled in job training programs. Those who do not meet work requirements would see part of their benefits cut…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Food stamp work requirements for abled-bodied adults without dependents have existed in Wisconsin since April 2015.

As for it’s neighbor to the south, critics contend the food stamp program in Illinois is ripe for abuse. A work requirement does not exist for even abled-bodied adults without dependents. According to the Illinois Department of Human Services:

“We expect people who can work to try and do so.”

Hmm.

Head on over to The Hill website here to read the entire piece.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 Employment, Government, Housing, Political Parties Comments Off on More Wisconsin Welfare Reform Coming?

Mexican Paper Reports ‘Migrants Flee To Chicago Before Trump Becomes President’

In a post yesterday about Chicago, I offered up the following to residents who look to remain in the city through what I suspect will be increasingly tough times:

Do yourself a favor and take a good, hard look at your financial and personal safety capabilities for successfully navigating any “storm” that may lie ahead…

Here’s one more thing these Chicagoans might want to consider:

Learn to speak Spanish, if you don’t already.

Back in high school, I informed one of my Spanish teachers that I wanted to learn the language because I envisioned a future where being able to speak it might come in handy around Chicagoland and in other parts of the country.

It has. Immensely.

Almost a decade ago, I mentioned to my girlfriend that Chicagoans had better get used to a growing Hispanic influence in the city, based on the demographic trends I was observing.

Perhaps even more so now, after reading an article on the website of Mexican financial newspaper EL FINANCIERO. In the piece entitled “Migrants flee to Chicago before Trump becomes president,” Anabel Clemente reported Tuesday:

Before Donald Trump is acting president, on January 20, Mexico’s consul in Chicago, Carlos Martín Jiménez, reported that there is already a displacement of migrants to that city, as a point considered a sanctuary .

During the 28th Meeting of Ambassadors and Consuls, he said that undocumented people, living in localities near Chicago, began moving to that city, where their mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has implemented support measures , such as establishing a Special office called New Citizens , and has put a free phone for those who do not have documentation.

“We have Indiana, which is quite anti-immigrant, almost half the state, and we have a lot of people in Wisconsin . Although there is a new consulate, people are already very accustomed to the Chicago consulate and then they are migrating to Chicago, precisely because of the sanctuary issue, “he said…

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis; Translation exactly as provided by the Google Translate website.)

You can read the entire article here in English via Google Translate or here in Spanish on the EL FINANCIERO website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Friday, January 13th, 2017 Demographics, Government, Immigration, North America, Political Parties, Population, South America Comments Off on Mexican Paper Reports ‘Migrants Flee To Chicago Before Trump Becomes President’
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