Walmart announced in April that it is shutting down four stores in the city of Chicago because those stores lose tens of millions of dollars every year and their annual losses have nearly doubled in the last five years. In response to this announcement, newly elected Chicago Mayor, Brandon Johnson gave a fiery speech in which he said, “wonder why our communities look like they look? We have violence every single day. It is just not on us; it is on the corporate citizens that come into our community and ravage our community. And Walmart, you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself. You are the reason why our communities lack the investment that they have … We deserve to be able to shop, work, play in our own communities.”
Mayor Johnson is blaming the crime crisis in Chicago on the poverty that he claims was produced by the lack of capital investment into the city by corporations like Walmart. But he has it backwards. Poverty doesn’t cause crime, crime causes poverty. Are entrepreneurs more or less likely to invest in a crime-infested community vs a crime-free community? When looking at dying or dead cities, crime usually comes first. If a community starts seeing a significant uptick in carjacks, burglaries, muggings, people will move. No one wants to live, work or invest in a dangerous, crime riddled city. People are fleeing cities like San Francisco in droves because crime has risen 50%, shoplifting was made legal, and homeless encampments are strewn throughout the city.
Walmart did not leave Chicago because it is prejudice against black and brown people. Walmart left Chicago because of crime. That’s it. Walmart is not a charity; it is in business to make money. Walmart would put up a store in any part of the world if it believed it will turn a profit. If a corporation opens a business, and the business is getting robbed to the point that it is no longer profitable, the business will shut its doors. The jobs will leave. The tax base will disappear. Property values will plummet. And the city’s economy becomes hollowed out. And that is the problem with many of our major cities. The problems that politicians blame on race are really problems due to the failure of government, whether it is in dealing with crime or homelessness or corruption.
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