Chicago Mayor Johnson Moves Toward City-Run Grocery Stores

When Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) ran for office, he was propelled to victory by a growing socialist movement allied with the Democratic Party.  The Socialist movement has elected a record number of socialists in Congress. However, Johnson now has one of the largest American cities to implement such policies with the support of the far left teacher’s union. Years ago, I wrote how a delegation of the union went to Venezuela and heaped praise on the murderous regime’s “progress.” Now Johnson appears to be moving toward a pilot program with great significance for socialist supporters: state-run grocery stores.

I am admittedly no fan of Johnson.  I love Chicago where I was born and raised. However, rising taxes and crime had led many to leave, particularly businesses.  This includes grocery chains. Walmart, Walgreens, Aldi are just some of the companies closing stores.

Johnson’s solution is telling. Rather than address the underlying conditions, he is suggesting a solution that has failed historically — government-run stores. Indeed, the failure in dealing with crime and hostile business environments has allowed socialist activists to realize a major new socialist agenda item.

The Chicago Tribune reported the start of the feasibility study to open government-run stores as part of Johnson’s pledge to advance “innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address … inequities.”

The mayor said in a statement: 

All Chicagoans deserve to live near convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options. We know access to grocery stores is already a challenge for many residents, especially on the South and West sides. A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. My administration is committed to advancing innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address these inequities.

His Economic Security Project senior adviser Ameya Pawar said that government-run stores are no different from other government programs “the way a library or the postal service operates.” It is all part of “reimagining the role government can play in our lives by exploring a public option for grocery stores via a municipally owned grocery store and market.”

Yet, we have previously “imagined” this approach in various governments with uniformly awful results. The government is not going to run these stores at a profit when actual businesses could not do so. Instead, it is likely to supply food at a higher cost for taxpayers in the red.

What is striking is that Johnson’s office said the grocery stores would be funded with the help of the Biden Administration as well as state funds. The use of federal funds to take another stab at state-run stores was hardly embraced by Congress in prior appropriation debates. If true, it is yet another example of how Congress has allowed billions to be spent without meaningful limits, including the massive and largely unrestricted spending tied to pandemic measures. That funding has been used for everything from office upgrades to state lottery systems.

In the Soviet Union, state-run grocery stores were the subject of gallows humor. The “reimagining” of grocery stores left shelves bare with only imagined essential products. The most widely told joke spread just before the fall of the Soviet Union:

Two men are in line waiting to buy vodka. An hour goes by, then two, and the line barely moves. Everyone is in a terrible mood. Finally, one of the men can’t take it any longer. “This is it! I’m sick of this kind of life. Everywhere there are lines, you cannot buy anything, and the store shelves are empty. I’ve had enough. I’m going to the Kremlin right now to assassinate him”. The man returns after two hours, still angry, and says, “To hell with it! At the Kremlin the line to assassinate Gorbachev is longer than this one.”

As the Johnson and Biden Administration try to make state-run stores work where the Soviet Union failed, history and economics are hardly on their side. Of course, as University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman noted, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

164 thoughts on “Chicago Mayor Johnson Moves Toward City-Run Grocery Stores”

  1. private stores that make a meager profit could not survive the shoplifting… so the gubmint will step in and use your tax money to subsidize the theft. .. see?

  2. If you are too racist, bigoted, homo-phobic, phobi-phobic, or just plain phobic to understand let me explain the beauty of this enlightened plan;
    You see, young Minority yutes are sensitive to being disrespected so when they innocently gather to play parcheesi or gang rob a store and find themselves slurred as “Hoodlums”, “Thugs”, “Lawless Jackals”, it hurts their feeling, so, to ease their pain they steal from grocery stores because – – – – equity? Justice??? they need a new crack pipe?
    So, if a neighborhoods stores have closed because of the losses from thieves the perfect solution is for the government to run the stores because – – – – – let me get back to you on that one.

  3. My guess is that shoplifting in a guvment-grostore will be met with extreme measures by the same cops that will do nothing currently.

  4. It’s really just a way of giving away tax payer funded groceries… as the chicago slime steals it, the taxpayers will be forced to replace it.

  5. Epidemic shoplifing. Can’t wait to see it explode even from present lawless levels with government run stores. Criminals are a major constituency of corrupt governments so they are not going to displease them.

  6. Its starting to look a like like communism! Everywhere you go!
    Take a look at the deaths at ten, Chiraq is murdering once again
    With Mac-10s and Glock 9s that glow!
    It’s beginning to look a lot like Communism!
    NOTHING in every store!
    But the scariest sight you’ll see is the IRS that will be
    On your own front door!


    Voted for Marxist a-holes across the USA.
    Retarded Teachers at every level.
    Grifters that dream of cutting off your pupil’s penis or their boobs. Good job American Left!

    OH – and I am not giving the Mothercluckers on the right a pass.
    Neocon Bushes actually did more direct damage to the USA than even Obama.
    Obama was a lazy socialist. Not truly motivated enough or ballsy (well he is gay) enough to go FULL SOCIALIST.
    He handed over the foreign policy grift to Joey Biden.

    But its over! No more heroes…..
    Gotta rebuild without the completely corrupt US government.

  7. Most of the black and hispanic communities are quite fine with the govt providing welfare largess. In fact, most immigrants in the US are on some sort of welfare program. Mexicans, Central Americans and Dominicans are the most likely to be on welfare. The reality is the majority of them are. Who knows how much black market activity they do. These shops will be effectively free because no one is going to stop the mass shoplifting that’s going to occur. Also, Chicago will be an even bigger magnet for illegals and the homeless if they’re providing “free food”. I do recall that the govt had warehouses that gave out surpluses like gubmint cheese to states. Don’t know if that is still occurring.

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