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. In the Depression of the 30’s there were no robberies to get food they couldn’t afford. There was a moral code.
      You got in line not knowing what was being given out. Different times. Different world.

    2. I see a double-whammy coming for those stores. The people running it will be stealing out the back door while it’s being looted at the front door.

    3. Seriously. do you actually believe that or you pulling everyone’s chain. How can you read Turley & actually think that way? Cuba might fit you just fine.

    4. Groceries would be cheaper since there’s no incentive to profit from the sale of groceries.

      That’s the same logic the Gov. of New Mexico used.
      Disarming the law abiding, will lower gun crime. Although she later admitted taking away guns would have no affect.

  1. Here was the process I went through to buy one item at the GUM department store in Moscow during the mid 1980s:

    1) Point to the item I wanted (everything in one particular store was behind a counter)
    2) The clerk behind the counter then wrote the price on a slip of paper and handed the paper to me
    3) Take the paper to a cashier at a register at the other end of the store and pay for the item
    4) Return back to the original clerk and show her the paid receipt
    5) Clerk hands me the item.

    1. in Cuba, 1 of 2 scenarios could occur.

      1. The clerk would take your American dollars and give you the hidden item while no one was watching…or…

      2. The clerk would take your Cuban pesos and tell you la Revolución needed the item to fight the Yankees. You would then be expected to scream ¡Patria o muerte! then leave quietly

      True story.

      1. It was amazing what you could buy with American money in Russia then. When I was there the official exchange rate was $1.17 per Rouble. The black market rate was 7 Roubles per Dollar if you traded with someone on the street (no doubt he then resold them at the best rate or traded it for black market Western goods) and everything there was cheap and even cheaper if you traded a sought-after western good directly for Russian goods.

        One of my fellow travellers was having trouble hailing a taxi along a street. They just drove past without stopping. Then he held out an American five dollar bill. The first taxi came along, the driver rubber-necked when he saw the money and slammed on his brakes. He kicked out the woman soldier who was his current fare and waved all the Americans inside, leaving her behind on the street.

        Maybe we should just hold 5 dollar bills out in Crimea so they will kick out all the Russians and let the Americans in.

        1. I believe you! You brought back happy and sad memories of my time in Cuba. When I last visited Cuba, I stayed at a hotel to keep the peace because all of my relatives expected me to stay with them, scattered throughout Havana. They literally could not find any food at the local grocery stores. So I visited the stores for tourists, where locals were not allowed, bought meats, vegetables, coffee, liquor and sodas, and placed it on my uncle’s kitchen counter. Soon word spread in the barrio and ….yup, I fed scores of people. They were so happy and thankful, they danced and sang songs. I eventually went back to the hotel and wept. When I returned to Miami I had to take Xanax for a week, first time ever, because my nerves were shot to hell. Communism sucks.

  2. A few years ago in the state I live in some whack job politician suggested that maybe the state should run a bank. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if these hacks ran a bank. Periodically the bank would have to be bailed out by the taxpayer and I wonder who would be hired to work at the bank. Friends of friends of course and these bankers would most likely be state employees. That means when they retire they would get 80% of an average of their best 3 years. One more thing, who would get favorable loans. When are they going to learn to just let the private sector run these enterprises and let them take the risks.

  3. Would bet that Chicago Police Department officers will be assigned to these “Stores” to prevent shoplifting and looting!

  4. Store Inventory for Each Week

    Week 1) Government Cheese
    2) Government Cheese
    3) Government Cheese (75% off)
    4) Humanitarian Daily Ration (Yellow Bag)
    5) Sacks of Grain (“A gift from the people of the United States” brand)
    6) Powdered Milk
    7) Beans w/Frankfurter Chunks in Tomato Sauce (Olive Drab Cans)
    8) White Bread “Bimbo” brand, closeout price
    9) Pork with Pork Juices (USDA)
    10) Hardtack Biscuits
    11) Crackers “Civil Defense” brand
    12) Drinking Water “CD” brand | 17 1/2 gallon drum
    13) Chocolates, “AYDS Diet Plan”
    14) Borscht
    15) Potatoes (1 per customer)
    17) Twinkies & Coca-Cola
    18) Milk & Pepsi
    19) NutraLoaf (“Illinois Department of Corrections” brand)
    20) Spam
    21) Spam
    22) Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam.
    23) Bud Light (make offer)
    24) Betel Nut & Coco Leaves

    1. 23) Bud Light (make offer)


      You get bonus points for that!

      No one in their right mind wants to drink a Satanic, Pedo/Pedo supporting beer company.

      What are they down to now, 40 Billion in value so far? LOL;)

  5. “AOC, other Dems drowned out by screaming protestors at NYC migrant crisis news conference”

    – Fox News

    The protestors were screaming “SEND THEM BACK!”

    How ironic, notwithstanding the fact that every person in Central and South America and every third world country on the planet could claim “asylum” per some form or rendition of abuse by their banana republic “government.” America should just import every last dependent and parasitic coward who is not willing to stand with family members and countrymen to fight for and build their own country, right? Wrong!

    The dependent and parasitic, illegal alien invaders who have conquered New York and big cities everywhere without Americans having fired so much as a shot, have come full circle and aligned themselves with the American Founders, who, within the year of the adoption of the Constitution, passed their clear meaning and intent for American citizenship, the Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802 (four iterations, they meant it).

    Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1798 and 1802

    United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen…

    What the —- happened, America?

  6. Will they be self-sustaining, and therefore have a chance of being viable, or will they have to be subsidized, in which case they will only be a socialist redistributive mechanism, and will not be sustainable.

  7. Now you get it.

    Karl Marx called it the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Communism is global, for those of you in Rio Linda. It’s the very same communism and “dictatorship of the proletariat” that “Crazy Abe” destroyed the Constitution for in order to commence the incremental implementation of communism in America. Extremist ideologues Lincoln and Marx were “fellow travelers.” Lincoln’s successors and subsequent fellow-communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs) have been working as hard as they can for the past 150 years to fully abrogate the rights, freedoms, privileges, and immunities of Americans per the Constitution and to impose the principles of communism: Central planning, control of the means of production (i.e. unconstitutional regulation), redistribution of wealth, and social engineering, under Karl Marx’s famous motto: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” The entire American welfare state is antithetical, illicit, illegal, and unconstitutional. It is pure, unmitigated communism.

  8. “Large swaths”… “food deserts”… This alleged evidence of economic failure exist, coincidentally, in the very same places where jewelry stores have been converted into fortresses, hardware stores have shuttered their doors, and good people live in constant fear of their no-good neighbors. Damn capitalism!

  9. “A government with the policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul. George Bernard Shaw

  10. This is total nonsense! To even THINK (yea right, some politician on the left thinking) that a government agency at any level will function orderly and in the best interests of the public is delusional. Additionally thinking that they will have the power to control pricing at a break even, or a small profit made me laugh. The only way for a government entity to function is by coercion, confiscation or seizure of free enterprise. Currently how would they compete against let’s say one of the largest Grocery Companies (Kroger)? As an example, Kroger so far this year 2023 they are running a loss: Total Sales +/- $33.9 Billion with a loss of $480 Million or 2022 Sales of $34.6 Billion and a profit of $960 Million. Respectfully in 2022 they made a profit of 2.7% and 2023 a loss of .014%. Their buying power either at the growers or wholesalers’ level is so disproportionate a local store would not be able to compete and would soon either ask for more funding or close.

    The federal funding in 2021 for SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) was $113.74 Billion. Illinois in 2022 showed between 14 and 19 percent of population received SNAP funding. I level the rest untouched as this notion of governance is absurd at all levels and could only be proposed by a leftist nut case!!!

    1. George W,
      Democrat soft on crime policies, defund the police, no cash bail along with Bidenomics are really impacting everyone from the bottom 90%, to companies, small businesses. Only the top 10% are immune. Even their investments are taking a degree of a hit. Not as much as the bottom 90%, but it still shows.
      Invest in PMs and chickens.

      1. @Upstate

        Additionally, what makes them presume people wont continue to walk in and take whatever they want, presuming we *aren’t* talking about Soviet style rationing (which might very well be what they have in mind. Nothing like government cheese and toilet paper, but who knows? Doubt they’ve thought it through to that extent)? Heaven forbid they address their policies that led businesses that prosper just fine elsewhere to flee in the first place. These people are tone deaf/insane/dumber than a rock in any combination one prefers, and the people in these blue places just keep on voting for it, time after exhausting time. JFK is *dead* folks, and he was an anomaly, anyway. Total collapse appears to be the only cure, but as the lockdown has shown us, recovery is most certainly not assured. Is EVERY blue city going to end up being a scene from Mad Max, and that’s just how it’ll be? The country may divide purely for business, criminal, or sanitation reasons, because as a whole, we can’t (and won’t) take much more of this. 🙄

        1. James,
          Well said.
          Concerning the lockdowns I will point out it was the Red States that lead in reopening their states/economies (which Biden takes credit for, lie) while Blue States like CA and NY were dead last in their recoveries.
          One thing I think we can all take away from the lockdowns is it is up to us at the local level to initiate a recovery.
          However, if it is total collapse, I would expect every city would look like a scene in Mad Max.
          Invest in PMs and chickens.

          1. Upstate
            The United States is so lost in self congratulations and arrogant disposition that half the population cannot see the forest for the trees. Leadership has turned a blind eye to the future and they only see the next few days and operate with such conceit of importance they are ruining this great Republic. They genuflect to ideas and notions that have proven to be detrimental to equality of humanity in the pursuit nirvana. Kneeling and praying their novenas to all their devilish desires and forsaking God in their false belief that tyranny of government solves all ills of Man.

      2. & bullets, just in case the globalists get what they want. I was going to say DNC but way too many of RNC are right with them. They helped Mitt’s niece steal RNC leadership position! Sound familiar?

  11. The Left Wing gadfly who makes outrageous comments is usually “Anonymous.” Thank you for your wonderful incites, Tovarich

  12. Won’t be long until the right to purchase food is directly tied to whether or not you have proof of your Oath swearing allegiance to the government that feeds you, and your obedience ID card documenting your compliance with whatever mandate, medical, social etc. is required to allow you to receive basics for survival.

    Control the food and you control the people.
    Attributed to Henry Kissinger

  13. “Fact is, food deserts are a reality. There are large swaths where it’s near impossible to get an apple from a real grocer. Government seeding of the remedy to this conundrum is not a problem as long as the original incentive programs are geared toward seeding the market for private ownership, or government partnership are involved on the back end of the deal.”

    Cite the source for this plagiarism, thief.

    It sounds a lot like some word salad from Kamala Harris LMAO

    1. The same fingers you had up your a$$ while i was actually serving in the military you try to speak of, as if you have any notion whatsoever of how it runs?

      Most of the success of our military for the last 30 years is IN SPITE of its leadership, not because of it.

      You should have left your fingers up there, because it might have prevented you from talking out of it.

      1. “the success of our military for the last 30 years” … and theirs just so many of them. Exactly how are you defining success? I suppose, from the POV of the military industrial complex every foreign aggression escapade is always a smashing financial success, so there’s that definition. Pity about the poor taxpayers though.

        1. “I suppose, from the POV of the military industrial complex every foreign aggression escapade”.
          Well, I was speaking more from the POV of someone who served 20 years in our military. You know, the ones that go and fight the foreign aggressions so people back here are free to run their mouths about that which they have no clue.
          Specifically, I would be speaking of the Cold War, the liberation of Kuwait, the decimation of Al Queda and the killing of Osama Bin Ladin, and dozens of other covert operations that have been carried out and made you safer. Not to mention the soldiers and sailors that are on watch right now, who arent engaged in nation building, but are rather just minding their post or operating their equipment, on and under the sea, or in a far away land, and wishing they were with their loved ones. They are succesful EVERY DAY. You’re welcome.

          The US Military and the miltary industrial complex are two very different things.

              1. Tom, do keep bowing, someone will hear you eventually. Shame you don’t seem to put much store in G. Washington’s parting words. But sadly history doesn’t appeal to everyone … especially sycophants of US global hegemony.

                1. “sycophants of US global hegemony.”

                  Jibber, I do not argue with the comments of either you or Tom, but would you prefer China to be the hegemon?

                  1. Oh please! It’s not an either or issue. State hegemony is state hegemony regardless of the “voting” mechanism. A more practical question is how do people around the world view the hegemony of China and the US. Which is more likely to bomb you into the stone age (or at least supply the bombs for someone else to do it).

                    1. “Oh please! It’s not an either or issue. “

                      Jibber, nothing is an either-or issue even what you think about American hegemony is fluid.

                      The first question one should ask themselves is whether or not you prefer to be governed by China. If the answer is yes, then there is no need to discuss your comment initially replied to. If the answer is no, one must consider how to prevent China from being the hegemon.

                      Mao’s hundred-year war for dominance is getting close to being true. The date of the hundred years is 2049.

                    2. OK S. Meyer. Since it looks like you may have blocked me Re. your comment below (I’m unable to “Reply” to your post) then I’ll do it this way. You agree there is American government hegemony. And only a moron would not acknowledge Chinese government hegemony. We agree so that’s a start. The only question is which evil is less odious. For many people outside the US that is a question of life and death since the history of US foreign policy since the second WW is on of lethal belligerence (often in the name of spreading “democracy” or some other imagined superlative). This is also true for China. But in the past three decades, which is to what “Corporal Tom” referenced is decidedly lopsided. If you live outside the US you are far more likely to be murdered by a US bomb than anything supplied by China. One dose not defend evil Chinese hegemony by pointing out that evil American hegemony is demonstrably worse. Hence, not an either or issue.

                    3. “OK S. Meyer. Since it looks like you may have blocked me Re. your comment below”

                      Jibber, I am not on the left or a Democrat, so I don’t need to block or censor. I think I helped you before so I will help you again. Only so many layers of postings are permitted. If you use the reply button on your email, your response will generally go to the right place. If you are answering on the blog and you run out of replies, do what you did.

                    4. “foreign policy since the second WW is on of lethal belligerence ”

                      That is your interpretation, but you might see things in black and white. Understand, I am mostly opposed to American foreign engagements. I was against the Vietnam War and marched against it in the first Mother’s Day march, and you can see from my posts where I stand. That doesn’t mean I believe in no engagements or a weak military. When our troops return from battle, I cheer the young men protecting America even though I protested the war. They did their duty.

                      “If you live outside the US you are far more likely to be murdered by a US bomb than anything supplied by China.”

                      Let’s assume you are correct. The problem is that China has grown militarily and is now threatening its neighbors and the sea lanes. It is active in the western hemisphere and supports our enemies, including those seeking nuclear weapons.

                      Notable is that in the past, the superpowers took land and possessions from their opposition. Mostly, the US didn’t do that. When the US conquered land, it returned most. Germany, Italy, and Japan are now thriving western nations. If you recall World War 2, FDR and Churchhill differed on the desirability of empires. Think about what that was and the outcome.

                      I am afraid you are wrong. Though I have not supported American aggression as a superpower, it was better than most preceding it. China would be far worse.


                      China’s Communist Party Infiltrates American K-12 Schools

                      by Robert Williams
                      September 19, 2023 at 5:00 am

                      The Chinese Communist Party has, or has had, ties to 143 school districts in the United States, including 20 near military bases, through its “Confucius Classrooms.” This means that Chinese state propaganda is probably now pretty much all over American K-12 classrooms. (Image source: iStock)
                      The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has, or has had, ties to 143 school districts in the United States, including 20 near military bases, through its “Confucius Classrooms,” according to a recent report, “Little Red Classrooms: China’s Infiltration of American K-12 Schools” by Parents Defending Education (PDE), a grassroots organization.

                      Confucius Classrooms, are, purportedly, “centers that teach Chinese language and culture.”

                      According to the book Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World, by Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg:

                      Thought you might be interested. This continues at site

                    6. S. Meyer, I am under no illusions that the Chinese Communist party is evil. And why you would think I need schooling in their impact on the domestic affairs of foreign countries (including Canada & the US) by way of asymmetric warfare alludes me. Nevertheless, I was clearly not referring to that kind of warfare but to the kind that kills you outright. Evidently, you misapprehend my comments. I am neither a pacifist nor an interventionist warmonger. The point is that it’s NOT a binary choice. Rather, there is a third path: the ideal of armed neutrality aimed at building international trade and affable (or at least peaceful) relations with all countries. For, as the great libertarian thinker Randolph Bourne wrote when commenting on World War I: “[war is] the health of the State.” It is always a vehicle for glorification of the State and State power to the exclusion the lives and treasure of its citizens. If this third approach interests you, I recommend the 1999 book by another great libertarian thinker, John V. Denson, “The Costs of War: America’s Pyrrhic Victories” – a PDF of which is here .
                      BTW: my apologies for not understanding the “reply” mechanism on the site. It was not my intent to impugn your character. I know your not “leftish” but, to be fair, that kind of behavior is not exclusive to that mentality.

                    7. “And why you would think I need schooling in their impact on the domestic affairs of foreign countries ”

                      Jibber, is there a chip on your shoulder? Previously, you said, “Since it looks like you may have blocked me,” when I didn’t block you. That was a result of WP’s way of managing dialogue.

                      I sent the article because I received it concurrently to our discussion. I thought it might interest others, and was not concerned with your level of knowledge. A thank you would have been a better play. You can check the date on the article.

                      ” Evidently, you misapprehend my comments.”

                      This blog is open, so others are reading the comments as well. I assume and hope you realize that. What you might know, others may not.

                      “I am neither a pacifist nor an interventionist warmonger. The point is that it’s NOT a binary choice.”

                      If you reread my comments, you can see I fit into a similar camp. Where we might disagree is that historically, I believe, despite US mistakes, it handled its superpower status better than others.

                    8. PS: Yes, I was aware of the Hamilton/Ohlberg book and they’re not the only ones making these claims. Perhaps more concerning is the pernicious influence the Confucius Institute and its dozens of centers on collage campuses throughout the western world of which you are undoubtedly aware. They target the student diaspora in some pretty shocking ways. But the CI are pikers compared to so-called “CCP Police Stations” set up in most Western countries for the purpose of strong-arming (or worse) the Chinese diaspora. You probably know about them, but id not, Safeguard Defenders is a human rights grout out of Spain . Last year it blue the lid of this dirty little commie secret with two reports on these CCP police stations: “110 Overseas: Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild” and “Patrol and Persuade – A follow up on 110 Overseas investigation” .

                    9. JibberJabber,

                      You might not have been aware, but this web log is set up to only allow two hyperlinks per comment. I edited yours above so that it would be visible. If you would like for the readership to review more than two links, this can be accomplished through multiple comments having two or fewer links each. Note also that the max links is not limited to just http links it includes all other Schemes such as FTP and MAILTO.

                    10. Jibber, I think we have agreement. The Chinese are dangerous and getting ore dangerous. Aside from what you and I mentioned their activities toward other governments, and the possibility of their uses of their technology, 5G, etc., demonstrate that in every sphere the Chinese are trying to close in.

  14. WTF do you know about how the military runs, lawn boy?

    You’re the one stuck in the 80’s. It don’t run like that now.

    And the post office??? LMAO wow

  15. bah hum bug.

    The governments essential role, in either the grocery or media business, is to ensure a fair, open and ‘free-market’ place .. . and that no one can corner it (i.e. the marketplace.). That’s it. .. free-market mechanics like supply & demand will sort it out from there.

    *fyi. Justice Alito, of all people, just lifted the 5th’s ban on the WH, FBI and CDC from communicating discretely/secretively with media companies .. . until further notice.

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