Chicago ranked #1 city in the world to live in for second year in a row https://t.co/FHQ4t6GNwO
— Austan Goolsbee (@Austan_Goolsbee) January 31, 2018
But wait, isn’t Chicago a fiscal mess? How about the state of Illinois? It remains the case that living in Chicago is still remarkably affordable, and many of the neighborhoods have wonderful food, buildings, and offer a relatively safe (not always) and walkable environment. You may even hope to find a parking spot.
I would put it this way: there are many ways to impose a Georgist land tax, fiscal insolvency being one of them. Very wealthy people and institutions know that if they relocate to Chicago, they will be required to ante up for the final bill. And so they stay away. For a city of its size and import, Chicago just doesn’t have that many billionaires, nor do I think a rational billionaire should consider moving there.
In other words, there is a pending wealth tax. Either directly or indirectly, this will place fiscal burdens on Chicago land, the immobile factor. And this keeps down rents in Chicago now.
Overall, I do not recommend this fiscal course of action, and Chicago may well become a worse city due to eventual insolvency at the local and state levels. Still, if you are wondering how it is that Chicago is so affordable — and wonderful — right now, this is part of the answer.
I also should note that not every neighborhood in Chicago benefits from this equilibrium, as in some parts gentrification is difficult to come by.