In Chicago, the John Galt fan clubs learn there is such a thing as a free lunch... Billionaires' Babies' Breakfasts -- and lunches -- are now free thanks to Barbara Byrd Bennett's Bullshit

Since one of the plutocrats let another cat out of the bag when he compared the current wave of anger and criticism at the privileges of the plutocracy to Nazism, some of us in Chicago have been waiting for the latest atrocity on behalf of privilege. Chicago usually leads that nation in such. But even some of the plutocracy's more vociferous critics were stunned when Chicago Public Schools announced that there is such thing as a free lunch -- even for the city's richest public school children.

Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett speaks, while her overseers watches over her shoulder.And so, on July 8, 2014, Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Barbara Byrd Bennett announced (without a press conference) that for the 2014 - 2015 school year ALL children attending Chicago public schools would get free breakfasts and lunches. Even though not all children attending Chicago's public schools are poor, and therefore, under federal guidelines, eligible for free and reduced lunch. The ostensible reason for the shift is that most children attending Chicago's public schools are eligible for free and reduced lunches, so why not make it "all"?

Well, maybe someone should ask some of those Hedge Fund people who always rattle on about how "There is no such things as a free lunch?" That is, except when they are dodging their own income taxes by paying only the federal capital gains and dividend tax -- which never goes above 15 percent -- on the money they "earn" while the rest of us pay up to the highest brackets because all of our earnings are wages.

Well, that's another story for another day, one of those days when everyone begins out in Hedge Fund land by chanting "Who is John Galt?" while fantasizing over a photograph of Ayn Rand...

Of course, the free lunch announcement was made in the usual CPS way -- without a press conference. Also, there was "no media availability." That policy makes certain that reporters can't ask anyone in power at a public forum about the absurdity of serving free lunches to the children of billionaires.

Unless the CPS smokescreen called the "Office of Communications" lets someone through.

Er... Billionaires' children in Chicago's public schools?

Well, yes.

Contrary to some perceptions, there are children of billionaires (and many children of millionaires) in Chicago's real public schools. Those schools may be clustered in only a couple of places (mostly north) but they do exist. Ask about Ogden. Or Payton. Or even out of the edge of the "Bungalow Belt" Northside College Prep. Not all rich people spend their money at Latin, Francis Parker, and the University of Chicago Lab school. And not all move to Winnetka to send the kids of New Trier.

There were least two billionaire children in the past decade that we've known of. One of those became famous because her billionaire Daddy, Bruce Rauner, bought the space for her at the prestigious Walter Payton College Prep High School. Payton is on the edge of Chicago's Gold Coast. Bruce Rauner's daughter didn't "pass" the test to get in, but got in anyway, as the press reported. Later, he made a serious donation to the school.

The other billionaire child, who kept it more of a secret, had attended Payton a few years before the Rauner child. But she attended under her father's name (Pucker) rather than her mother's (Pritzker) and the school kept it carefully close.

There is a good reason for that. Security has to be serious at all Chicago schools, public or other. But when the child is worth a billion dollars when the trusts are settled, sleep overs require special security, too, and not the kinds of guys in the blue jeans at Jerry Springer shows. Chicago is, after all, the town where lots of gunplay and serious bad people abound, and not only over July 4, 2014 weekend. It's the kind of town where, contrary to Hollywood's "Chicagoland" fantasy, a citizen can buy a homicide for a few hundred bucks. So not all security has to be deployed to keep irate parents from protesting during school board meetings, or to keep reporters away from Latin King schools down near the (possible) future site of the Obama Presidential Library.

Before Bruce Rauner was running for governor and investigative reporters discovered that he had made a major donation to Walter Payton after administrators decided that his daughter could go there, Abigail (Pritzker) Pucker was a student at Payton. She did well, and then went on to Columbia University. And despite local legends, most of the children attending Payton (and dozens of other Chicago public schools serving the city's more affluent communities) are not eligible for free and reduced breakfasts and lunches. But if Barbara Byrd Bennett has her way in September 2014, they will all be getting them, need or no need.

One of the things the billionaires have been complaining about is that they don't get "back" their fair share of all the money they are reluctantly paying in taxes.


July 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM

By: Margaret Wilson

Rich Cats

I think that the rich cats have forgotten that being fair doesn't mean treated everyone the same.

July 11, 2014 at 8:42 AM

By: George N. Schmidt, Editor

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