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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Pandemic has become excuse for everything

By Ray Hanania

COVID-19 has not only threatened our health and well-being, the pandemic has also become the biggest excuse for everything.

We can deal with the threats to health: getting vaccinations, wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing, but apparently we are helpless to prevent rising costs, growing social dependency and getting people back to work.

Worse is the virus is being used an excuse to ignore the needs of senior citizens.

RayHanania 1

Ray Hanania

Every industry is in a mess, and the cause isn’t their fault but the fault of the pandemic.

The U.S. Postal Service is a mess. Mail is lost or taking months to get delivered. Complain about it and they say, “It’s because of coronavirus.”

Online purchases are taking months, instead of days, to get delivered.

Prices on everything have skyrocketed. Gasoline costs. Repair costs. Food prices.

Taxes at every level — property, retail, fees and fines — are going up because the cost of government is going up. The virus is taking its toll there, too, and in many areas taxpayers are getting fewer services. It’s one reason why do-nothing politicians like Mayor Lori Lightfoot are imposing speed cameras on cars going six miles over the speed limit.

All the utility companies are raising prices, from water to electricity to heating oil. Services like Xfinity/Comcast Cable are having all kinds of issues. When you call, they say they don’t have enough employees, or many are working from home, or “It will take time.”

Every day, we are seeing our lives change. People are telling us “We can’t do this” or “We can’t do that.”

All those reports about the congestion of products coming into the country makes no sense. Suddenly, there are not enough people to unload ships. When ships are unloaded, there are no truckers to drive the products to their retail destinations.

Bottlenecks at our ports are fueling price gouging, which has become an accepted practice at almost every retail and grocery store and business. No one is doing anything about price gouging.

The political grapevine

Another big-name candidate who recently ran will announce his intention to enter the Republican primary for the 6th Congressional District.

The candidate comes out of the fractured organization structure of Mayor Keith Pekau. I broke the exclusive story that Pekau was going to run a week before everyone else, provoking Pekau to go ballistic. This challenger has broader support among Republicans and some Democrats, and has the skills to work with other regional and state leaders to get the funding Pekau lost because he can’t work with anyone. Pekau’s biggest talent is turning friends into enemies. He has surrounded himself with a gaggle of has-beens, and that base is steadily eroding.

Pekau’s decision to run for Congress pretty much explains the motivation that was behind his “tough words” with Governor JB Pritzker. Now we know why Orland Park filed lawsuits against Pritzker: to give Pekau campaign name recognition.

Two other Republican candidates have tossed their names into the race: Justin Burau, 35, a real estate broker from Winfield, and Niki Conforti, 58, an energy consultant from Glen Ellyn.

The turmoil in the race puts a dark shadow over the future of a member of Pekau’s shrinking circle of sycophants, Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison. Morrison barely won re-election in 2018, nearly losing to a weak, unknown challenger. Morrison shares Pekau’s talent for undermining his own base.

Talking about Pritzker, popular former State Senator Kirk Dillard is weighing the possibility of running for governor. Pritzker is unpopular with the state’s Democratic core base while Dillard, a centrist Republican, worked well with Republicans and Democrats alike.

Talk about Pritzker

Pritzker asserts he doesn’t need approval from the Illinois House or State Senate to tap into nearly $4 billion in federal pandemic relief funds from President Joe Biden. Biden is allocating funding based on his “political need.” Who’s more needy than constituencies in the Democratic inner cities?

Pritzker is circumventing the legislature to block their input, undermining accountability. The funds come from taxpayers who are being forced to pay for all the COVID-related social services, giveaways and subsidies for “the poor.” Make no mistake about it, “the poor” have increased dramatically in size not because there are no jobs but because federal COVID-19 money makes it easier to stay home and not work. So what if they get less money? They have fewer bills.

Check out Ray Hanania’s columns and political podcasts at hanania.com.

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