It just comes at the expense of the American taxpayer.
The Obama Presidential Center has already been controversial with its plans to renovate the area in and around the historic Jackson Park in Chicago. Of note, Jackson Park has been on the federal National Register of Historic Places since 1972 and some neighbors don’t want things changed that much.
The construction for the Obama Center just recently began tearing down trees and altering the park, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, despite a promise from the Obama Foundation that no major changes would take place until all legal hurdles had been cleared (which, spoiler alert, they haven’t been).
But the Obama Center gets a pass on breaking that particular promise because of a technicality. Its organizers only promised to hold off on work on the 19.3 acres set aside for the Obama Center itself. Work to renovate the surrounding areas to accommodate the center — such as building a new running track to replace one that is being displaced by the new center — is fair game, apparently.
That being said, the Obama Center should unequivocally not get a pass for the ridiculous financial squeeze the project is putting on the American taxpayer.
The Obama Center was originally pitched to be solely funded with private money. Obama was rightfully applauded for that decision.
About that… According to The Wall Street Journal, the Obama Center is anything but privately funded.
In fact, it’ll siphon a tidy $174 million at minimum from Illinois taxpayers for roadway and transit reconfigurations.
Lest you think this problem is localized to Illinois, it’s not. It’s typical for the federal government to reimburse up to 80 percent on that type of spending. In fact, Illinois officials confirmed to the WSJ that a cool $139 million from Washington is a simple request away.
Somehow making matters even worse, the Obama Center, for intents and purposes, seems like a glorified vanity project.
Unlike previous presidential libraries or similar projects, the Obama Center will not be run by the National Archives and Records Administration. Obama’s presidential archives and records won’t even be housed there.
Instead, the Obama Foundation will be running the Obama Center. The entire thing seems like simply a way for the Obama Foundation to groom and pump out young political leaders modeled after the 44th president.
I’ve been saving the most insulting thing for last. The Obama Center could’ve had some semblance of a redeeming factor if it were paying back the city in actual currency, but …
You can obviously see where this is going.
The Obama Center paid the city of Chicago a massive one-time payment of $1 for “rent.” And no, that’s not a typo.
That 19.3 acreage is being given to the Obama Center for less than the price of a Spicy McChicken sandwich.
American taxpayers are picking up the tab.
If that’s not spitting in the face of every hard-working American, nothing is.