SKATING ON THIN ICE Jake Hartford, host of the show “Awake With Jake,” heard on WCPT (820 am) radio on Saturdays mornings from 7:00-11:00 a.m. alerted me to a Sun Times editorial, (Boycott Wrigley Rink to Bring Down Prices) about the new skating rink that just opened adjacent to Wrigley Field. He called it the “most outrageous piece of thinking from an editorial board in a long time.” I totally agree with him.
The main thrust of the editorial dealt with how the rink charges $20 for adults and $16 for children to use the facility. The Sun Times felt the fees were too high because the rink is partially owned by the Park District so taxpayer money is subsidizing the rink. The editorial said, “The Park District justifies the high prices this way: Any rink profits will help subsidize its other nine rinks, many of which don't break even. Two rinks, in Calumet Park and West Lawn, lose so much money that they are at risk of being closed, Park District officials tell us.” I think the justification of the high fees are warranted exactly for the reasons the Park District states. If a Chicagoan wants to skate for free, there are nine rinks where they can go; if they choose the Wrigley Rink they have to pay for it. (As a comparison it costs $21 to skate at Wollman Rink in Central Park and $19 at Rockefeller Center in New York City.)
The editorial also said (in reference to a family of two adults and two children), “So who can afford to skate at $72 a pop? A quick look at the rink last Sunday tells the story: wealthy, white Chicagoans.” What a racist statement that is! It implies there are no wealthy Black Chicagoans (what about Oprah and Michael Jordan?) and that there are no poor white Chicagoans (look at the people standing on line at Catholic Charities for Tuesday dinners).
Jake brought up some more interesting points, “Do they know how much rentis being paid, if any? Or how much the insurance premiums are to satisfy the City as well as for protection if anyone gets hurt? Do they know what it cost to construct? Do they know what the employees are paid? Do they know how much is for security? Or how much it took to buy skates so that people would have skates to rent? Until they know the amounts, how can anyone say that something is overpriced?” Jake also noted that the editorial argued “that ALL Chicagoans deserve to experience a unique Chicago event is hogwash. Can everyone afford a trip to the top of the Willis Tower? How about those harbors? If everyone can't afford a boat, should we close the harbors? How many people couldn't afford the hot air balloon at Navy Pier this past summer? Should that be kept away for next year?” He concluded with, “If people wish to follow the Sun Times lead and boycott the rink, fine. Just more room for me to skate.” Karl Marx, in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program said “from each according to his ability to each according to their needs.” That statement summarizes the principle that, under a communist system, every person should contribute to society to the best of his or her ability and consume from society in proportion to his or her needs, regardless of how much he or she has contributed. While the Daley Planet we live in has its own set of laws, it is still governed under the Capitalist system— an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned It is based on the principle of individual rights and freedoms. So it is my right to spend $20 to go skating if I want to spend the money and your right not to go skating if you don’t want to spend $20. I checked and there are no soldiers stationed at the ice skating rink with guns that they are holding to people’s heads to force them to skate. At least not today.