The story methodically dissected a pet Barack Obama policy initiativeâ€”giving private developers government breaks to develop low-income housingâ€”and found it worked disastrously for residents in Barack's own state senate district. But the initiative worked famously for Obama's circle of friends/fundraisers. As developers got rich and allowed properties to deteriorate, Obama did nothing, allowing his rich friends to prosper and fund his political campaigns and his poor constituents to pound sand.
As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers. As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies. And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.
But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies - including several hundred in Obama's former district - deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.
Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.
The story is extremely powerful because it shows how a liberal policy that Obama espouses works exactly the opposite of its intent: The powerful get the spoils and the poor get the shaft. And it shows that Obama, our man of great "judgment," was either asleep at the switch or corrupt.
And, Obama wants to expand the concept if he becomes president. Even his friends shudder.
Jamie Kalven, a longtime Chicago housing activist, put it this way: "I hope there is not much predictive value in his history and in his involvement with that community."
Every person interested in this race needs to read this story.