Is the Chicago Tribune Worth $520 a Year?

That’s the annual price, according to a bulk mailing that arrived today.

Mailed December 16th, the letter from Don MacGregor, Director of Audience and Consumer Revenue, that my “readership is very important to us and we want to continue to bring Chicago Tribune to your home for many years to come.”

But, my “current pricing is about to expire.”

Starting January 28th, my “new rete will be $9.99 a week.”

And the good news?

“No action is required on your part.”


Is the Chicago Tribune Worth $520 a Year? — 11 Comments

  1. Absolutely NO!

    For the cost of $30.00 more a month, you can have your internet and 130 channels for your television.

  2. “Fukoku” WELL, WELL, WELL..

    She cam out of her cave to reply to this article.

    Sure hope you like your possessions Fukoku, because you have provided viable cause for legal action because of your false accusations of Bianchi, Scharff and others…PITY….

  3. You know that you can negotiate a better deal.

    Newspapers are dying to keep customers and if they think you are going to leave they will throw you a better deal.

  4. MERRY CHRISTMAS too you as well Duncan!

    In 7 hours I will be leaving and we will resume our battles after the New Year my friend upon my return.

    Until than, Sayonara!

  5. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has better investigative reporting.

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an entire section of their website labeled “Watchdog.”

    Every single newspaper in Illinois deserves an F for investigative reporting of state pensions.

    How can the Illinois General Assembly and Governors create new laws to hike TRS teacher/administrator pensions benefits in 38 of 40 years from 1971 – 2011, yet the State gets the majority of the blame for not fully funding the pension fund.

    Pension benefit hikes receives scan press coverage.

    Someday people will learn the total amount teachers and administrators have contributed to their pension fund.

    Versus the annual pension payout.

    You would be hard pressed to find a bigger ROI anywhere on earth.

    Who makes it all possible?


    And the practice continues.

    TRS ERO was renewed for 3 years in 2013.

    That’s Early Retirement Option.

    Because for some reason, teaches and administrators MUST be allowed to retire earlier, than their already early retirement.

    Those nice Illinois taxpayers.

  6. What else does the Tribune and all other Illinois newspaper do a lousy job reporting?

    Per pupil spending by public schools (preschool – high school).

    That amount never includes the aforementioned State contribution (on behalf of the school district) to the TRS pension fund.

    The Illinois Report Card does not include the State pension contribution in the per pupils spending figure either.

    The Illinois Report Card from the Illinois State Board of Education, the source for newspaper reporting of per pupil expenditures, also does not
    include either capital expenditures or long term debt.


    No pensions, buildings, and bonds in per pupil spending.

    Talk about fuzzy math.

    That certainly is new math.

    Try to get away with that in your accounting class.

    When is the last time you saw that information in a newspaper?

    Bottom line?

    You are spending more money on per pupil spending than you think.

    You are spending more money on public education than you think.

    Because they are not only playing kick-the-can and hide-and-seek but also continuing to roll a snowball downhill.

    Kick-the-can and hide-and-seek can temporarily but not permanently change the size of the snowball.

    The salary increases and benefit hikes that have been happening the last 40 years are starting to take a bigger toll.

    The pension and retiree healthcare benefits any teacher or administrator were eligible for at the beginning of their career, are much smaller than the pension and retiree healthcare benefits any teacher or administrator is eligible for at the end of their career.

    Thanks to the Illinois General Assembly and Governors passing new TRS laws 38 of 40 years from 1971 – 2011.
    Where is that story.

    New pension and retiree healthcare benefits in 38 of 40 years from 1971 – 2011.

    Furthermore, one absurd sentence in the Illinois State Constitution allows unlimited benefit hikes, but no matter how unaffordable the hikes become, no corrections.

    That’s what the unions are claiming they will sue about.
    One sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution in 1970.

    Where is that story?

    The best Christmas present ever for teachers and administrators.

    Ho ho ho new pension and retiree healthcare goody stocking stuffers.

    No one was quitting over lousy pensions or retiree healthcare.

    So why was this done?

    Because it could be done, and no one was paying attention.

    It was legal.

    The laws are worse than a lot of the illegal stuff.

    No one was reporting what was happening.

    Apparently those who knew what was happening, somehow benefited or stood to lose something by exposing the story.

    And what do you hear from teachers unions every single year.

    Public education under attack.

    Quite the opposite was occurring.

    Public education was attacking your wallet.

    As whacky as that sounds.

    You could have been using those benefit hike tax dollars to fund your IRA or 401K.

    Less for you, more for them.

    38 of 40 years.

    1971 – 2011.

    Over and over and over and over and over.

    Like a repeating decimal.

    Their quality of life goes up.

    Your quality of life goes down.

  7. Boy Mark, where were you in the mid 90’s when people were trying to hold district 47 in line, when they did not get the votes for all their increases, the Board President, Fran Johnson, came out on the court house steps and announced “I see split shifts coming” and they did put them in place, to hurt the families.

  8. Stories like that are invaluable.
    Those days will come back.
    No matter how well intentioned it’s important for school board members to understand how important it is to hold the line on costs and understand the ramifications of their spending.
    The days of budget battles are coming back because the cost increases of the past are unsustainable and the effectiveness of the spending is often not analyzed.
    Think of the sources of revenue for public schools.
    1. Local school boards approved current teacher and administrator salary and benefit increases resulting in increased property taxes.
    2. Legislators and Governors approved retiree teacher and administrator pension and healthcare benefit increases resulting in increased State income taxes.
    3. The Illinois State Board of Education had salary and benefit increases resulting in increased State income taxes.
    4. The Illinois State Capital Development Board and its predecessor provided grants to build and remodel schools.
    5. The US Department of Education and salary and benefit increases resulting in increased Federal income taxes.
    6. The US Department of Education expanding programs and legislation for low income, minority, and special needs (some warranted but who is analyzing how effectively all that money is being spent).
    7. Federal spending programs such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) resulting in increased Federal income taxes.
    And we could go on and on.
    The amounts are staggering.
    Increased spending has been spread across many taxpayers over several years and many different programs from many different sources.
    Increased spending is often kicked down the road in the form of bonds and back loaded bonds.
    The immediate impact of increased benefits is often hid in the form of unfunded liabilities for pensions and healthcare.
    Most school boards haven’t a clue the impact of there decisions on current and future taxpayers.
    The Illinois Association of School Boards does not educate them on this topic.
    School Board members don’t have the expertise or time to devote to overall school financing.
    The teacher unions are mobilized at the local, State, and Federal level to extract maximum possible dollars for the benefit of themselves and their members, ditto the local school Administrators, most of whom were previous members of the teachers union.
    The teacher unions and Administration have WAY more time, money, and expertise than school board members, and stand to personally profit whereas school board members, for better or worse, are unpaid volunteers.
    The whole ball of wax has taken on a life of its own.
    And it would be extremely helpful for the press to provide more critical coverage.

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