Detroit’s Failure, a Product of Liberalism and Greed

The last thing Detroit needs is a bailout. What it needs is to sweep away a city charter that protects only bureaucrats, civil-service rules that straightjacket municipal departments, and obsolete union contracts. A bailout would just keep the dysfunction in place. Time to start over.”
– Bill Nojay, Former COO of Detroit’s Department of Transportation

Detroit, the former “Paris of the West” is now oozing blight, rust, decay, garbage, and union corruption. It is now a pathetic example of its former greatness, the city of the auto industry, envied around the world, the city of a thriving middle class.

At the height of its glory, Detroit was America’s fourth largest city with almost 2 million people. After decades of population flight, there are 700,000 people left. Police response to an emergency call is 58 minutes, street lights are cut in half, and the median home price is $9,000, with some homes worth as little as $500. It seems like a bargain if the city will ever be rebuilt. Its location is certainly strategic, with access to the Great Lakes. There are interests in the heavy rail industry and there are plans for a $25 million light rail.

The statistics are sad. Thirty percent of Detroit’s 140 square miles are vacant or deserted; 33,500 homes are unoccupied and 90,000 lots are vacant. Many homes have been bulldozed. If a lone home is occupied on an otherwise abandoned street, the residents are forced to move and the house is demolished. Sixty percent of children live in poverty. Homicide rose 79% in 2011. There is no chain supermarket left in the city.

Detroit is a classic example of failed obamunism and personal responsibility; it played out the union-controlled socialism to the bitter end and it lost the destructive game – eventually all socialists run out of other people’s money as Margaret Thatcher used to say. Detroit is now a picture of litter and filth with few suburbs left that take pride in their appearance. Pontiac and Flint are not far behind in their march towards insolvency.

There are 61 counties and municipalities currently in the U.S. who have filed for bankruptcy or will follow in the footsteps of Detroit, the largest municipality to fail in a string of more to come.

The administration’s Cap and Trade policies will de-industrialize our country, bankrupting so much of the coal industry that generates electricity, devastating businesses and individuals alike in the process, and causing more cities and counties to fail.

Many executive orders signed under every presidency since Bush Sr. (1992) implemented the United Nations Agenda 21. Through green zones, stacking people in high rise, mixed-use apartments in approved corridors, the Wildlands map, Smart Growth, Sustainability, environmentalism gone amuck which claims to save the planet from a manufactured global warming, will cause abject poverty in many other places.

There were many reasons why Detroit failed:
– union control and collective bargaining
– automatic union deductions funds; public unions block any meaningful reforms and help elect local officials who are sympathetic to unions and who in turn negotiate the union members’ salaries and benefits
– public employee unions corruption (pension abuse such as “spiking” pensions with excess overtime during the last year of employment; claiming disability in the last year before retirement; contracts with much earlier retirements than the private sector)
– nobody is terminated for incompetence if they belong to a union
– use of union dues to support Democrat coffers with or without employee approval
– non-stop Democrat control of the city since 1961
– out of control corruption
– citizens re-electing the same individuals who actually did jail time for their crimes
– lack of personal responsibility and work ethic
– job losses in the auto industry
– decades of population flight
– race riots in the late sixties and early seventies
– environmental and health warfare
– diminished tax base following the population exodus
– the failure of the federal government to protect our manufacturers
– the main stream media misinforming low information voters
– bank deregulation and capital flight
– closings of catholic schools in the 1970s
– racial tensions exacerbated by Coleman Young
– purposeful segregated areas in town by various black mayors
– lack of collection of property taxes (50% collection rate) and enforcement of non-payers
– distorted Christian values
– burdensome additional utility, sales, and property taxes extracted from the poorest of the poor instituted by Mayor Cavanaugh (an additional 3 percent)

Detroit is the most race-conscious city in America. Blacks have been told for so many years that white men are the reason for their economic plight therefore they blame white people for their problems. The culture of drug dealing and drug use dominate the inner-city. Single parent households have replaced fathers with the nanny state. Government welfare enabled women to procreate and survive while making fathers obsolete.

Children are prescribed Ritalin when it is not really necessary, adults are over-prescribed anti-depressants, and their diets are poor. Is it any surprise that people are left confused and unable to make proper decisions, especially when they are lied to by the MSM?

The two-thirds majority in Congress carries the blame for voting for NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, and bank deregulation, for enabling the manufacturing exodus to other countries in search for cheaper labor. Over-demanding union contracts shipped more jobs to right to work states, diluting the tax base even more.

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico, and U.S., passed in January 1, 1994, and CAFTA, Central America Free Trade Agreement, an extension of NAFTA, passed through U.S. House of Representatives by one vote in the middle of the night and signed by Congress on July 27, 2005, “caused the race to the bottom in labor.”

In the Chapter 9 bankruptcy court documents, bankruptcy which was allowed to proceed, half of the city’s liabilities are in pension plans and retiree health care costs. These benefits were negotiated by unions on behalf of their constituents.

Steven Rattner of the New York Times argues that we have to bail out Detroit and tries to make the case that the “700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs, and eventually Congress decided to help them. America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility.”

I happen to disagree because Hurricane Sandy was a sudden act of nature, totally out of anybody’s control, whereas Detroit’s problems were exclusively man-made over many decades of corrupt mismanagement. Many issues could have been addressed and avoided at the voting booth and through personal responsibility.

He further argues that the “shared sacrifice by creditors, workers, and other stakeholders” in the General Motor and Chrysler auto “rescue” should be maintained in rescuing Detroit. I would argue that he is comparing apples and oranges.

First, the auto rescue was not a “shared sacrifice,” it was a forced government reimbursement of stockholders of 29 cents on the dollar to the benefit of union interests, setting aside capitalist contract law and the prior claim of bondholders.

Second, the rest of the country should not have to “sacrifice” for the irresponsible behavior of Detroit unions, union members, politicians, mayors, and the lack of responsibility of Detroit citizens at the ballot box who thought that it was a good idea to keep in power the same corrupt Democrats since 1961.

Americans were not and are not in favor of bailing out General Motors, which is now investing more taxpayer dollars into job creation, factories, ventures, research, and dealerships in China rather than the U.S., and Chrysler, which is now an Italian-controlled corporation. Likewise, the majority of hard-working Americans are not in favor of bailing out Detroit nor California.

Further reading:
Who Killed Detroit City and Why? By Dave Hodges, Activist Post
We Have to Step In and Save Detroit, Steven Rattner, The New York Times
The Public Union vs. the Public (Philip Howard, founder of Common Good)

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