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Big government destroyed Detroit, not the lack thereof

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

While Detroit is drowning from 50 years of suffocating liberal rules, regulations and corruption, modern-day liberals remain focused on their primary goals: revisionist history, crushing capitalism and escaping reality. "What's Going On" sang Marvin Gaye. Well, Detroit's bodacious automobile industry has been crumbling under the weight of crushing union obligations while refusing to adapt to changing economic realities following World War II. Matthew May puts it succinctly, "The industry that built the gleaming city on the Detroit River scoffed at the Japanese and their silly, little cars".

Democrats falsely offered hope exclaiming, "Reach Out I'll Be There" (Four Tops). So for the past half century, they were there. No Republican mayor since the 1940s. Democrat mayors so intoxicated with power that corruption was omnipresent, sucking the life out of a city once called "Paris of the Midwest". Powerful unions fostered a sense of entitled superiority for the workers while holding automakers hostage and simultaneously clinging to an unsustainable business model. Charles Krauthammer termed it a cozy symbiosis where "public sector unions gave money to elect the politicians who negotiated their contracts".

Racist mayor Coleman Young exhorted whites to "take their asses across 8 Mile (to the suburbs)" in the 1970s. Most white folks did, eventually followed by black folks. Today, Detroit's inner city is inhabited mostly by black folks who do not have the means to get away. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick bled the city dry in a way that would bring admiration from any infamous crime syndicate.

Despite millions spent on schools through LBJ's ill-fated, "Great Society" programs, Detroit students recently turned in the lowest math scores ever recorded in a proficiency test according to Bloomberg.com. More than a third of students fail to obtain a high school diploma. All this for a $14,000/year per student cost.

40 percent of street lights don't work. Two thirds of the parks are closed and emergency police response takes an hour. Unemployment is at 16.3 percent versus 7.6 percent nationwide. The population is now about 700,000 compared to a peak of 1.8 million in the 1950s. Violent crime is five times the national ave. The murder rate is 11 times that of New York City. $19 billion in obligations and the mayors' Motown theme song, "I Can't Help Myself" (Four Tops).

As Marvin Gaye laments, "Inner City Blues", the revisionist liberals claim to know the reasons for "What Has Become of the Brokenhearted" (Jimmy Ruffin). Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm blames Detroit's demise on "free trade". NY Times columnist Paul Krugman believes the city was just an innocent victim of market forces. MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry asserts it was due to what happens "when government is small enough to drown in your bathtub". She was not wearing her tampon earrings when she made the comment which might explain her inability to absorb reality or hear the truth.

Here's a reality check for Jennifer, Paul, Melissa and the rest of of the modern day liberal machine. Government destroyed Detroit and not the lack thereof. Corrupt mayors, powerful public sector unions, unfunded obligations, anti-business taxes, anti-business regulations, insanely high property taxes and a calcifying progressive mindset killed what once was one of the brightest cities on the planet. Yes, it was the city's own really bad decision making rather than free markets and limited government that put Detroit on the precipice of poverty and destruction. Charles Krauthammer is correct when he says that "it doesn't take a genius to see what happens when the entitlement state outgrows the economy upon which it rests". "Ain't to Proud to Beg" (Temptations) says bankrupt Detroit. Let the bailouts begin.

As we've seen for a century, at least, progressives never seem able to accept the mountains of empirical evidence or the vast lessons of history, the now motorless city only the most recent example. So, they will continue to distort reality in a "Ball of Confusion" (Temptations). They will continue to believe that liberal elitists are the only ones qualified to organize society and assure equality and social justice. The ideology that has caused the demise of civilizations from the Roman Empire to many present day European countries. Will it also be the "End of the Road" (Boyz II Men) for our glorious nation? Not if enough of us speak the truth and never, never, ever give up defending Lady Liberty. "I Second That Emotion" (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles).

Russ Wiles