If you want to see America’s future, look to Detroit. Detroit’s unhappy state of affairs presents a microcosmic view of where America is headed. The liberal media, when it covers the Detroit debacle at all, views the situation as a financial disaster, one that could have been prevented and can still be solved by more government spending. However, an objective observer of Detroit’s current condition will reject the more-government-spending solution out of hand. Trying to solve Detroit’s problems by spending more federal dollars would be akin to trying to fill a bottomless pit by throwing dollar bills down it.
Yes, Detroit has financial problems, big ones. But these financial problems are just symptoms of a much larger problem. Detroit is financially bankrupt because it is morally bankrupt. Corrupt and city officials—all Democrats—have driven the city into financial and moral bankruptcy. Here is what John Stossel has to say about Detroit’s problems: “All of Detroit’s mayors since 1962 were Democrats who were eager to micromanage. And spend. Detroit has the only utility tax in Michigan, and its income tax is the third-highest of any big city in America (only Philadelphia and Louisville take more, and they aren’t doing great either)…Detroit in 2011 had around twice as many municipal employees per capita as cities with comparable populations.”
Stossel goes on to list the economic anchors that brought Detroit down and are still holding it back from making a recovery: mismanaged industries, government meddling, welfare, unsustainable public-sector pensions, a bloated workforce, and bureaucratic labor unions. Detroit has an astounding 47 different labor unions. To this he could have added city government corruption, a high crime rate, gangs, drugs, and white flight. It is not just that city officials transformed Detroit into a hyper-expensive place to live, they were complicit in the city becoming a dangerous place to live. Consequently, those who had the financial resources to do so packed up and vacated, leaving behind a population long on welfare, crime, gangs, and drugs but short on paying taxes, obeying the law, creating jobs, and improving the quality of life.
What is truly interesting about Detroit’s local government officials is that they expect to continue doing things in the same way while hoping to achieve a different result. What they do not understand or—more likely—refuse to acknowledge is that it makes no sense to spend even one dime on Detroit until the city fathers do the hard work of cleaning up corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, crime, gangs, and drugs. Frankly, what Detroit needs is a moral not a financial stimulus program. Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the President can provide that.
Perhaps the one factor that contributed most to Detroit’s decline was the fact that clear-minded, unbiased people who could have helped prevent the city’s on-going deterioration were not allowed to question, criticize, or even make recommendations. To question Detroit’s city fathers was to be labeled a racist. In the words of Coleman Young, former mayor of Detroit, “To attack Detroit is to attack black.” What an absurd statement. Follow Mr. Young’s statement to its logical conclusion and it is not complimentary to black Americans.
If you don’t think that the solution to Detroit’s many problems is moral rather than financial, consider the words of journalist Frosty Woolridge who worked in Detroit from the mid-1970’s to 1990: “I watched it descend into the abyss of crime, debauchery, gunplay, drugs, school truancy, car-jacking, gangs, and human depravity. I watched entire city blocks burned out. I watched graffiti explode on buildings, cars, trucks, buses and school yards. Trash everywhere! Mayor Coleman Young, perhaps the most corrupt mayor in America (outside of Richard Daley n Chicago) rode Detroit down to its knees…He set the benchmark for cronyism, incompetence, and arrogance.” These are the words of a Detroit resident who was there and watched the deterioration happen. I rest my case.