So Detroit is back in the news, much as most columnists and pundits said it would back a few years ago when its city manager tried to warn everyone that it was virtually insolvent.
Most knew that the money had run out years ago, along with most of the residents, but Detroit just kept on spending expecting some sort federal bailout. One city councilwoman wag suggested that Detroit’s support of Obama’s 2012 reelection bid was ‘quid pro quo’ for a bailout of some kind. Instead all they got was a shrug of the shoulders by Veep Biden and a ‘sorry Charlie’.
Yet, these dunderheads keep on supporting this sort of leadership.
Many blame the unions, more still blame the concept of growth by taxation and redistribution as the culprit, but I have yet to see anyone blame the real problem in all of this.
The people of Detroit.
While it true to a large extent the problems in Detroit stemmed from the automotive industry leaving the region 15-20 years ago, Detroit has had from that time until now to fix the problem. Little was done however, as pensioners sought to install leaders that continued to provide benefits to them in excess of what any reasonable person thought prudent. In fact some years ago, the Detroit teachers union went on strike for more pay – and won—while the city’s kids have a 47% illiteracy rate.
The pressure to increase the pay came not from the union (an illegal union in the city BTW) but from the people of Detroit who did not demand better schools, but instead chose to pay the incompetent teachers more. Detroit residents put up with rampant corruption and continued to support Kwame Kilpatrick despite his obvious corruption and spendthrift ways. When Joe Biden went to Detroit in 2011 the crowd cheered on as he demanded more from government and less of the people, virtually ensuring its demise.
Even Mitt Romney with his cooler head and more pragmatic understanding of the situation in Michigan tolled the warning bells during the election, yet was shouted down in the Presidential debate. “We saved Detroit!” screamed Barack Obama, when anyone who drove for five minutes down Woodward Boulevard knew otherwise, or at least should have known. Where were the people of Detroit then? With the focus on their plight at the eleventh hour in the election they might have saved their city even then.
They were too busy plastering “Change” bumper stickers on the boarded up stores, and the President’s picture on burned out houses.
The more sensible people got out of the city years ago, abandoning all hope of any salvation that Detroit might have had. Row upon row of houses lay empty as its former residents simply packed up to cities that offered more hope, smart leadership and a chance to start again before they grew old in a city when half the streetlights don’t work and a call to 911 leaves you on hold.
Worse still, the people of Detroit are now not mad at leadership or in the ideology that brought them to ruin, but at the Republicans and the stodgy old notion that you should pay people only what they are worth and only with money that you have, instead of mortgaging the future.
They are demanding more bailouts, while the unions sue for pensions and entitlements that the city simply does not have. They claim that Detroit managers are breaking the law by cutting services and pensions. What the union leaders fail to understand that it doesn’t matter if they are breaking the law—the money just isn’t there. You can’t get blood from the proverbial stone.
Detroit is a city killed by its own death wish of entitlements and fueled by a complacent government that failed to understand a cardinal rule of human nature: the path of easiest resistance is often the path people willingly travel even if it leads to the gates of hell.