Walter E. Williams
Recommend this article

JoAnn Watson, Detroit city council member, said, "Our people in an overwhelming way supported the re-election of this president, and there ought to be a quid pro quo." In other words, President Obama should send the nearly bankrupted city of Detroit millions in taxpayer bailout money. But there's a painful lesson to be learned from decades of political hustling and counsel by intellectuals and urban experts.

In 1960, Detroit's population was 1.6 million. Blacks were 29 percent, and whites were 70 percent. Today, Detroit's population has fallen precipitously to 707,000, of which blacks are 84 percent and whites 8 percent. Much of the city's decline began with the election of Coleman Young, Detroit's first black mayor and mayor for five terms, who engaged in political favoritism to blacks and tax policies against higher income mostly white people. Young's successors, Dennis Archer and Kwame Kilpatrick, followed his Third World tyrant policies, but neither had his verbal vulgarity. Kilpatrick (2002-2008) went to jail and is on trial today on charges of corruption. Mayor David Bing is making an effort to revive Detroit. His problem is that he's not God.

Policies that ran whites and other more affluent people out of Detroit might have been Young's and his successors' strategy. After all, why not get rid of people who aren't going to vote for you anyway? The problem is that getting rid of these people left Detroit with a lower tax base, fewer jobs and fewer consumers. Fewer whites might be good for the careers of black politicians, but it's not in the best interests of ordinary blacks. Blacks have political control of Detroit, but the relevant question is whether some control of something is better than 100 percent control of nothing. By most measures, Detroit is one of the nation's most tragic cities, and it's mostly self-imposed.

Detroit topped Forbes magazine's 2010 list of America's Most Dangerous Cities. That year there were 345 homicides, but that's going to be topped with this year's 365 homicides so far. Most homicide victims in Detroit and elsewhere are black, and 95 percent of the time their murderers are black. But far more important to black leaders and white liberals than blacks murdering blacks are charges of police misconduct and racial profiling.

Recommend this article

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Walter Williams' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.