America: The Next Detroit?

Posted: Mar 28, 2012 12:01 AM
America: The Next Detroit?

Detroit, a once great city, is now an apocalyptic mess.

As the Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently noted, Detroit in 1950 was the wealthiest city in the country on a per capita income basis. It is now the second poorest major city in America.

Detroit used to be the fifth largest city in America, with a population of about two million. It is now the eighteenth largest city, with a population of about 700,000. Its crime rate, especially violent crime, is now stunningly high, as is the functional illiteracy rate: forty-seven percent of the adult population.

The downtown is no longer crowded with people. Buildings, many architecturally beautiful, are empty, decaying, or no longer there.

Contrast today’s Detroit, here,with the Detroit that put in a bid to hold the 1968 Olympics, here and here. It was then a city on the move up. No more.

A contributing factor to Detroit’s decline has been the liberal, progressive policies implemented over the past fifty or so years. As one commentator has explained: “Detroit . . . was going to be the ‘Model City’ of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, the shining example of what the ‘fairness’ of the welfare state can produce. Billions of dollars later, Detroit instead has become the model of everything that can go wrong when you hook people on the idea of something for nothing—a once-middle class city . . . is now a poverty-stricken city.”

Through these liberal policies, people have become more and more dependent on government, leading Detroit to become the “most liberal major city” in America, where liberal candidates receive close to 94% of the vote.

The cycle perpetuates: politicians are voted into office providing the illusion of hope, but whose policies only make people reliant on government. The reliant, growing in number each year, then vote for politicians who continue the same policies or variations thereof.

Indeed, as the Mackinac Center observed, over the past several decades Detroit has implemented the main economic, labor, and education policies of the liberal, progressive platform, which have, among other things, turned Detroit into a place with “a tax system that aggressively redistributes income from businesses and the wealthy to the poor and to government bureaucracies.”

Unfortunately, on a national scale, the current Administration in Washington and their progressive allies are pushing the same failed policies that have been implemented, tinkered with, and re-implemented during the past decades in Detroit. Those policies have not worked for Detroit. They will not work for America.

It may be half-time in America, as Clint Eastwood says, but if the country is going to win the second half, it needs to implement a new game plan.