Opinion

Look to Detroit & You’ll See Where Obama’s Policies Will Take Us

from Real Clear Politics –

If you’d like to get a glimpse of what America would look like if President Barack Obama got his way on everything, take a good look at Detroit.

In 1950, Detroit was America’s fifth-largest city, with a population of 1.84 million. Median household income was higher than in any other city. So was the percentage of people who owned their own homes. Detroit was then arguably the best big city in which to live.

Today, Detroit leads Forbes magazine’s list of “most miserable cities.” It’s the fourth-worst run, according to Money magazine. It’s second in violent crime, third in murders. Nearly half of Detroiters of working age are unemployed.

The population of Detroit has fallen by more than half, to 706,585. It’s now the size it was in 1910. Median household income is barely half the U.S. average ($27,862 vs. $51,413). The average price of a house in Detroit is just $16,800, by far the lowest in the country.

There are a couple of smaller cities which, arguably, are in even worse shape. But no city has fallen so far, so fast.

Some decline was inevitable because the world of 1950 was uniquely beneficial to Detroit. The most important industry at that time was the automobile industry, and because Europe and Japan were still rebuilding from the devastation of World War II, Detroit had a virtual monopoly. Detroit had been the heart of the “arsenal of democracy” and had a more skilled labor force than any other city on the planet.

The U.S. auto industry tumbled from its lofty perch in the 1970s, in part because by then Europe and Japan could offer serious competition. The Arab oil embargo after the 1973 Yom Kippur War sparked for the first time the interest of Americans in smaller cars, which the Germans and Japanese were building, but Detroit was not.

But most wounds were self-inflicted. Cars built by GM, Ford, Chrysler and American Motors cost more and were less reliable than cars built in Germany and Japan. Chiefly responsible were the contracts won by the United Auto Workers, then America’s most powerful union. It wasn’t so much the lavish pay and benefits as the featherbedding work rules which guaranteed cars built in Michigan would cost more and break down more often than cars built elsewhere.

The auto industry has bounced back some. Several Ford and GM sedans are now rated as more reliable than the imports with which they compete. But Detroit’s decline has accelerated. That’s because for half a century, Detroit has been governed by the policies President Obama advocates. (Detroit’s last Republican mayor was Louis Miriani, who left office in 1962.)

The problem is that liberals judge policies on the basis of what is promised, not on what is delivered. That’s because liberalism in practice means:

• A large and expensive public work force but deteriorating public services. Detroit in 2011 had 12,900 city employees, one for every 55 residents. Of the cities closest to Detroit in population, Columbus, Ohio, had one city employee for every 95 residents; Charlotte, N.C., had one for every 109; Fort Worth had one for every 118 residents.

Schools stink, buses are late and infrastructure deteriorates because Democratic politicians depend on public employee unions for votes and campaign contributions. So they hire as many public employees as they can, overpay them and don’t require them to do much.

• High taxes. Despite an average home price barely more than a tenth that of the next lowest city, Detroit has the highest property taxes in the country, according to a 2011 study. When all city levies are included, Detroit had the ninth-highest taxes. Because median income is so low, the tax burden on Detroiters is heavier than these data indicate.

High property taxes have spurred tax evasion on a mammoth scale — half of Detroiters don’t pay their property tax bills — and flight to the suburbs.

• Massive debt. Detroit’s long- term debt is $14 billion, equivalent to nearly a third of what the city collects in taxes. Detroit’s finances are in such bad shape that last week Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed an emergency manager to restructure them.

Democrats emphasize redistribution of wealth. Before wealth can be redistributed, it must be created. Liberal policies destroy wealth. Those who suffer most are precisely those Democrats say they’re helping. In the Detroit of 1950 — when no city in the world was creating more wealth — the poor and the middle class were far better off.

 

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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68 Comments on "Look to Detroit & You’ll See Where Obama’s Policies Will Take Us"

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cat
3 years 6 months ago

is this maggie milstein?

David
3 years 6 months ago

Trucker Mike, what are you smoking?

The earth has so much oil and resources available especially here in the US and Alaska, South Dakota, Colorado Wyoming, Canada…it’s just that libs like you won’t go after it because you believe in this hoax about climate change.

Detroit, and all the great cities destroyed by democrats would be revived if we could employ an aggresive but safe energy plan. And it can be done that is kind to the environment. Look how democrats are destroying California. It is on the brink of bankruptcy.. Kinda like the federal government.

Trucker Mark
3 years 6 months ago
This is my 2nd post on this site, let’s see if it gets erased just like my first post did? If liberals did that, you would accuse them of censorship or worse! I am age 56, born in 1957, so doesn’t what I have to say count? Since 99% of Detroit’s decline occurred before President Obama took office, in fact quite a bit of it occurred back when Eisenhower was President, and quite a bit more when Reagan and Bush Sr were in office too, how can you blame our current President? Did you know that the unemployment in the city was 29% when GW left office but is only 9% now? I would call that somewhat of a recovery myself. Yes, we had all better get used to what has happened to Detroit just as long as we keep allowing our industries to flee to the cheapest possible place… Read more »
Prorkba
3 years 6 months ago

My vote is that this post be deleted, too. What tripe! There will be no collapse because of resource-depletion. There will be a collapse because of policies like those that killed Detroit, policies that Obama would stand behind, which is what the author was saying. I don’t know which part of that you didn’t get.

michael
1 year 4 months ago

What? Obama did in Detroit? The author contributes to the bullshit right wing white noise passed off as fact. Lying bastard.

Trucker Mark
3 years 6 months ago
Since Detroit had a Republican Mayor for all but two years between 1933 and 1962, how could five different car companies have gone bankrupt in Detroit when Ike was President? Hudson, Kaiser, Nash, and Packard all went under, and while Studebaker barely survived they had to close their Detroit plants too. The deaths of these companies also killed a number of suppliers too, including Continental Engine. This was well before all of the environmental protection law signed by Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush Sr that really killed Detroit. In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s blatant racism was a huge problem in Detroit, and White flight was too, which became much worse after the 1967 Riots and the 1972 cross-district school desegregation plan authored by Judge Roth, which saw Detroit’s outermost suburbs well beyond the reach of the Judge’s order grow immensely. By the 1960s there was almost no modernization of… Read more »
Peper
3 years 6 months ago
It seems that you have missed the point. Detroit failed to manage its resources when all the issues that happened to Detroit. These same issues happen to many other cities around the U.S.. The point of the artical is not about Obama as much as it about the policies that he and other progressives belive in, that is big government is better. However Detroits fate will be the America’s fate if we continue to spend more then we take in. If you look at the cities and states that have made changes to the their ever changing surroundings, they are growing those that have had poor leadership are not. You need to remember one very important fact (A governmant that gives you all that you want can also take all that you have.) There are many issue that business has to take ownership of but I see no difference between… Read more »
Prorkba
3 years 6 months ago

I blame progressive socialists. I don’t care which party flag they fly under, Democrat or Republican.

Businesses come and go. It’s the nature of things. Free market principles don’t guarantee a business will survive. All capitalism guarantees is that the chance will be there to try.

One thing is for certain, all your talk about Nixon and Ike and Nashs and Packards means nothing when it comes to today’s Detroit. The throat of that city has been under the boot of progressive socialist democrats, like obama, and progressive socialist unions for decades. The toll it has taken can be seen in the streets of Detroit, its diminishing population, its bankruptcy.

But, back to the point, which you seem to enjoy drifting from, the city suffers from policies that your president obama would agree with, and that’s what the author was saying.

PaulE
3 years 6 months ago

Well said Prorkba. The article is about policies, not Obama. The fact that Obama endorses many, if not all, of the failed policies that were instituted over decades in the city, that eventually led to Detroit’s collapse is the only important Obama centric item of note. The rest of the article is centered on bad management decisions of city resources for political gain. I agree the whole resource depletion argument has already been debunked.

Trucker Mark
3 years 6 months ago
Really, considering that 99% of Detroit’s decline occurred from 1945 to 2009, none of it is Obama’s fault! The city had a population of 1.95 million people in 1950, and just during the 1950s five different major Detroit automakers plus Briggs Body and Continental Engine closed their doors, before President Obama was even born. What killed Detroit, Cleveland, and Youngstown since 1970? The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and NEPA were all signed into law by President Nixon, a ruinous mining reclamation act was signed into law by President Carter, and both the Superfund law and the Acid Rain Act were signed into law by President Reagan, all of which substantially raised the cost of doing business in Detroit, Cleveland, and Youngstown. Finally it got to be cheaper to lobby Republican Congressmen to change trade policy, which was done before Obama was even elected to the US Senate.… Read more »
PeggyLynn
3 years 6 months ago

I see this top layer of our present WH Administration as something different now. It is not Socialist but becoming a Marxist Administration. Just wait til we have no “Rights to bare Arms”!

Carl R
3 years 6 months ago

Even the Wall Street Journal recently published a column that stated that our esteemed leader is deliberately leading us down the obviously unsestainable economic path in order to create a maximum crisis, so that the established order can be demonstrated not to work, and a different political system put in its place. Rahm Emanuel: Let no crisis go to waste, in so many words. The press is going along with it even though there will be no free press then. The people are going along with it even though there will be no free people then. The politicians are going along with it although there will be no need for politicians then. America, wake up!

KarenFaye
3 years 6 months ago

Detroit is the tip of the iceberg – and there will be more cities in dire straits soon if the entitlement society isn’t reigned in. Over 100 $billion in welfare and foodstamps will break this nation – but Obama is hellbent to have more and more dependency on the government – whether it’s whites, blacks, Hispanics or muslims…… he wants us all standing before him with our hands out. Wake up, people – before it’s too late!

David A.
3 years 6 months ago

As a black conservative,i understood early in my life ,that if a preacher in the church only preaches to his choir to receive Amens!!!!!!! he will never grow his church!!!!!!

billy foe
3 years 6 months ago

I lived in suburb of detroit in 1958 i saw it when it started down hill, the sorry white folks did not go vote , there for the black folks voted in for mayor Colman young, the rest is history

David A.
3 years 6 months ago

Remember changes in the cities only happen when the marketeers of fear told you to move out.Remember changes took place when too many of you moved out!!!!!! We need missionaries then and now!!!!!!!!!!

Horatio
3 years 6 months ago
I have been observing the decline of the sensibility of the american white, christian adult for the past few years with a great deal of dissatisfaction. I cannot see how this depolrable condition that we now are faced with, not ony in Detroit, but countrywide could have come to pass. And yet I can…It is a matter of too much of evrything that comes easy for too long. I am part of the ‘greatest generation’ and volunteered to servie my country, but I am sorry to say that we didn’t do a very good job of raising and overseeing future generations, otherwise we would not be here. HOWEVER, when we see that there is an effort to ‘fight back’ such as in Detroit, I am encouraged. Beyond that, as a white man, I believe that it wil take a great conservative leader of color to right this condition. We whites… Read more »
norems
3 years 6 months ago
Why is a conservative person of color necessary, why can’t it be a conservative white person, not that there would be anything wrong with having a conservative person of color, just unusual. I believe the answer is that you need a conservative person speaking the truth coming out of the democratic party. Not that I believe the republicans are any better than anyone else. What I do believe is that republicans are budget aware, they hold, a balanced budget at their core. The democrats are totally non commital when it comes to the budget, since the current admin has been in office they have not put our a budget in four years. Finally, they put one out, with no balancing in the future. The reason why the democrats are not commited to a budget, is in order to get fiscally responsibility you have to tell some groups NO ! This… Read more »
David A.
3 years 6 months ago

My people have a tendency to only vote base on their past.The past becomes a reminder of their future crouch in fear and suspicion!!!!!!!

Chuck
3 years 6 months ago
Finally, I can apologize to someone and it’s you, Horatio. You are the that member of the Greatest Generation who I have chose to say that I truly appreciate what you all gave, not just through the war but also the Great Depression. You were called upon twice to make sacrifices and I for one am happy to see that you have lived to reap your reward. My father was lucky that he died before this massive decline. He would have been devastated. By the Boomers have made a mess of it and mucked it all up by looking for the easy way. I had a short foray into liberalism but saw the futility of that sort of thinking after 7 years or so. It just didn’t add up. I’m not in good health at age 62 and pray that I leave this world before we become like the Soviet… Read more »
deb
3 years 6 months ago

Horatio and Chuck…your comment’s are to be commended! Thank’s to both of you!

Jay A.
3 years 6 months ago

Thanks for telling the truth, I totally agree with your views. As a small business owner it gets harder to find quality help starting out. The mindset is let uncle sugar take care and furnish my every need.

Carl R
3 years 6 months ago

Don’t look for a new “Savior”. They typically turn out to be the next dictator. Be cautious about that.

Ruth
3 years 6 months ago

Most telling fact of all: the Detroit public schools graduate only 25% of students! Keep ’em ignorant so that they stay dependent. Why do you think it was illegal to teach slaves to read in the South? It’s the new age of slavery, and the slaves are buying into it!

emma
3 years 6 months ago

Detroit is a dump thanks to the Democrats who have denigrated it to this degree, and the social blood-suckers who sit on their lazy, fat, hind-sides and do nothing to contribute.

bob arnold
3 years 6 months ago

Socialism is the philosophy of failure,the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy
its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
Thomas jefferson

David A.
3 years 6 months ago

At one point in our history ever american understood ,HE WHO DOES NOT WORK SHALL NOT EAT !!!!!!!

David A.
3 years 6 months ago

The greatest educational tool ,have been permanently lost !! It was farming by the sweat of your brow!!!!!!

PaulE
3 years 6 months ago

And on November 6th, 2012, a majority of the voting public turned its back on everything this nation was founded on and re-elected the most openly socialist President in its history. Thus proving that if a nation’s population can be dumbed-down enough (creed of ignorance) over time, it will turn its back on the very principles that made it successful (adopting the philosophy of failure) and come to believe in the rhetoric of class warfare as its salvation (the gospel of envy). Now the nation will get to enjoy all the benefits (the equal sharing of misery) that it has chosen. God help us all.

D, Bessell
3 years 6 months ago
I have lived in the northern Detroit suburbs since 1970 and have paid close attention to the recent implementation of a very capable black man,Kevyn Orr, as the Governor-appointed “Emergency Manager” for Detroit. At least in Michigan, we have an apparatus to deal with something like this. Granted this man was just appointed this week, but he has extensive experience in turning around bad situations within a matter of months and has some very good ideas as how to increase Detroit’s cash flow and repair fractured city services without resistance from lame bodies like the city council. He is working with a plan carefully crafted over the last few months by some very capable people including our State Treasurer- who is a Democrat by the way. Don’t be so quick to write off Detroit just yet, and those of you in other large cities like Chicago and Philadelphia should pay… Read more »
goldenboy
3 years 6 months ago

We’ll see. I hope you’re right, but I think you can take it to the bank that it “ain’t gonna get any better” in Detroit or any of those other cities listed by Herbster…

Herbster
3 years 6 months ago

Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago……add in St. Louis, Baltimore, Newark, Camden (NJ) and many other unlisted cities in decline and you see one common denominator……..run by democrats for many years. QED.

gary meddles
3 years 6 months ago

First make them dependent, then make them slaves. If you can read, read 1984, if you can’t watch the movie.

Larry T.
3 years 6 months ago

Maybe you should have posted an audio.

David Christensen
3 years 6 months ago

Detroit has been the home of every clasic liberal idiocy for DECADES. Now the USA is heading down the saqme path to BANKRUPTCY. I predict that the USA will be Bankrupt before 2016….

Thanks to Obamacare, Massive taxation & Liberal spending like drunken democrats.

BUY GUNS & LOTS OF AMMO, BUILD A SURVIVAL SHELTER, & STOCK UP ON DEHYDRATED FOODS (Walmart already has a whole department just for survivalist supplies now- even they know the end is coming).

Bill Poole
3 years 6 months ago

I may be wrong and someone can correct me if I am. There is another factor that is contributing to the problems of Detroit. There is an influx of Islamic culture into the area. They also require public assistance and use their numbers and networking to do it efficently. Their push to include Sharia Law upon the masses creates a division that adds to the disparity of the citizens with demonstrated apathy and disregard for the values needed to establish a working, contributing economic environment.

daniel p bonner jr
3 years 6 months ago

Obama is like a Third World Dictator.Many of our other political leaders e.g. Mayors are similar. They keep the citizens under foot and in place.Then the citizens are compelled to keep things the same since there are no incentives or reasons to think things will be better. Forget about taking inititive or being a self-starter. Hope and Change is a BIG lie.Kinda reminds me of how the Devil works. The one thing you can still do to help yourself is to vote with your feet. Obviously many people are not from Detroit any more.

Chuck
3 years 6 months ago

Example of a terminal city. Now the article gives lots of excuses for it and those are valid. But they do not mention the single most important reason Detroit failed. The city is mostly black with black leaders. You will not find a single place on earth with a large black population much less black leadership that has not failed. The fact most white Americans hide behind their fear of being called a racist is what makes them a racist. If you can point out a problem you can’t fix it. Care to tell me how that is helping these communities.

Angela M. Rosati
3 years 6 months ago
I’m tired of hearing “corporate greed” and “politically correct”! These expressions are killing America! I believe in capitalism; it provides jobs, salaries, food, clothing and shelter. No, I’m not a capitalist! I’m an 83 yo woman, living on Social Security, with my son and his family. Politically correct is baloney!!! Everybody should work and work diligently and proudly!! Lazy bums should be ashamed of themselves! When I was a little girl, living in Astoria, NY, my little Italian father had a store; he made mozzarella and pure pork Italian sausage. My mother worked alongside him. They worked very hard. When he became ill, he lost his store. We went on Home Relief. My parents were ashamed. As soon as my father recovered, he found a job with another Italian immigrant and worked hard, without supervision. We were released from Home Relief, (welfare). I’m proud of him. By the way, my… Read more »
Terry T
3 years 6 months ago

And so, my fellow Americans: ask what your country can provide for you — not what you should contribute to your country.
BHO

Richard Cammeron
3 years 6 months ago
Although I didn’t write this I endorse it and it has now become my position on whats wrong with not only Detroit But America Also. The American Dream ended (on November 6th) in Ohio. The second term of Barack Obama will be the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest Republic in the history of mankind. A coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Feminists, Gays, Government Workers, Union Members, Environmental Extremists, The Media, Hollywood, uninformed young people, the “forever needy,” the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens and other “fellow travelers” have ended Norman Rockwell’s America. The Cocker Spaniel is off the front porch…the Pit Bull is in the back yard. The American Constitution has been replaced with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and Chicago shyster, David Axelrod, along with international Socialist George Soros will be pulling the strings… Read more »
goldenboy
3 years 6 months ago

Whoever wrote it listed the 47% Romney alluded to in his run for the WH

Richard Cammeron
3 years 6 months ago
Although I didn’t write this I endorse it and it has now become my position on whats wrong with not only Detroit but with America in general. The American Dream ended (on November 6th) in Ohio. The second term of Barack Obama will be the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest Republic in the history of mankind. A coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Feminists, Gays, Government Workers, Union Members, Environmental Extremists, The Media, Hollywood, uninformed young people,the “forever needy,” the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens and other “fellow travelers” have ended Norman Rockwell’s America. The Cocker Spaniel is off the front porch…the Pit Bull is in the back yard. The American Constitution has been replaced with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” and Chicago shyster, David Axelrod, along with international Socialist George Soros will be pulling the… Read more »
Dennis
3 years 6 months ago
Born & raised in Detroit, graduated from Cooley High in 1959. Got married 3 children early 60’s, was first a Detroit Police Officer, then became a Firefighter. (Left Police Dept because of too much paper work on why you arrested a black person, (Negro in 60’s), and the Black Panther’s had just executed a couple of Policemen) Then they (Negros/Blacks) decided to burn their city down in July,1967, with the riots, and trying to kill as many Police & Firefighters. The National Guard was sent in, but it was not until the 5th Army arrived that in a couple of days, order was restored. Then we buried 2 brother Firefighters, one a dear friend. In the meantime “George” was right forced bussing of our children became an a real issue. Fearing for our lives, I quit the DFD, and moved my family to Florida in 1970. They (Negro/Blacks) were setting… Read more »
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