Tuesday, December 30, 2008

He Promised You Paris, But It's Starting to Look A Lot More Like Detroit

Detroit is a shrinking city that suffers from its affluent past. In its heyday, Detroit was flush with cash, enjoying union-boosted payrolls and trickle-down feather bedding. But the unions and the fat cats let the gold-laying goose starve in its roost. Now, anyone who can get out is already long gone. This is not just Detroit. This is California, Ohio, Pennsylvania. This is everywhere the entitlement mentality has taken hold, where the spirit of making it on your own merits has died. This is America, when run by the Chicago outfit.

So what do we have to look forward to?
In a city often known as the nation's murder capital, with over 10,000 unsolved murders dating back to 1960, the police are in shambles through cutbacks and corruption trials. (They have a profitable sideline, though, as one of the nation's largest gun dealers, having sold 14 tons of used weapons out-of-state.) Their response times are legendarily slow. Their crime lab is so inept that it has been closed. One Detroit man found police so unresponsive when trying to turn himself in for murder that he hopped a bus to Toledo and confessed there instead.

Detroit schools haven't ordered new textbooks in 19 years. Students have reported having to bring their own toilet paper. Teachers have reported bringing hammers to class for protection. Declining enrollment has forced 67 school closures since 2005 (more than a quarter of the city's schools). The graduation rate is 24.9 percent, the lowest of any large school district in the country.

....Precisely what caused all this mess is perhaps best left to historians. Locals' ideas for how it happened could keep one pinned to a barstool for weeks: auto companies failing or pushing out to the suburbs and beyond, white flight caused by the '67 riots and busing orders, the 20-year reign of Mayor Coleman Young who scared additional middle-class whites off with statements such as "The only way to handle discrimination is to reverse it," freeways destroying mass transit infrastructure, ineptitude, corruption, Japanese cars--take your pick.

What's clear, though, is that Detroit has failed, that it's broken and cracked. It is dying. But it's not yet dead. Although it has lost over half its population since 1950, 900,000 people still live there. I went to Detroit to experience a cross-section of those who live between its cracks, who either choose or are stuck with living among the ruins.

... _WeeklyStandard _ via_ PowerandControl
There are some people in Detroit who will not let the city die. Firefighters, a few honest police officers, one or two honest politicians, and even an honest reporter for the Detroit News. From some sense of loyalty or inertia, these Detroiters keep cleaning up the messes made by the masses of human castoffs. Detroit should by all rights be dead, for all the mismanagement, graft, and incompetence in City Hall.

Slow motion destruction, with no end in sight. Detroit today, America tomorrow? A careful look at Obama and his cronies gives little room for optimism. The same type of "make the taxpayers bleed" mentality that destroyed Detroit is rampant inside the Obamabot community. Given the narcissist-elects basic incompetence and unsuitability for true leadership through difficult times, it is likely that others will be running things behind the scenes. They will be acting behind the scenes because most of the things they will be doing will not stand the light of day.

Detroit is crumbling because most of its human capital has run away. The human capital that remains is occupied full time with damage control.

Can you look at your own city and see a reflection of Detroit, perhaps in the earlier stages? Bad management is endemic, and loss of human capital via mis-education is an ongoing catastrophe. What will you do?

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