Charles Krauthammer’s column today provides a Detroitopsy full of warnings for the rest of America. Liberals left to their own devices for 50 or 60 years will kill a city with corruption and spending, Krauthammer says, and it’s up to conservatives to stand athwart stuff and yell stop, or we’ll all be as bankrupt as Detroit is.
Commenters respond with other ways they feel Detroit messed itself up:
Detroit refused to do anything about the crime which drove people out of the city.
How about those on top in Detroit — the mayors and other elected “leaders” — who did more than skim off the top. They stole the city and its residents blind for decades. They created the problem (with the help of the citizens who, for whatever reasons, kept them in power all that time).
Susan Charlene notes that Detroit’s fall took a long time, during which there were many opportunities to predict and avert tragedy:
Do you have any idea how many people knew years ago that Detroit was headed for bankruptcy? If you aren’t savvy enough in business to know that technology and the global economy were going to change the world and instead kept riding your gravy train until it ran off the tracks, you have no business in politics.
Which, weather3014 says, indicates that no other cities will be able to heed the warnings, since disaster is slow-moving with terrible momentum:
There will be no lesson learned here. Public unions will still get and already have current contracts with pension liabilities that exceed a municipality’s ability to pay. The only way to break these contracts is with Chapter 9 bankruptcy. City after city (and county and even state) will have to run to the edge of ruin and then over the brink to get any “give-backs” from the unions.
BartDad says that decades of conservatives yelling stop didn’t do much good for Detroit, either, so perhaps there should be a new plan:
In true 21st century conservative fashion you’ve done a good job of describing the problem but have put nothing forth as to how to fix it except for yelling stop. You’re right, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what went wrong but it DOES take brains to figure out how to stop it and keep it from happening again. And the GOP has offered NOTHING but complaints and obstruction.
UrbanProgressive says that circumstances kept other cities afloat, but Detroit was unlucky:
Detroit failure is as a central city. It was literally abandoned by its once affluent population because it ceased to have a reason for being. Many other cities of the rust belt similarly experienced flight to the suburbs in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. However, Detroit is different. Unlike Baltimore, it does not have a large natural harbor to spearhead its renewal. Unlike Pittsburgh, Detroit is surrounded by large expanses of cheap land to spread-out into. Unlike Boston, it is not a capital city. Unlike Chicago, it is not a commercial and transportation hub. Unlike New York City, it is not a major financial, media, and cultural center and a world-class port. I’m optimistic that Detroit will make a comeback, but first it needs to figure out what its role is in the region.
PaidShill says that the economy has fundamentally changed such that wealth is only adjacent to power:
Years ago, the wealthiest cities in America made things. Today the wealthiest part of America is Loudoun, Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Alexandria.
And ScrumMaster1 suggests a five-year experiment with chaos:
Solution: make Detroit a free enterprise zone. Go there and take any vacant property you want (for free) and set up a business. Pay no corporate taxes for five years. Free enterprise will turn things around.
So there we go, Detroit. Elect non-corrupt officials, retroactively have elected non-corrupt officials in, like, the 80s, starve your unions, ask conservatives for a plan, get a port or a hub, and relocate next to Washington, DC. And then have five years of wild west. And you’ll be fine, in fifty or sixty years.