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Lets talk about Detroit

Armstrong Williams | 8/22/2013, 11:07 a.m. | Updated on 8/22/2013, 11:07 a.m.
The only thing good about Detroit are the Tigers. Cabrera, Verlander, Fielder, Scherzer and a shortstop on steroids. Other than ...
Armstrong Williams

The only thing good about Detroit are the Tigers. Cabrera, Verlander, Fielder, Scherzer and a shortstop on steroids. Other than that, it is a dump.

The Lions? Lame. The Pistons? Pathetic. The Red Wings? OK, they are respectable and storied, but no longer the Red Wings of old.

Some of you are wondering why a political columnist is talking about Detroit’s sport teams. The answer is obvious—nothing else in Detroit is worth talking about. The only other thing that is good in Detroit these days are Tim Horton’s donuts and coffee, and those are from Canada!

Every pundit worth their salt has addressed Detroit over the past few weeks. On the right, you hear it is because of Democrat rule that led to an untenable debt, mainly due to the pensions owed ($9 billion of the $11 billion debt). And they are 100 percent correct.

The left says, “It’s just one of those things that happens.” That was the actual profound analysis offered by the darling heart of liberalism Paul Krugman. It gives the powers that be cover to formerly remark, “Oops, my bad. Mulligan?”

There are no mulligans here. The government of Detroit repeatedly failed to exercise the basic responsibilities of governance, choosing at every turn graft, lethargy and favoritism over fiscal prudence, the provision of services and financial transparency. In 60 years, the fabled arsenal of democracy was destroyed, and all that the party that brought this demise about has to say is, “Sorry about that. Not our fault; stuff happens, you know? We’ll do better next time. It won’t happen again.”

The cognitive dissonance is staggering.

No one that looks at the facts can say this was random happenstance. The citizens are uneducated—47 percent illiterate, half of those with high school diplomas; the tax burdens are crushing, with one of the highest property taxes and income tax rates in the country; and the violent crime rate is the highest in the country.

I know some people are confused. The Big Three auto manufacturers are going strong; they are in Detroit, so Detroit should not be bankrupt, right? GM may be headquartered in Detroit, but only 3,000 manufacturing jobs exist within the city limits. All of the other production is in the exurbs of the city, in other states or overseas. High labor costs, driven by craven and ultimately self-destructive unions, hollowed out the once-vital middle-class core of the city.

Chrysler has but a single plant in the city, which creates 4,000 jobs. However, its headquarters is located in Auburn Hills, Mich. (as are the Pistons). Not to mention the fact that Chrysler is actually an Italian company now, with Fiat coming to its rescue after massive pension obligations and a declining market share drove it to the brink of extinction. 

Ford, the fourth largest car company in the world and the only one of the three not to get bailed out by the government or the Italians, has no production in the city and operates out of Dearborn, Mich.