REPORT: Here’s How Democrats Are Ruining American Cities

July 26, 2017

REPORT: Here’s How Democrats Are Ruining American Cities bob bob / CCL

Across the nation, crime-ridden, culturally decayed cities on the brink of fiscal insolvency all have one thing in common: they have been administered for half a century by liberal lawmakers. From Chicago to Baltimore, liberal cities across the United States serve as living, breathing testaments to decades of socialist policy gone awry.

Milton Friedman once said, “if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” More recently, John Hawkins of Townhall applied this principle of government inefficiency on a more local level

Hawkins found that Democrats’ political dominance in local municipalities has been a disaster. Using the example of Detroit as a barometer, he concluded that Democrats have effectively ruined the most prosperous cities in America.

Unions are crippling business

Hawkins begins his critical analysis of liberalism by showing how the city of Detroit, once a prosperous city teeming with hundreds of profitable enterprises and a resilient wealth-building culture, declined into its current crime-ridden and poverty-stricken state. Hawkins writes:

Unions crippled the auto industry: The Big 3 automakers could afford unions when they practically had a monopoly on auto production in the United States. However, once they started facing real competition from overseas, the unions made them less and less competitive. The unions forced the companies to pay out more than market value for their workers, put stifling work rules in place that made flexibility and innovation difficult, and created generous pension plans that are proving to be unsustainable.

Hawkins explains how the Democratic Party’s monopoly on political positions of power led to the gradual demise of industry, as city lawmakers refused to surrender the union’s stranglehold on business.

Even today, despite the overwhelming evidence that excessively generous pension plans are bankrupting cities across America, liberal leaders like Rev. Jesse Jackson insist that more money, and not additional law enforcement, is the solution to Chicago’s unacceptable crime rates.

Racial tension and crime

Speaking of Jackson, his ideological predecessor forced out Detroit’s white citizens in the name of overtly hostile affirmative action. Hawkins elaborates on this:

White citizens were demonized until they left: Detroit was a heavily segregated city and in 1967, there were black riots. After that, white flight to the suburbs began. This was dramatically exacerbated when Coleman Young became Detroit’s first black mayor in 1972. Young was cut from the same cloth as men like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, but unlike the two of them, he actually had power.

Young systematically drove white government employees out of their jobs so they could be replaced by blacks, was hostile to the white suburbs, and was generally perceived as anti-white. Naturally, a lot of white people just left, which reduced the population and significantly cut into the tax base. Today, Detroit is a 7.9% white city, and if he were alive and kicking, that would probably suit Coleman Young just fine.

This isn’t just morally problematic; it’s economically indefensible. Those who left had the economic wherewithal to go elsewhere and their money left the city with them. A steep price to pay for political radicalism.

What is true of Detroit is true of every major city in the U.S. Nearly half a century ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson commissioned a panel of civic leaders to explore the phenomenon of white flight, and the conclusions of this 50 year-old study remains true today: white people have fled the urban metropolises, and those metropolises are paying a heavy economic price.

The exile of the black middle class

But it’s not just white people departing from Detroit as enduring socialist policies lead the “Motor City” to financial ruin. The black middle class have also been forced into exile from the crime and hopelessness which results from fiscal insolvency.

In a New York Times article entitled “GM, Detroit, and the Fall of the Black Middle Class,” Jonathan Mahler noted:

…in the 1980s, as crime rates soared, the quality of schools and services plummeted and the number of crack houses multiplied, more and more middle-class blacks abandoned the city for the suburbs, or in some cases, left the Detroit area altogether.

Mahler, no conservative himself, can’t help but note the irony:

There’s a perverse paradox here, one that I was reminded of every time I met a black autoworker in an Obama T-shirt or with an Obama bumper sticker adorning his or her car. We have just elected our first African-American president, and yet, at the same moment, a city and industry that together played a central role in the rise of the black middle class … is being destroyed.

The mismanagement and corruption of city government, dominated by Democrats, doesn’t discriminate. Incompetence is an equal-opportunity destroyer.

In Detroit, both the white and black middle classes have been effectively driven out of their own city. It’s a scenario that threatens to play out in many Democrat controlled municipalities across the country.

Hawkins is, once again, spot on in his analysis:

Combine the sort of criminal mentality that produces an unofficial ‘holiday’ like that with a sky high unemployment rate and Draconian laws designed to make it difficult for law abiding citizens to arm themselves, and it’s not a surprise that crime is a problem in Detroit.

Fighting fire with fire

Hawkins notes that Detroit has responded to its financial collapse by raising taxes. He described the results of such a disastrous, counter-intuitive policy:

Unfortunately for Detroit, you can’t get blood from a stone. As jobs and wealth fled the city, there was simply less cash available for big government programs, pensions, and the incredibly generous, but almost completely unfunded union health care program.

Pursuing this fiscal paradigm always produces the same result in the dozens of American cities where lawmakers have been foolish enough to raise taxes to right a sinking ship. While Rev. Jackson would have his constituents believe that businessmen are responding to these unsustainably high tax rates by fleeing to “third world countries,” the truth is that businesses are simply relocating to states with friendlier business climates, such as those found in Texas, Florida and Arizona.

Administrative incompetence and bureaucratic gluttony

Many of the failures in Detroit may be attributed to simple incompetence in the pursuit of larger, gluttonous government. Hawkins describes the results of this bureaucratic gluttony:

The government is completely incompetent: Ever notice that the bigger government seems to get, the less it does anything well? Citizens of Detroit could tell you all about that. The school system is horrible, which explains why a staggering 47% of the population is illiterate. In addition, 40% of the street lights don’t work, only about 1/3 of the ambulances are running, and 2/3 of the parks have been closed since 2008.

Hawkins goes on to note, for instance, how the the city’s Department of Water and Sewage keeps a horseshoer on staff, even though the department does not have any horses. Such administrative ineptitude is common in liberal capitals all across America, where massive local governments pass intrusive laws that consistently result in the need for more and more government workers.

Hawkins’ analysis, while common sense for most Americans, remains up for debate in socialist circles where liberals attribute their failings to racism, sexism and any other “ism” that serves to cast the blame on others.

Unfortunately, if the left refuses to acknowledge their own complicity in the failure of formerly prosperous American cities, those cities will continue their slow and sad decline into fiscal Armageddon.

For this reason, “Make America great again” is more than just a campaign slogan — it is a call to action, a rallying cry to those that can see through the partisan attempts to distract from the truth of the matter that liberalism cannot, and should not, be trusted.

Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is a regular contributor at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Yahoo News.