Just Spread Detroit's Failure, Why Don't Ya?
Robert B. Reich, the little man with big liberal ideas, has a big idea for bailing out Detroit. It's a simple big idea, which just goes to show Reich's genius. Great thinkers get to the nub of things.
In a nutshell, Reich wants to make things right in Detroit by expanding its boundaries. Or does he want to expand the burbs' boundaries to encompass Detroit? Doesn't matter, really. The key to Reich's ingenious plan is for miserably failed Detroit to glom onto the burbs for resources -- that would be money, in plain English.
But let's permit the Master, via the Detroit Free Press, to explain the rationale behind his latest big idea:
Much in modern America depends on where you draw boundaries, and who's inside and who's outside. Who is included in the social contract?
If Detroit is defined as the larger metro area that includes its suburbs, it has enough money to provide all its residents with adequate if not good public services, without falling into bankruptcy. It would come down to a question of whether the more affluent areas of this Detroit were willing to subsidize the poor inner city through their tax dollars and help it rebound. That's an awkward question that the more affluent areas would probably rather not have to face.
Drawing the relevant boundary to include just the poor inner city, and requiring those within that boundary to take care of their compounded problems by themselves, lets the whiter and more affluent suburbs off the hook. Their city isn't in trouble. It's that other one -- called Detroit.
Reich -- good liberal he -- is doing what liberals do when their other big ideas have failed: metastasize those failures. And apportion guilt and responsibility to the innocent for others' sad results.
Liberalism doesn't work -- if you haven't figured that out -- other than when it's rattling around in the noggins of profs like Reich or bandied about in all its glorious abstractions in econ classes at Berkeley. For Reich and his ilk to own up to liberalism's failure is tantamount to admitting their failures, they who have contributed smartly to making the Detroits and Newarks and Clevelands the basket cases that they are.
But it's those horrid crackers who are blamed for escaping Detroit in the first place. Middle class blacks are fleeing Detroit, too? They ain't crackers; they's jus' Oreos. Isn't that the catchall for blacks who want better lives?
Detroit's 1967 race riots and ensuing racial tensions would have had no bearing on middle class Detroiters -- white mostly, but not exclusively -- from picking up stakes and moving to the burbs. Nor would the actions of the Motor City's Great and Powerful Oz, Mayor Coleman Young, who began building a political machine for his aggrandizement and profit in the early 1970s. He accomplished this, in large part, by demonizing whites and making blacks victims - victims of whitey. Wedge politics, they call it.
Young became a prototype, of sorts, for notorious race hustlers Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton, and Louis Farrakhan. Though Young has long gone to Race Hustler Heaven, his franchisees diversify and grow the brand. Call Young a perverse version of Ray Kroc.
Young's black separatism was window-dressing more than honest-to-goodness conviction. It was a ploy to intimidate and shake down. His hate and divide tactics made a strategy that cemented Young's control of the Motor City. Driving whites out of Detroit was calculated and worked like a voodoo doll. With whites went incomes, and in many instances, professions and businesses. Poor black Detroiters suffered while banana republic pol Coleman Young thrived. But that's the point of creating a banana republic, isn't it? Elites get fat while the rabble scuffs along.
What does the marvelously insightful Robert B. Reich believe would be the outcome of redrawing Detroit's boundaries so that the city could mooch -- excuse me, benefit -- from "sharing" tax revenues generated in the predominantly white suburbs ringing the Motor City?
What happens when tax redistribution does little to help Detroit, where tax receipts aren't the core problem? Where, instead, endemic incompetence, corruption, cronyism, and racial hostility continue to be the root causes of Detroit's woes? What happens when white, Asian, Indian, Arab, and black suburbanites see their tax dollars poured down Detroit rat holes? Or land in corrupt pols' pockets? Or are funneled off to pols' cronies?
Detroit area suburbanites fled before, they can flee again. Aren't there the exurbs, after all? But then, under Reich's scheme, it would simply be a matter of redrawing the boundaries to snare refugee suburbanites. Reich's formula can be termed the "Spider-web Effect." Just keep spinning a web that's cast further and further out geographically, providing no escape for middle class suburbanites and gobbling up more revenues in the process. Keep the parasitic and corrupt elite in charge of Democratic cities like Detroit.
Reich, like his lib brethren, is proposing an elegant, if simple, scam.
You want to solve Detroit's troubles? That means taking radical action; to wit, repudiating and ousting the black Democratic elite and their white liberal enablers who've made a shambles of a once great American city. It means upending the status quo in the Motor City. It means addressing a broken urban black culture, replete with illiteracy, wrecked homes, girls-as-moms, fatherless kids, trashed neighborhoods, generational welfare dependency, rap idiocy, gang crime, drug crime, and every other type of crime. Go ahead, add to the list.
Yeah, more tax revenues will fix all that, just like billions of greenbacks from state and federal sources have fixed Detroit previously. But typical of Reich and his lib cronies, money -- gobs of it -- is the answer. Not jettisoning a poisoned and demonstrably failed ideology that has greatly facilitated Detroit's downfall. Nope. Can't be liberal ideology; can't be the actions of race hustlers who constantly stoke racial tensions and divisions so beneficial to the Democratic Party and themselves.
Buried in a Wall Street Journal article on Kevin Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager of Detroit, is this nugget:
While Mr. Orr is optimistic, he acknowledges that there is "a risk element" attached to ceding control back to the city's duly elected leaders whose corruption, neglect and mismanagement led Detroit into the abyss. This year's council and mayoral elections in November could bring in fresh, capable and forward-looking leadership.
Mr. Orr won't comment on the elections. Yet he does say that "there are some on the existing council who get it. They want a better city for themselves, for their children. The people of good faith is what I call them," he adds. "The neighborhood revitalization is their job. If they take it up and do it right, then it will happen."
Orr, a talented and highly competent attorney, was hired by Michigan governor Rick Snyder to straighten out the financial mess in Detroit. All well and good if Orr succeeds, but his victory, as he alludes to, may be fleeting. Orr's hope is welcome, in his expression that honest Detroiters win elections and reform the city. But Orr's "risk element" is very real. A fair bet is that within a couple of years of Michigan relinquishing control of the city, Detroit's power structure is at it again, in all its munificent corruption and incompetence.
Reforming finances is a snap when compared to honest Detroiters breaking the stranglehold of Coleman Young's venal legacy and those who perpetuate it. Harder still, and much deeper, is reforming a grossly dysfunctional urban black culture. Doing that will take more than elections; it'll take many years of courageous, focused effort at the grassroots by Detroiters.
Meanwhile, little men with big liberal ideas, like Robert B. Reich, will continue to spin and weave their wondrous thoughts into policy proposals aimed at defining deviancy downward and spreading failure like bone cancer.
It's the disastrous way of liberalism. Poor black Detroiters being only some of the victims.