Dev F, on 19 July 2013 - 09:34 PM, said:
I find it rather amusing that the right-wingers are trying to take the not-at-all-unexpected disintegration of a city that's been roiled for decades by a perfect storm of idiosyncratic problems that go far beyond mere municipal economic policy, and turn it into some campfire tale of terror about how the evils of liberalism can strike without warning, and who knows what city will be next!
A Model City created by the Democrats and it fails, who is to blame? And goodness knows there was plenty of warning by the opposing party, but yet it still happened.
This was years in the making with billions of government dollars.
One of the most important things to remember about socialism – or coercion of any kind – is it fails eventually because human beings have an innate desire for liberty and a strong need for personal property rights. In fact, the origins of government lie in the need of agricultural communities to protect themselves from violence and theft. So it is particularly ironic that in more recent times, it is government itself that has more frequently played the role of bandit. When you start taxing people at extreme rates to pay for socialist “benefits,” when you start telling them which schools their children must attend, when you start giving jobs away to people based on race instead of ability… you quash human freedom, which bogs down productivity… and if continued for long enough, leads to social collapse.
In 1961, the last Republican mayor of Detroit lost his re-election bid to a young, intelligent Democrat, with the overwhelming support of newly organized black voters. His name was Jerome Cavanagh. The incumbent was widely considered to be corrupt (and later served 10 years in prison for tax evasion). Cavanagh, a white man, pandered to poor underclass black voters. He marched with Martin Luther King down the streets of Detroit in 1963. (Of course, marching with King was the right thing to do… It’s just Cavanagh’s motives were political not moral.) He instated aggressive affirmative action policies at City Hall. And most critically, he greatly expanded the role of the government in Detroit, taking advantage of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Model Cities Program” – the first great experiment in centralized urban planning.
Mayor Cavanagh was the only elected official to serve on Johnson’s task force. And Detroit received widespread acclaim for its leadership in the program, which attempted to turn a nine-square-mile section of the city (with 134,000 inhabitants) into a “model city.” More than $400 million was spent trying to turn inner cities into shining new monuments to government planning. In short, the feds and Democratic city mayors were soon telling people where to live, what to build, and what businesses to open or close. In return, the people received cash, training, education, and health care.
The Model Cities program was a disaster for Detroit. But it did accomplish its real goal: The creation of a state-supported, Democratic political power base. The program also resulted in much higher taxes – which were easy to pitch to poor voters who didn’t have to pay them. Cavanagh pushed a new income tax through the state legislature and a “commuter tax” on city workers.
Unfortunately, as with all socialist programs, lots of folks simply don’t like being told what to do. Lots of folks don’t like being plundered by the government. They don’t like losing their jobs because of their race.
In Detroit, they didn’t like paying new, large taxes to fund a largely black and Democratic political hegemony. And so, in 1966, more than 22,000 middle- and upper-class residents moved out of the city.
But what about the poor? As my friend Doug Casey likes to say, in the War on Poverty, the poor lost the most. In July 1967, police attempted to break up a late-night party in the middle of the new “Model City.” The scene turned into the worst race riot of the 1960s. The violence killed more than 40 people and left more than 5,000 people homeless. One of the first stores to be looted was the black-owned pharmacy. The largest black-owned clothing store in the city was also burned to the ground. Cavanagh did nothing to stop the riots, fearing a large police presence would make matters worse. Five days later, Johnson sent in two divisions of paratroopers to put down the insurrection. Over the next 18 months, an additional 140,000 upper- and middle-class residents – almost all of them white – left the city.
And so, you might rightfully ask… after five years of centralized planning, higher taxes, and a fleeing population, what did the government decide to do with its grand experiment, its “Model City”? You’ll never guess….
Seeing it had accomplished nothing but failure, the government endeavored to do still more. The Model City program was expanded and enlarged by 1974′s Community Development Block Grant Program. Here again, politicians would decide which groups (and even individuals) would receive state funds for various “renewal” schemes. Later, Big Business was brought into the fold. In exchange for various concessions, the Big Three automakers “gave” $488 million to the city for use in still more redevelopment schemes in the mid-1990s.
What happened? Even with all of their power and all of the money, centralized planners couldn’t succeed with any of their plans. Nearly all of the upper and middle class left Detroit. The poor fled, too. The Model City area lost 63% of its population and 45% of its housing units from the inception of the program through 1990.
Every single mayor of Detroit since 1961 has been a Democrat. Every single mayor of Detroit since 1974 has been black. Detroit has been a major recipient of every major social program since the early 1960s and has received hundreds of billions of dollars in government grants, loans, and programs. We now have a black, Democrat president, who is promising to do to America as a whole what his political mentors have done to Detroit.
Fire up camp fire and bring the S'mores
Edited by Kota, 19 July 2013 - 10:47 PM.