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July 25, 2013 - 12:29 am

Trifecta continues its examination of the Detroit bankruptcy. Why did New York City rise from the ashes of fiscal mismanagement, while a city like Detroit got thrust into bankruptcy? Find out from Stephen Green, Scott Ott, and Bill Whittle. 

Part two of a three-part series. (The finale will be for PJTV subscribers only.) PJTV subscribers, click here to watch; an embeddable YouTube version is available here.


For much about PJTV, click here to visit its homepage.

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I have to ask: Considering the collapse of the auto industry, would Republican policies have been able to save Detroit? There was a lot more going on than just out-of-control liberal spending. I'm not sure it was possible to do more than delay the city's collapse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
An excellent question and the only completely honest answer, of course, is that we really can't know the answer to such a complex question. Republicans would have had to do some really gutsy, politically unpopular things to solve the problem, and I'm sure that's a major reason they were never given the chance.

Had I lived in Detroit, I almost certainly would done the same thing I actually did living in Massachusetts - fled to warmer, more pleasant climes in the South and West.

But let's say I really love chilly, snowy winters. What then?

The solution to Detroit's woes would have been disarmingly simple. The problem is that most people would also say it was so counter-intuitive as to not make any sense. Fire the public employees so their ranks were consistent with population. Free the state's labor markets. Make it easier for people to change jobs. Encourage fresh shoots of new businesses to develop through a free business climate, not subsidies. The city had a lot of talent. The answer is sufficient deregulation that they would want to start new businesses and new enterprises in Detroit.

So why was it counter-intuitive? It is focused on the future instead of the past. People were focused on saving old jobs instead of making new ones. That kind of attitude inspires oppressive regulations that make it effectively impossible to start new businesses. And of course the dead hand of unionism didn't help.

So the trouble is that now, city employment is scaled for a huge place and they are serving too few people to justify it. We can reduce the city employment, but I don't think there's any way to bring it back.

If they want more residents, guarantee anyone who fixes a $1 house (which in reality will cost thousands of dollars in repairs) property taxes based on a percentage of the $1 valuation for ten years. Heck, it's cheaper than tearing it down. Then the starving artists with construction funds from their parents will flood in. A few are doing this now, but some sensible policies like these would really help. Of course none of them have a real income, but Detroit needs life even more than it needs money. Just having more inhabited housing deters crime.

Advocate global warming. If Miami floods, people will consider Detroit a safe haven, and every degree of warmer winter temperatures is going to be a Godsend for the city. :).

I haven't addressed the racial dynamic because I have never lived in Detroit and don't know much about it. One thing is certain, though, when there is a big incentive for politicians to drum up racial hostility, the races being attacked are going to leave, and fast. And once they are viciously attacked, as I believe they were, I think it's wildly unrealistic to expect them to ever return. I'm all for integration but when the politicians inspire us to hate, we can't expect it to work.


PS Loved your response below to Mary the hapless spammer :).

[The author lived in the frozen north for some years. He now lives in sunny, warm and prosperous South Florida and would not return to the chill and frost for a million bucks. Boy does he hate even the memory of chill and frost! He doesn't understand why there's a population left in the chilly Northeast or Midwest :). Sorry, Detroit.]
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You guys are doing great work, I'm sorry I will again miss part 3. It is a good marketing device.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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