Walter Russell Mead’s headline cried out for a Photoshop updating the infamous New York Daily News headline from 1975, which was certainly fun putting together, particularly trying to make the headline type look like a moldering 38 year old photocopy. In his post, written just before Detroit made its bankruptcy official today, Mead writes:
Buried in the middle of the report is a telling climax to this sorry tragedy:
Any hope of a federal bailout to avert bankruptcy fizzled last week after Mr. Orr spoke with the White House, including Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett, according to city and White House officials.
This is where blue governance has brought Detroit in the end: not even a liberal Democratic administration will step in to save the pensions of thousands of public workers and African Americans, condemning countless innocents to having their pensions and health benefits gutted in bankruptcy court.
Blue model defenders will point to the cruel exodus of General Motors, the unjust outsourcing of American manufacturing, and the general unfairness of life in the big city as the culprits in the slaying of Detroit. But these champions of the marginalized should keep a few facts in mind.
Detroit has been spending on average $100 million more than it has taken in for each of the past five years. The city’s $11 billion in unsecured debt includes $6 billion in health and other retirement benefits and $3 billion in retiree pensions for its 20,000 city pensioners, who are slated to receive less than 10 percent of what they were promised. Between 2007 and 2011, an astounding 36 percent of residents lived below the poverty line. Last year, the FBI cited Detroit as having the highest violent crime rate for any major American city. In the first 12 years of the new century, Detroit lost more than 26 percent of its population.
And now Detroit’s desperate request for a bailout has been turned down by the Obama White House.
It’s happened. The long and defiant march of progressive policies has finally succeeded in fully transforming Detroit from a mid-century bastion of middle-class prosperity to one of the biggest and brokest cities in America. After a review declared the city to be in a state of financial emergency earlier this year and Gov. Rick Synder invoked a rule allowing him to appoint an emergency manager to try and pull Detroit back from the fiscal abyss, they’ve spent months trying to negotiate a way out of it — with creditors to accept fractions of what they’re owed, with unions to cut benefits, and etc — but alas, it was too little, too late for the financially beleaguered city.
As Mead notes above, Detroit is the end game for a century of “Progressivism” that’s accelerating in its madness as its approaches the abyss; the rest of America will get there eventually if we continue on our current path.
Update: “Sixty years ago, Detroit was the wealthiest city in the United States.” Today, it looks like this. At Storify, in a series of tweets assembled by Melissa Clouthier, “David Freddoso Documents [Detroit’s] Doom.”