The only thing good about Detroit is the Tigers. Cabrera, Verlander, Fielder, Scherzer, and a shortstop on Performance Enhancing Drugs. Other than that, it is a dump.
The Lions? Garbage. The Pistons? Garbage. The Red Wings? OK, not garbage, but no longer the Red Wings of old.
Some of you are wondering why a political columnist is talking about Detroit’s sports teams. The answer is obvious — nothing else in Detroit is worth talking about. The only other thing that is good in Detroit these days is Tim Horton’s donuts and coffee, and those are from Canada!
Every pundit worth their salt has addressed Detroit over the past few weeks. On the Right you hear it is because of Democrat rule that led to an untenable debt, mainly due to the pensions owed ($9 billion). And they are 100 percent correct.
The left says, “It’s just one of those things that happens.” That was the actual profound analysis offered by the darling heart of liberalism Paul Krugman. It gives the powers that be cover to formerly remark, “Oops, my bad. Mulligan?”
There are no mulligans here. The government of Detroit screwed up over and over and over again. In 60 years the heart of America was destroyed, and all that the party that brought this demise about has to say is, “Sorry about that. Not our fault; stuff happens, ya know?
We’ll do better next time and it won’t happen again.”
The cognitive dissonance is staggering.
No one that looks at the facts can say this was random happenstance. The citizens are uneducated — (47 percent illiterate, half of those with high school diplomas), the tax burdens are crushing (one of the highest property taxes and income tax rates in the country), and the violent crime rate is the highest in the country.
I know some people are confused. The Big Three auto manufacturers are going strong. They are in Detroit, so Detroit should not be bankrupt, right?
GM may be headquartered in Detroit, but only 3,000 manufacturing jobs exist in the city limits. All the other production is in the exurbs of the city, in other states, or overseas.
Chrysler has one plant in the city and that creates 4,000 jobs, but the headquarters is in Auburn Hills, Mich. Not to mention that Chrysler is actually an Italian company now.
Ford, the fourth largest car company in the world and only one of the three not to get bailed out by the government or Fiat, has no production in the city and operates out of Dearborn, Mich.
It is important to note that the government bailed out GM for years of terrible decisions — decisions that were strikingly similar to the city of Detroit’s. Year in and year out they made financial promises they had no intention of keeping because it would be someone else’s problem some other day.
The left has said the city of Detroit should get the same federal bailout treatment.
So again, the rest of the country has to pay for the mistakes of a few negligent cretins.
Run your company into the ground? Here is your federal bailout. Run the economy into the ground? Here is your federal bailout. Run your city into the ground? Here is your federal bailout.
The problem with Detroit, with GM, with the banks, and modern progressive thought can be boiled down to two issues: the lack of personal responsibility and focus on the present to the detriment of the future.
A company has the obligation to not only make money, but to make the best decisions that ensure its long-term viability. Taking care of its workers is noble, but to make promises it cannot keep dooms both the company and the employees.
An employee’s paycheck exists only as long as the company survives. Economics is not some zero-sum game. Decisions have consequences. Profits today are no guarantee of profits tomorrow, so to make obligations that rely on peak margins increasing perpetually is the mark of a fool.
Likewise, a government is responsible to the citizens. Making wild promises for votes does a disservice to all. Yet again and again we allow politicians to do it. Even worse, we encourage groups to twist politicians’ arms to make those ill-conceived promises into inane policy. Both groups are being neither responsible nor thinking past their noses . . . or rather our wallets.
So yes, the Right is correct that Democrats ran Detroit into the ground making selfish decisions. But they had an enabler. The true murderer of Detroit was the people. They elected glib politicians over serious managers.
Those who were able, fled, leaving the results to the “lesser” masses. Those left kept doing what they always did, and voted for more of the same.
The Tigers went through a terrible 15-year stretch, from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, bottoming out in 2003. But unlike the city they hailed from, the Tigers were responsible to their fans; fans that voted to publically finance part of the building of Comerica Park.
The Tigers repaid the residents by looking at what they were doing wrong, properly utilizing the increased cash flow the new stadium provided, and making better personnel decisions.
The Tiger organization acted in a responsible and strategic manner that actually benefits the people of Detroit as well as the owners, employees, and players.
Imagine if government, for once, acted accordingly. Maybe then the Tigers would not be the only thing in Detroit worth cheering about.
Armstrong Williams is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.” He is a political commentator who writes a conservative newspaper column, hosts a nationally syndicated TV program called “The Right Side,” and hosts a daily radio show on Sirius/XM Power 128 (7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m.) Monday through Friday. Read more reports from Armstrong Williams — Click Here Now.
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