Detroit was destroyed by democracy

  • Article by: GEORGE WILL
  • Updated: July 31, 2013 - 7:19 PM

Even Washington sees that a bailout would spread the contagion.

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goferfanzJul. 31, 13 9:20 PM

It is a great column, and demonstrates the folly of public unions, which I believe even Dem icons like FDR opposed. Detroit proves the fiscal insanity of letting public unions negotiate with public officials. There better be no bailouts for this type of cronyism, or really it becomes a self-evident truth that a Bernie Madoff or Tom Petters got the raw deal in receiving prison time. They should have called themselves a union, and simply got a bailout when their false promises fell thru. Their lies are no different than the wink and nod lies between govt officials and the public sector unions.

davehougJul. 31, 1310:04 PM

Plan A: Detroit, Plan B Wisconsin. Choose your future in the next elections.

FrankLJul. 31, 1310:17 PM

This column hits home. I grew up in a unionized city of heavy industry. Even in the 1970s when the minimum wage was $2/hr, it was considered that you were working for chump change if you were making less than $10/hr. You had college engineers making less than the unionized grunt labor. Work attitudes stank for anyone in a service job, and most people felt like they were doing their boss a favor by showing up. Small businesses didn't grow because they couldn't afford the wages. Despite the demise of all the heavy industry, there is still little entrepreneurial activity, so even though the area has several fine universities, almost all the graduates move away. Today, the main economic activity is warehouses. So I can see how Detroit may never recover.

scotchguyJul. 31, 1311:54 PM

Detroit is very simple to understand. It is a city that is 85% black, that has been completely taken over by liberals. The results are what they are. Thank a liberal, and have a nice trip out to the 'burbs where things are a bit less insane.

jdlellis1Aug. 1, 1312:50 AM

Progressives have no clue as to the concept of limited government. The question progressives cannot answer is, "What aspect of society do you not want government (local, federal or state) to regulate or control?" There is a failure to recognize the unholy alliance with respect to public unions and government. Can anyone imagine a society in which 51% of the population represent public employees and are supported by 49% of private citizens? The mindset that government is supposed to take care of is in direct conflict of a free society and aligns with the words of Adolf Hitler upon his ascension to the Presidency of Germany. Paraphrasing his remarks, "The individual is nothing without the state" All to say, the reality is, "In a free society, government, at all levels, cannot and should not be all things to all people.

owatonnabillAug. 1, 13 5:52 AM

George Will is incorrect. Detroit did not die from democracy. Detroit died because of the unchecked selfishness of power that democracy, when manipulated by those of essentially ill will, permits. There is nothing wrong with unions of workers put together and maintained for the purpose of assuring fair, common-sense treatment. There is EVERYTHING wrong with formulating a group of people under the guise of helping the rank-and-file members of that group while using very organization as the means to establish financial wealth and political power. An abuse of power is an abuse of power no matter how sanctimonious the words used to describe that abuse. Detroit died because of the worst in human nature. Let it rest in whatever peace it can find.

mmediaAug. 1, 13 7:22 AM

How does George explain Highland Park which is an independent municipality located completely inside Detroit? It went bankrupt in the early 00's, was put under emergency management by the state of MI, eliminated its public unions (it shut down the police force, though it has restarted as a non-union force; its firefighters work for $10 an hour with no benefits), eliminated streetlights, and it even closed its libraries since 2002. Yet why, when using George's non-union recipe for over a decade, is it still not solvent.

mmediaAug. 1, 13 7:28 AM

Why, for a city that is broke, does Detroit still pour money into "The Core?" For those unfamiliar, the Core is essentially the downtown area where all the sports teams are located. How does a city with no money still find hundreds of millions of dollars to give to teams for their stadiums?

thatisright1Aug. 1, 13 7:31 AM

Greedy capitalists killed Detroit.

twspt7Aug. 1, 13 7:49 AM

"'Congress, he(Steven Rattner) says, should bail out Detroit because “America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility." There you have today’s liberalism: Apart from the pesky matter of “voting in elections” — apart from decades of voting to empower incompetents, scoundrels and criminals, and to mandate unionized rapacity — no one is responsible for anything" And there you have today's neoconservative media commentators: purveyors of the Big Lie. Will took Rattner's quote and turned it inside out. What Rattner actually said is that Americans ARE responsible, personally and socially. From this Will deduces that no one is responsible, while claiming the left backs all the bad guys in our society. Wow. But this is nothing new. Communist Russia, through the party mouthpiece Pravda, demonstrated these same skills long ago. And so, if George Will is a typical example, this is the impression one is left with of contemporary neoconservatism: anti-truth, anti-middle class and completely lost in a fantasy bubble of their own making.


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