Guest Opinion: The Road to Detroit
Guest | On 23, Jan 2013
Forget about a fast ride to Greece. Never mind France. The actual road that President Obama’s taking the country down at breakneck speed is closer to home. It’s a road straight to a city on the brink of insolvency. It’s a road right to a city collapsing under unsustainable debt. It’s a one way road to a place completely averse to growth and job creation.
Over the fiscal cliff or not, for America the destination’s Detroit – population 700,000 and shrinking – the city that has faithfully practiced the very same high taxing and big bureaucratic policies that the president is bringing national without fail for over half a century. And let there be no mistake about it, from its crumbling financial house on down to its stunning refusal to reverse course, Detroit is Obama’s America all inside of 139 square miles. It’s also the ultimate coming attraction as to just exactly where the country’s careening to with Obama firmly at the wheel for another term as your president.
Under the thumb of Democratic Party rule for over 50 years, Detroit – once revered worldwide for its industrial prowess and abundant middle class – is the scene of one of the progressive agenda’s greatest crimes. Plagued for decades by epidemic poverty, joblessness, pervasive blight, and political dysfunction, Detroit’s cataclysmic fall from being a major urban American city once home to nearly two million and positioned to rival Chicago into one whose political ruling class cannot manage to budget for functioning street lights to keep those who’ve yet to flee out of the dark when night falls is in its cold hard numbers.
Broke and facing the real prospect of having to enter into Chapter 9 bankruptcy, Detroit’s painful decent into the abyss goes well beyond a potential over $50 million budgetary shortfall come June 1st. Strangled by public sector unions and what its beleaguered mayor Dave Bing just a few short weeks ago called a “sense of entitlement,” Detroit’s long term debt is assessed by some analysts to be approaching $15 billion and rising. To make matters worse, municipal bonds – the sole vehicle keeping Detroit afloat – were recently downgraded below junk status.
What’s Detroit’s – particularly its nine member elected city council members – preferred antidote to its perpetual negative cash flow and crushing high debt choking off any chance at lifting itself out from under? Astonishingly, nothing short of unabashedly continuing on with the same big government prescription that President Obama is about to dispense onto the entire country. The Detroit City Council model – the one about to be emulated nationally – of big taxes, big fees, big spending, big bureaucratic red tape, and big plans of a turnaround not rooted in reality that Obama is hell bent on unleashing onto America has never failed to yield tangible results.
Shamefully, tangible results in Detroit have come in the form of unrelenting human suffering courtesy of chronically high unemployment that Bing has himself estimated at 50 percent in certain swaths of the city and a poverty rate that that continues to ravage no less than 35 percent of Detroit’s remaining inhabitants.
But above all else, Detroit’s most damning statistic is undoubtedly its most tragic. Nearly 58 percent of Detroit’s children live in poverty with hardly any chance at moving – as Obama would say – “forward.”
Elections always come with consequences. Elections always bring about changes.
It goes without saying that millions of voters may have truly wanted to get on with fundamentally changing America by re-electing President Obama. Unbeknownst to them, all they’re really going to be getting during the next four years is a whole lot of Detroit.
John Sitkiewicz is a Metro Detroit Business Writer and Political Commentator
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Editor’s Note: The photo for this article was changed after a reader pointed out that the slum was not actually that of Detroit. The replacement photo shows that Detroit is actually much worse.