Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Detroit 2013 - A Preview of 21st Century America

In between the Zimmerman verdict and Royal Baby birth, something catastrophic and foreshadowing occurred to one of the most productive US cities in the 20th century - Detroit filed for bankruptcy. Everyone saw it coming, and everyone in the general vicinity of the once-great city has blood on their hands. This post will examine what went wrong, why it will eventually hit other large cities, and really creative things to do with what's left of Detroit if I were the poor slob responsible for turning the city around.

How the hell did Detroit get into this mess?

It's common knowledge that the Motor City has been overrun with crooked Democrats since 1962. Once the poster boy of the American automotive industry, Detroit sold its soul to Union thugs, engaged in large-scale corruption, and got its one-trick pony ass handed to it when the Japanese started producing (gasp) quality cars. What could cause a city of 1.8m people in the 1950's to drop down to 700,000 today (60% reduction)? Full disclosure - I've never been to Detroit, but then again I've never been to Afghanistan or Siberia either, and am completely fine passing judgment on the living conditions there without forcing myself to visit them. So shut your mouth. Here's a Homey The Clown sock to the head of Detroit fun facts for you to chew on (source:

- $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities.
- 300k manufacturing jobs in 1960 (about 17% of peak population). Now its less than 27k.
- 50% of Michigan manufacturing jobs were lost from 2000-2010.
- 47% of Detroiters are functionally illiterate. More on this later.
- Police force down 40% in ten years.
- Violent crime 5x national average. Murders 11x that of NYC.

The heavy reliance on the auto industry that 'drove' Detroit to being one of the most prosperous cities in the United States fifty years ago ended up becoming its undoing. Cars exploded in the 1950's and Detroit was at the forefront. A sustainable business model was created, as Ford, GM, and Chrysler set up plants and other manufacturing facilities to crank out cars to North America. Then the city went down an ugly road after the 1967 riots caused massive civil unrest. The residents then proceeded to elect Democrat Union-dick sucking mayors for 50 years, continued to lavishly fund pensions without thinking of the downstream impacts, refused to develop other services outside of automobiles due to lack of vision, innovation and intellectual curiousity. Allowed drugs and crime to fester, forcing white flight and its most important taxpayers to the suburbs. Racial bitterness persisted (on both sides of the coin), as the conservative white suburbs were pitted against the failing black city of Detroit. It didn't help the situation that they actually kept their schools segregated and through a Supreme Court decision would not bus students across district lines! Kept pumping money into failing school systems that never seemed to improve themselves over the past 30 years. Crooked official after crooked official seemed to find their way to Detroit, some even winning mayoral elections. Below is a brief list of the scumbags that led Detroit into oblivion ('bolivion' as Mike Tyson would say):

- Kwame Kilpatrick (former mayor) - felony obstruction of justice
- Charlie Beckham (current mayor Dave Bing's former chief advisor) - accepting bribes, corruption
- Tom Barrow (former mayoral contender) - tax evasion
- Monica Conyers (former city council president, wife of congressman John Conyers) - federal bribery charges

These are some of the assholes running things in Detroit. No wonder they can't seem to get anything right. And that's BEFORE we even discuss the unsustainable pension problems. We're now on the precipice of witnessing millions of Detroit pensioners running the risk of NOT receiving their pensions due to the bankruptcy. As mentioned earlier, a dwindling tax base, a 16% city unemployment rate (down from 28% four years ago, but still shitty), city maintenance costs increasing, abandoned buildings and vacant lots and lack of visionary politicians to find a way to fund these pensions. Well, this is what happens. Now the General Retirement System goes from 83% funded to 65%, while the police and fire pension goes from 100% funded to 78%. Expect those numbers to continue to go down. Lots of gravy train manufacturing 20/30/40 years ago + uncaving Union thugs + rewarding malfeasance and corruption = Detroit in distress. Sorry city residents, you could see this coming from a mile away. You chose it by voting in the same 'rotten to the core' types of leaders. You wouldn't divert from 'business as usual' in Detroit. You didn't learn new skill sets to keep your job more valuable or indispensible. You didn't account for Japan or Korea and now India creating successful car companies. But you kept doing the same thing, pointing your fingers and guilt-tripping those that were smart enough to escape the wrath and chase a better life in Suburbia. Here's a sign that the understaffed police department put up because Detroit isn't even worth protecting anymore:

The school are in shambles too. As mentioned earlier, 47% of the students are functionally illiterate. 70% of 4th graders and 77% of 8th graders score below basic skill levels in math on the NAEP test. The Detroit public school system even stooped so low as to make the teachers loan them $10,000 through 40 $250 paycheck deductions as a means of ensuring payroll needs were met. Teachers would get the money back (interest free of course) once they left the school. 70% of children are born to single mothers (third rail of common sense 'this is what's fucking wrong with our inner cities' remarks that gets you labeled as 'ignorant'). Charter schools were capped because they were 'taking away good teachers from the failing public schools'). Ok, why are liberals so against charter schools and school choice? Why is it that the free market playing out and attracting the best of the best (of Detroit, not saying much) is offensive to the public sector? Listen, I love teachers and always respect them. But if you are in a failing environment that isn't getting better, and you are powerless to control it, get the hell out and go to a suburban environment where your quality of life is better. 70% of students from broken homes and corrupt administrations are not a good combination for you to get in the middle of.

The final straw for many was when successful philanthropist Bob Thompson, who gave half of his fortune to his former employees, wanted to donate the other half of his fortune in the form of 15 new Detroit charter schools. The amount was $200 million. Detroit balked at the idea, and current inmate/ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told him to led the public school system dictate how the $200m was spent. Union organizers blocked it under the idea that it would take away their precious school teachers. Guess what? Thompson withdrew his offer. Fortunately he ended up sprucing up three charter schools, but a perfect opportunity was missed because of 'business as usual':

So we know Detroit basically has a fork sticking out of its back. We can pretend it will turn around but it won't. Those manufacturing jobs aren't coming back. Those pensions won't be paid out at 100% (or even 50% for some of them). The racial divide persists (though I thought that was supposed to disappear during the 2009-2017 Obama years?). Now suburbanites who escaped the decay of Detroit will soon be asked to foot the bill for Detroit's financial woes. This is liberalism, corruption, and union thuggery run amuck. Now I'm sure there are other towns run by conservatives that have fallen on hard times, but this is formerly the 4th largest city in America in the 1960's. It's the home of Motown. This is a big deal. Countless other cities on the west coast continue to flounder (see: California - Stockton, San Bernardino). Many more are coming down the pike.

Here's a few 'Detroits of Tomorrow' to whet your whistle - Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Portland, and Sante Fe. Look out for stagnant economic growth, high levels of unemployment, steep 'leaver' rates, unsustainable levels of under-funded retiree benefits, and skyrocketing health care costs for retirees (and not to mention the perverted spectre in the background known as Obamacare, which will cost 2x as much as we were promised). Check these two graphs out to see which cities are on the radar over the next decade based on leavers (see bolded variables above, as 'leaving' doesn't necessarily cause city bankruptcy):

So in light of all that, what do we do next? I have some suggestions.

1. Bulldoze the whole fucking place. Make a big parking lot or one big national park. This will be a memorial for what America used to be before we got too big for our britches. This is what happens when we stop innovating, produce crappy products, expect to be overcompensated for it, break the law, look gift horses in the mouth, and depart from what made this country great - capitalism.

2. Roll the dice and only elect successful venture capitalists and turn-around experts to prominent political positions. Democrats had the last 50 years. They failed. Time for a change. One problem - Republicans are pussies. So elect some Independents or Austrian School of Economics Libertarians.

3. Let the city's public schools fail. It can't get much worse. "Yeah and how are these poor people going to pay for it, you brat?" Utilize the school voucher system. Have government redirect existing, already committed subsidies from the failing public school to the parents of the child going to the charter school. A 2012 study by the Mackinac Center For Public Policy showed cost per student in Detroit in 2011 was $19,000. Per each dumb student. Give that money in the form of a school voucher each year to the poor parent(s) so their kid can get a chance to succeed in life. Draft legislation that encourages charter school startups. Get out of this segregated 'white vs black' mindset. Democrats want division. They're inherently condescending to minorities - "You can't do it by yourself, you need us you helpless piece of shit." What the hell have they done for you Detroit? Watch charter schools pop up and out-perform the public school system. Watch grades and literacy rates and math scores and graduation rates skyrocket. Take note and implement this in every city that is struggling. Stop playing the fucking race card.

4. Sew up the vagina of these 70% of single mothers and cut the penis off of the men that knocked them up. Only kidding so stop getting all angry. This is a problem though. Of course, the rates will somehow continue to hover in the 70% range even AFTER my suggestion. But my suggestion makes lives better. Children will (gasp) know both parents, go to a charter school, learn things, become successful, pay higher taxes, give back to the community, perhaps even MOVE back to the community, and BOOM Detroit begins to grow again.

5. See #1.

Hang in there Detroit. It'll get better. Not. You won't do any of the above. You won't rein in the corruption, you won't payout those pensions. You won't improve your school systems. You won't change your voting style. Detroit is the first of many large American cities to file for bankruptcy. Baltimore. Cleveland. Philadelphia. Don't pick on them, pray for them. It's coming to your city soon.

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