December 4, 2013

What happens when Liberals stay in power for any extended period of time?

Answer -- Detroit.

Tuesday, Federal Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit can use bankruptcy to cut employee pensions and relieve itself of other crushing debts, handing a defeat to the city's unions and retirees and shifting the case into a delicate new phase. The city's demise was fast in coming.

Here is a city that hasn't had a Republican mayor since 1961, hasn't had a Republican majority on the city's council since 1967, and whose last Republican council member left office in 1993.

Culturally, the last white mayor left office in 1973 and the last white city council member stepped down in 2009. Before she decided not to seek reelection, Sheila Cochran was the only white member of the council since 1998.

Detroit is the largest majority-black city in America. In the 1950s, when Detroit's population reached its 2 million peak, nearly 1.6 million white people lived here. In 1990, whites were represented in a few major elected posts, even though every department head and appointed position was led by African-Americans (and had been since 1986). In the 1990 census, whites comprised only about 20% of the population. With the 2010 census whites make up barely 8% of the city's estimated 912,000 residents.

The 2010 census also reported some startling stats which is the major reason for a bankrupt city. The population is 83 percent African-American, 82 percent of whom receive some form or mix of Federal, State and/or Local social benefits or subsidies such as food stamps, welfare, disability, Section 8 housing, Medicaid and WIC.

10 percent of Detroit's population is Hispanic over half of whom receive subsidies and/or entitlements.

Of the 8 percent who are white, only one-in-nine is unemployed and less than one-eighth of them receive any kind of aid.

All told, less than 19 percent of the people living in the city work and pay taxes. Four times as many do not work and receive aid, many of whom racking up larger sums in benefits than those who work full time. With one person supporting four people, it doesn't take long for the house to come tumbling down.

Judge Rhodes, who wondered aloud why the bankruptcy had not happened years ago, said pensions can be altered just like any contract because the Michigan Constitution does not offer bulletproof protection for employee benefits. But he signaled a desire for a measured approach and warned city officials that they must be prepared to defend any deep reductions. Nothing can be done about the huge entitlement payouts the city is bound to fund.

"This once proud and prosperous city can't pay its debts. It's insolvent," Rhodes said in formally granting Detroit the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history. "At the same time, it also has an opportunity for a fresh start."

The ruling came more than four months after Detroit filed for Chapter 9 protection.

Back on July 22, Conservative Radio Political talking head Rush Limbaugh attributed Detroit's demise on "unchecked liberalism." The following week, he told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that the large black population in Detroit caused a "white flight" from the urban center to suburbia, ultimately leading to the city's demise.

Let's consider the data - the facts:

From 1910 to 1970, millions of African-Americans migrated from the South in pursuit of manufacturing opportunities in the Midwest and Northeast. Detroit was a particularly popular destination due to its burgeoning automotive industry. Prior to this Great Migration, the African-American population in Detroit was approximately 6,000. By the 1930s, that number has ballooned to 120,000, a twenty-fold increase. Movement to Detroit would continue well into the Great Depression and World War II, as jobs in artillery production were plentiful.

The rapid shift in Detroit's demographics led to racial hostility. Social tensions were further perpetuated when many desegregation policies were signed into law in the 1950s, forcing residents to integrate.

For years, violent racial riots engulfed the city, but the most destructive one occurred on Sunday, July 23, 1967. A police confrontation with patrons at a local unlicensed bar sparked a five day riot that left 43 dead, 467 injured, 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. The violence and destruction only ended when the National Guard and Army were ordered to intervene.

Shortly after this "12th street riot", many residents started to flee the city, particularly the whites. They moved out by the thousands into neighboring suburbs such as Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Auburn Hills. By 2010, whites only made up 8.2% of Detroit's population.

In this city of 900,000 people, the number of cops has steadily fallen, from about 5,000 a decade ago to fewer than 3,000 today. Detroit homicides — the second-highest per capita in the country last year, according to the FBI — rose by 10 percent in 2011 to 344 people.

Average police response time for priority calls in the city, according to the latest data available, is 24 minutes. In comparable cities across the country, it is well under 10 minutes.

Citizens feel they have been left with little choice but to take the law into their own hands.

The number of justifiable homicides, in which residents use deadly force in self-defense, jumped from 19 in 2010 to 34 last year — a 79 percent rise — according to newly released city data.

Riots, property crimes, murders, robbery and a black-white incarceration rate of 16-to-1, along with a sympathetic liberal, closed-eye, careless worldview has been the real reason behind "white-flight." White-flight has, in turn, been the real reason behind the lack of any tax base for a city that up until now had the eighth largest municipal budget in the nation. There just is no money.

Former hospital executive Mike Duggan takes over as mayor in January, the third mayor since Kwame Kilpatrick quit in a scandal in 2008 and the first white mayor in forty years. He is also a Republican! His election was, for lack of a better word, a fluke. But it is welcomed.

Judge Rhodes' set the stage for officials to confront $18 billion in debt with a plan that might pay creditors just pennies on the dollar and is sure to include touchy negotiations over the pensions of about 23,000 retirees and 9,000 workers. Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevin Orr says pension funds are short by $3.5 billion.

The city has argued that bankruptcy protection will allow it to help beleaguered residents who for years have tolerated slow police responses, darkened streetlights and erratic garbage pickup — a concern mentioned by the judge during a nine-day trial that ended Nov. 8. It is all but gauranteed the Obama Government will provide Federal funding to supplement the city's obligation to provide its portion of entitlements.

Now that a Republican will soon sit in the Mayor's Chair and with the help of a Republican Governor and state legislature, it is possible Detroit will, in ten years, be revived and renewed. If this happens the Motor City will become a true success story and it won't be due to the liberal madness of the Democratic pandering to minorities, unions and special interests who refused to make constructive contributions to a once vibrant city.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.