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Detroit – The Failed American Experiment

By Michael Reisig

Well it finally happened: Detroit went under, gurgling and gasping like The Titanic, lost to bankruptcy. We did everything we could to prevent this from happening – not strictly from a humanitarian or an economic standpoint, but because Detroit represented a portion of the great experiment. Many years ago, we were a nation with burgeoning minorities and it was the fervent hope of all that this new wave of emerging peoples would struggle through the expected adjustment period, and become viable, productive elements of America. Detroit represented one of the major hubs for these expectations.

The government saw problems coming a generation ago and fed Detroit like a fat baby, giving the city every conceivable form of aid available in America. We provided its auto industry bailout after bailout, spent billions on its school systems, and billions more on infrastructure, free housing, free phones, free lunches, and welfare projects by the hundreds – while ignoring all Detroit’s graft, inept business management, vastly unrealistic city employee contracts, horrendous crime, municipal fraud, swindling, and dupery, drug gangs, daily murders, and the screaming statistics that made the city one of the most overwhelmingly racially imbalanced municipalities in the US. In addition, at the heart of it all was the incredible growth of counter culture minority gangs. Like a virus, this new societal anomaly of gang culture expanded unchecked in the hearts of our cities. It has torn down the walls of decorum in places like Detroit, and even with all the intense assistance, city programs, and federal aid, today Detroit makes Mexico City look like Disneyworld.

Liberal pundits argue that it was a failing auto industry, a decline in labor-intensive manufacturing, and urban blight that brought Detroit to its knees.  Here’s the truth – no one wants to live in Detroit. The city lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. No one wants to live in a place where there are whole neighborhoods that are practically deserted, where basic services like water and electricity have simply been cut off – a place where arson fires light the horizon at night, and a trip to the supermarket can be a life or death experience. Forty percent of streetlights don’t work and response time for police in emergency situations is nearly an hour. With a violent crime rate almost eight times the national average, Detroit is something straight out of a James Cameron movie.

Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and in 1960 it had the highest per-capita income of the entire nation.  It was the greatest manufacturing city the world had ever seen, and the rest of the globe looked at it with a sense of awe and wonder. Today Detroit has a budget deficit estimated to be more than $380 million and long-term debt that could be as much as $20 billion. No one knows how to fix it, and a huge part of the problem is no one wants to admit that this great experiment has failed. The result has been embarrassing at best and terrifying at worst.

Beyond the immediate chaos in Detroit, are the long-reaching ramifications for America, and I’m reminded of a piece by the author and columnist Michael Snyder:

“Large U.S. cities that the rest of the world used to look at in envy are now being transformed into gang-infested hellholes with skyrocketing crime rates.  Cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Camden, East St. Louis, New Orleans, and Oakland were once bustling with economic activity, but as industry has fled those communities poverty has exploded and so has criminal activity.  Meanwhile, financial problems have caused all of those cities to significantly reduce their police forces.  Sadly, this same pattern is being repeated in hundreds of communities all over the nation.  There are approximately 1.4 million gang members living in America today according to the FBI.  That number has shot up by a whopping 40 percent just since 2009.  There are several factors fueling this trend:  illegal immigration, epidemic unemployment among our young people, and the fact that nearly one out of every three U.S. children lives in a home without a father. If nothing is done about this, the violence and the crime that is fueled by these gangs will continue to spread, and eventually nearly every single community in the United States will be affected by it.”

Detroit is just the first domino…

The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.