Thursday, March 24, 2011

Detroit’s Liberal Nightmare

Auto unions killed the industry in Detroit and the teachers union still has the schools in a vise. Liberal policies simply do not work.

Detroit, once known as “the great arsenal of democracy,” has made headlines of late for its notorious fall from grace. The “Big Three” automakers are no longer the biggest, falling behind their overseas rivals, and the Michigan economy lost 450,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 10 years all while Detroit lost population. And while the Motor City suffers unemployment from a decimated automotive industry, it suffers crime, high taxes, poor city services, plummeting home values, and a public education system in shambles with a $327 million budget deficit and a 19 percent dropout rate. Is it any wonder people are leaving in droves?

But to understand why folks are really leaving Detroit, it’s worth looking where they’re headed. As Detroit suffered a population loss, its neighboring suburban counties with lower crime, better schools and an improving economic outlook saw their population increase. One former Detroiter told The Detroit News, “Detroit just got too messy for me … I was not getting the benefits of those tax dollars. The city services are poor and I could not use the school system. And you look at the cost of living and the corruption, we had to leave.” In other words, bad government drove her out, and she’s seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

For the record, Detroit has been under liberal leadership for decades. And the city’s big problem today is that its road forward is blocked by the very same political machine that helped deliver it to its state of ruin. Case in point: the state’s powerful teachers unions. In 2003, a philanthropist pledged $200 million for the creation of 15 charter schools in the city. Despite the city’s tragic public school system, the plan failed and the offer was withdrawn following protests by the Detroit Federation of Teachers. Little has changed, eight years later. A state-appointed emergency financial manager has proposed sweeping changes to the city’s public school system, including a plan to convert 41 of the city’s schools to charter schools. Guess who’s opposed to the reforms? That very same union.

Read full Heritage Foundation article here.

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