By: George Noga – September 17, 2013
Suppose, just suppose, there was a place in America where we could test and showcase liberal ideas for over a half century of continuous governance according to strict progressive shibboleths. Surely such a place, if it existed, would prove beyond doubt that liberalism works. Surely its economy would thrive and hordes of people would move there. Surely it would bring about a veritable Xanadu and demonstrate once and for all the bankruptcy and depravity of capitalism, free markets and conservatism.
Suppose such a place had no right to work law, strict gun control and a living wage far above the federal minimum wage. Suppose its schools spent far above the national average per pupil and both its government and private sector workers were heavily unionized with truly exceptional pay, benefits and job security. Suppose its tax system aggressively redistributed income from business and the wealthy to the poor. Suppose continuously since 1962 it had been governed at all levels by liberal Democrats. Such a place actually does exist; it is called Detroit.
What has happened to this liberal paragon under a half century of progressive stewardship? Its population dropped 62%; over 1.1 million people have fled this leftist Xanadu, preferring instead putative free market hell holes. It has massive corruption, 16% unemployment and only 7% of students are proficient in reading. It has 80,000 abandoned buildings, resembling Tokyo after the fire bombing. It has $20 billion in official debt and billions more in unfunded liabilities. It had the highest per capita income of any large American city in 1950; today it is the second poorest. It has the second highest murder rate of any American city. It repels people possessing skill, ambition, talent and entrepreneurial instinct. And it is bankrupt.
Of course, liberals don’t accept any responsibility; the best they can do is blame corporations; how utterly lame is that? Does this mean businesses therefore are responsbile for successful cities? And it isn’t just Detroit; the 10 poorest large cities in the USA according to the Census Bureau all have been under liberal Democratic rule for decades, many for over a half century – the same is largely true of states and, for that matter, countries.
Liberalism is shown to be a complete and abject failure wherever it is tried; Detroit is merely the latest poster city. Liberals won’t accept blame because to do so would expose progressivism for what it truly is – an engine for corruption, unemployment, economic disaster, crime, blight, failed schools and untold human misery. Over 1.1 million people have voted with their feet to get the heck out. Most fundamentally, liberalism failed because liberalism is a lie!
Fix Detroit Overnight: Declare it a Free City
When I write about a problem, I usually include a solution. What Detroit needs is the dead opposite of what has made it a veritable hell-on-earth. Serendipitously, this would serve as a further, albeit unnecessary, test of capitalist, free market principles such as those that have transformed Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and all places they have been implemented. The solution is elegantly simple: first thing tomorrow morning declare Detroit a free city.
“Declare Detroit a free city tomorrow; it will become a beacon forthe rest of America – showing the path to liberty and prosperity.”
The free city declaration would include total economic freedom, secure property rights impartial courts and basic criminal justice. All federal and state taxes and regulations – along with federal and state aid – would be abolished. All existing public contracts, pensions and employment would be terminated. There would be no OSHA, EEOC, IRS, HHS, EPA, ObamaCare, immigration controls, minimum wage, zoning, inspections, licensing, gun control; you get the picture. All government services would be privatized. Public education would be 100% voucherized and non union. To cap it off, everything would be guaranteed for 50 years!
Success would not come overnight, but come it would and in much less than the 50 years it took to create the disaster that is today’s Detroit. Expect to be flabbergasted by the hard working, ambitious and talented entrepreneurs who flood into the new free city of Detroit. You will be equally amazed by the outpouring of energy and enthusiasm of ordinary people sensing opportunity. It will become a showcase for the best America has to offer. The new free city of Detroit will become a beacon for the rest of America showing the way to liberty and prosperity.