Imagine a city where all the major economic planks of the statist or “progressive” platform have been enacted:
- A “living wage” ordinance, far above the federal minimum wage, for all public employees and private contractors.
- A school system that spends significantly more per pupil than the national average.
- A powerful school employee union that militantly defends the exceptional pay, benefits and job security it has won for its members.
- Other government employee unions that do the same for their members.
- A tax system that aggressively redistributes income from businesses and the wealthy to the poor and to government bureaucracies.
Would this be a shining city on a hill, exciting the admiration of all? We don’t have to guess, because there is such a city right here in our state: Detroit
Detroit has been dubbed “the most liberal city in America” and each of these “progressive” policies is alive and well there. How have they worked out?
In 1950, Detroit was the wealthiest city in America on a per capita income basis. Today, the Census Bureau reports that it is the nation’s 2nd poorest major city, just “edging out” Cleveland.
Suffice to say that Cleveland is another formerly great city that has been struggling. Which is a polite way of saying it’s become a stinking cesspool of crime, drugs, and failed socialism.
Both cities are victims of greedy unions, shifts from manufacturing to information and technology, and white flight. Neither has been able to fully adjust; Detroit is arguable much worse, but hope springs eternal.
Who knows? The auto workers’ bosses could awaken one morning and decide to urge sacrifice on their membership. The sun could also rise in the West…
Lessons learned? Not by other would-be basket cases on the state level like California, New York, and, last but not least, Illinois. And, worst of all, we have a president who believes that the way to prosperity is to tax, spend, redistribute. Repeat as needed.