Detroit was arguably the most prosperous city in the world in the 1920s. Today, however, whole neighborhoods are abandoned; still-occupied neighborhoods are in a frightful state of decay; some of the streets are so rough you would think that the military used them for target practice. Most startling is that the median sale price for a house in the once-thriving city of Detroit this January was $7,500. Yes, 75 HUNDRED, not “thousand.” You can buy two or three houses in Detroit today for the price of one new car.
So writes Professor Mark Hendrickson of Grove City College. He explains how the unions and government took over most of the industry of his hometown much earlier than in many other cities in America. The mayor and city council began to see government as a mechanism for redistributing wealth and the city became known for corruption (“rife with nepotism and favoritism”).
Taxes were raised causing people to leave Detroit. And when they moved out and had to commute to work, taxes were put on income commuters made in the city limits. Businesses uprooted, leaving the once-prosperous city. Education became more and more unionized and soured. Crime soared. The downward spiral continued.
We should keep these self-inflicted tragedies in mind in considering whether to assent to the massive expansion of government that President Obama and his congressional allies are seeking. We don’t want the whole country to share the fate of Detroit.