28 December 2012

Paragraphs to Ponder

Here’s Chuck on Detroit:

By scare-quoting ‘emergency’, this woman denies that a shrinking populace and a shrinking tax base have sent the city into death spiral.  Nothing is being stolen from the people of Detroit.  There’s nothing to steal.  She ignores that the existing residents of Detroit have not bucked up and saved their city.  They have not adapted.  They are passive recipients of whatever politicians are willing to allocate to them.  Where is the organic, grassroots drive to create something of substance there that can support public services?  Lacking such drive, community organizers acting on behalf of ignorant and non-starting citizens must lay blame at external forces.  And as usual, the activists and citizens aren’t asking for help, they’re demanding justice.  This is a way to get help while maintaining ego and political power.
And what speeds up the entire death spiral process is the desperate election of activists and political organizers like Herreda who take the stage because they are the only ones who are actually offering solutions, however wrong-headed.  Nobody wants to hear “well, this is just a process that has to run its course.”  Instead, they’re drawn to the firebrand who cries for action.
As Shikha Dalmia has pointed out, the city of Detroit has exorbitant property and income taxes – the highest in the state.  Yet receipts for both have fallen 28% and 50% respectively as property values and incomes have fallen as the more prosperous citizens move away.  Desperate attempts do not work in the midst of the death spiral, they speed it up.

Detroit is progressive policy, writ large.  Unsurprisingly, it has failed completely.  High taxes, anti-business government policy, rampant welfare and government assistance have completely failed the city of Detroit.  A successful community is always built on production, and must recognize the inherent limits of economic conditions.  It’s always nice to dream of a utopia where producers are magically productive and can treat their employees as spoiled children.  The real world doesn’t work that way, an so the constant efforts to ensure social justice by taxing producers and capital end up hurting the poor because producers and holders of capital—getting the clear message sent by those wielding political power—just up and leave, thus ensuring that those who are suffering injustice (the often lazy, complaining poor) have little or nothing.  But at least they’re no longer being exploited by big business.

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