But there’s no way a city of 680,000 people who work as short-order cooks, home healthcare aides and daycare providers can support an infrastructure built for 1.8 million who worked as autoworkers, engineers and mechanics.
Since Detroit can’t maintain the accouterments of a modern American city with its current tax base, the most practical solution to its problems is regional consolidation. Detroit should merge with its suburbs, as Miami, Indianapolis and Toronto did. A megacity composed of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties would contain 3.9 million people, making it the second-largest city in the United States. Detroit could consolidate its police and fire services — which consume nearly 60 percent of its general fund budget — with surrounding departments.
So far, that has been politically impossible, because of black-white resentment and urban-suburban enmity dating back to the 1967 riot, and encouraged by such race-baiting politicians as Detroit Mayors Coleman Young and Kwame Kilpatrick, and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Detroiters didn’t want to share power with the suburbs, and suburbanites didn’t want to share tax revenue with Detroit. Now that Detroit has become a ward of the state, with Mayor Dave Bing’s powers usurped by the emergency manager, the city’s objection is moot. Suburbanites would still resist, but they’d benefit from the efficiency of a single local government, and from a stronger central city, which would make the entire area more attractive to out-of-state business. As for complaints that the suburbs would be forced to subsidize the city’s underfunded-by-$3.5-billion public pension system, well, hundreds of thousands of suburbanites grew up in Detroit, where they were educated by schoolteachers and kept safe by cops and firefighters who are now in danger of having their retirement benefits cut. Moving across 8 Mile Road should not relieve them of all responsibilities to the city they fled.
Unless Detroit and its suburbs start cooperating, Michigan will continue losing jobs, residents and college diplomas faster than any state in the nation.
The most hopeful Detroiter I know is a young Polish-American woman who grew up in the suburbs, graduated from Harvard and, in an act of reverse white flight, bought a Mies van der Rohe condo by the Detroit River. She believes that her generation can bridge the divide across 8 Mile, which is culturally, sociologically and economically even wider than the street’s name suggests.
“The younger generation is not as racially divided,” she said. “A lot of it is pop culture. If you grew up in the ’80s, ‘The Cosby Show’ was on TV. We didn’t fight those battles during and after the riot. We don’t carry those scars.”
The young Polish American woman is in for a rude awakening. They never publish actual successes; they publish liberals who say the right things and propose that “it will get better in teh future because” blah blah blah the Cosbys, et cetera.
Commenters priceless as usual:
JVR 15 minutes ago
Interesting article — but I am left wondering at several implications of the accusation:
(1) Why is there an assumption that concentrating black people in Detriot (by migration and white flight) will harm the city? Is it really so that white people are needed for a city to be good? Why is there this implication that a majority black demography is bad?
(2) The whites who left to the suburbs in white flight are of course Leftists who worked hard on Leftwing causes. They do suffer from a cognitive dissonance about this, on the one hand they support Obama and AA, on the other hand they relocate to escape large black populations. A similar dynamic is seen in contemporary (black ruled) South Africa — white liberals and leftists who opposed apartheid and worked closely with the ANC emigrated when Nelson Mandela became president. If they did not emigrate, then their families emigrated in a large scale white flight — Many of South Africa’s pre-eminent white leftwing families do not live in South Africa anymore, they forced the hapless Boers into a constitution where the ANC takes and rules everything and then they themselves depart for NY or London (or Sydney and Toronto). Talk about hypocrisy, similar in kind to the white Left in the USA who lives in upper crust white neighbourhoods while they champion minority rights.
Dylar 16 minutes ago
Are we required to do everything? At what point will colored folks be strong enough to stand on their own feet?
Gerry Q 20 minutes ago
If the headline said “Lack of white people killed Detroit”, it may or may not have been right but it would be a better match to the contents of the article.