The American City Is Dying

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


In an interview with the New Republic, Obama finally admitted that gun control was an urban problem. “The reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas,” he said. That admission might have been welcome if it had been packaged along with a serious conversation about what is wrong with cities like Chicago. Instead all the big problems are covered over with more claptrap about doing it for the children.

Speaking of the children, Mayor Emanuel and Mayor Bloomberg, Obama’s favorite big city mayors who can be reliably counted on to push his agenda, found themselves kneecapped by education unions who aren’t there for the children, but are there for themselves.

The New York City bus driver strike is underway along with the usual tire slashings and union leaders insisting that they’re only slashing the tires for the children. These tactics usually work, they did in Chicago, as harried parents can be counted on to tell the city to shut up and give the nice teachers what they want so that the behemoth of the educational system can roll on. But what they want is quickly becoming impossible.

Chicago teachers have the highest average salary of any city, $75,000 a year, while administrators make $120,000, even though only 20 percent of their 8th grade students are grade-proficient in math. Chicago schools have an annual budget of $5.11 billion for a student body that is 87% low-income and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

In 1985, the budget for all of Chicago was $2.1 billion or less than half of the current school budget. But that doesn’t work too well now when Chicago teacher pensions alone account for $1 billion a year. Arne Duncan tried and failed to reform the system, and as a reward got kicked upstairs to become Obama’s Secretary of Education. Rahm Emanuel tried to buy off the teachers with a pay hike in exchange for evaluations and had his teeth handed to him.

In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg was too busy pushing big issues like gun control and global warming to be ready to cope with a strike by bus drivers. Transporting students to school now costs over 1 billion dollars a year or $7,000 per student. New York City has 1.1 million students of whom 165,000 are special education students. That percentage is similar to that of Chicago and Los Angeles, which speaks volumes about resident demographics.

Bloomberg came into office as the education mayor and during his time in office the city’s debt doubled to $110 billion. In 1975, New York City almost went bankrupt over $14 billion of debt. The reasons for that crisis were the same bad habits that the city and most cities are still governed by today. Pensions are underfunded, budgets are based on imaginary revenues and accounting tricks are used to hide debt and inflate revenue until the bottom falls out.

In Chicago, in Daley’s last ten years, its debt rose 96.9 percent and almost a quarter of the city budget goes to servicing that debt.  The worst is yet to come with unfunded pensions in Chicago, in New York City and across the country spilling over and eventually consuming as much as 75% of tax revenues. Not that this is likely to happen, because by then most of the tax base will be gone, leaving behind schools full of low-income special education students waiting to be put through a unionized educational bridge to nowhere that no one can afford to pay for anymore.

That’s not some wild post-apocalyptic fantasy; it’s the near future.

The American city is dying. It used to serve as a center of transportation and industry. Today the city holds a few knowledge industries and some secondary industries catering to them, but is mostly full of low-income immigrants whose big dream is to get a government job with good benefits. Until then there are government benefits that don’t require government jobs.

Chicago’s population fell by 150,000 in the last 3 years. New York City lost 200,000 people around the same time. Most American cities have been facing population declines, and while they haven’t entered the population freefall zone of Detroit or New Orleans, which are permanently broken, even those that haven’t gone all the way down the hole have an uncertain future.

The social reformers who used to be the band aids on the city’s growth have become its entire reason for being. Social welfare is the only thing that cities do anymore. Its broken school systems are forever trying to dig their students out of a hole while plunging their economy deeper into it. The alliance between community activists and public sector unions has created a runaway monster that no one from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Rahm Emanuel has been able to stop.

Politicians have usually found it easier to pay off the representatives of human dysfunction and their caretakers than put up a fight. With the coming of the recession even liberal politicians have discovered that they may need to fight, but it’s too late.

It’s easier for cities like New York City and Chicago to shake down their remaining financial industries than to try and win the bloody fight against the unions and their affiliated parasites. Unlike unions, corporations are willing to pay out, but they will also move on. Financial industries are now less tied to cities than ever before. The city is a matter of image and convenience, and a collapsing city is good for neither.

It’s no wonder that the cities voted for Obama and that their vote carried him over the top. Unlike the rest of the country, there is no answer to the problems of the cities except more government money. Their tottering educational systems depend on large infusions of federal cash. So does the rest of it.

When New York City hit the wall in 1975, it needed federal help. But most of the major cities are going to hit the wall sooner or later. Whether or not there will be enough federal money by then to bail them out is an open question, but for the moment federal money can delay the moment of collision. And the worst news is that the federal government is the city on a macroscopic scale run by a representative of the worst in urban politics.

The Obama administration has won a triumphant victory in imposing the irrational social and economic values of the city on the rest of the country. But while the liberal tycoons and college students who made it happen are celebrating, it’s a coup with no future. All that they have done is put the country on the same dead end track as the city.

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  • FPF

    When politicians in government make law in favor of union and union in tern use the favor to forcefully collect money from members and then give back to politicians in the government, it's an obvious conflict of interest!

  • Mary Sue

    Wow, I'm surprised that Rahm Emmanuel actually tried to fix things.

    • Tess

      Uh huh, just like Obama is 'trying' to fix the economy. It depends on your goal as to what the "fix" actually is. To people with that perspective, their "fix" was successful if it created more chaos. They have moved closer to their goal, therefore their "fix" worked perfectly as planned.

    • NAHALKIDES

      Daniel was being a little generous to Rahmbo – he pretty much caved in to the CTU, thus "fixing" the problem of the teachers' strike. Now he's doing what he does best, pressuring local banks to stop doing business with gun manufacturers to try to pressure them into supporting the Democrats latest gun control (banning) scheme. "Nice little bank you've got there – be a shame if anything were to happen to it" etc.

  • UCSPanther

    It would be a strange but delicious irony if Berkeley or San Francisco shared the same fate as Detroit…

    • Grantmann

      Give 'em time, Panther. Give 'em time.

    • mlcblog

      Some of these libs are remarkably solvent, at least personally. (Jesus instructed us to learn from the people in the world how to handle our money. Of course, obviously, those who know how to handle it well…again, on a personal basis.)

    • trickyblain

      It would be really strange, but not ironic. Especially in light of the fact that Detroits' economy revolved around manufacturing cars (easily accomplished in other nations), while SF does innovation (requires open minds and free thinkers — freedom). What is definitely ironic is those conservatives who slobberingly proclaim to love freedom, actually abominate it.

      • mkat68

        Yeah, "open minds and free thinkers" that seek to shout down and silence anyone who disagrees with them. What bigger abomination against freedom can there be? Another classic case of liberal projection.

  • AnOrdinaryMan

    Right on target, Daniel. Your invective and sarcasm are put to good use. However, I doubt if any big city mayors or council members read this web site. The Chicago teachers should be given a choice: Take a one-third pay cut(applicable to administrators as well); or be hustled off to a labor camp, to spend their days breaking rocks, at minimum wage. The children will be taught by student teachers, substitutes, and volunteers. And they won't be any worse off for it. The decline of the American city, and all of America; sad and terrible. Endless problems, with no solution and nowhere to go.

    • Drakken

      Oh there is a solution alright, we have thousands of unemployed vets around the nation, let's fire all Chicago school teachers and administrators and hire these vets to teach, you get the added benifits of putting dicipline back in the schools and nobody gets any special treatment to pass the buck. You get a hell of lot more bang for the buck than these union leeches.

      • Mary Sue

        Plus war vets particularly the former drill sergeants would be able to keep order in a classroom no problem. :)

        We had a substitute that set that fact out to us right off the bat, he never got any trouble.

  • davarino

    I feel like I'm living in a dream where half the country has gone mad. How is it that half the country is stupid enough to think we need to keep doing what we have been doing and get better results. Example, we need to spend more money on education? Teachers are obviously not paid enough……. wow. I agree with AnOrdinaryMan, an ordinay man could teach our kids and do a better job if they were not hamstrung by the STUPID teachers unions. Hell, I would be willing to pay them what they get paid now if they could teach like they used to 50 years ago. I'm sorry but teaching is not rocket science, at least not till you get to college. You want to turn education around in your state? Go back to the way things were done 50 years ago, it will turn around on a dime.

    Oh well, us dummies here in "fly over country" are doing just fine thanks. You snobs in the northeast and west coast have fun with your little experiments

    • ffortnightly

      Let us not forget that discipline in schools fell apart many years ago as "political correctness" and "cultural tolerance" became the prime excuse for behavior from non-white students. The plan to desegregate schools was to simply cram them all tohether and hope for the best. Part of that "best" was the belief that black students would become more like white students by being in close proximity to learn from their example.

      Who can tell me where that has actually happened? Instead our teachers are tasked with discipline, clearly way out of their scope. There are not more real "Reform" schools and programs for at-risk students are actually coveted. Until we get honesty in our schools and our nation about the extreme cultural issues we still have between black and white Americans, nothing will change.
      Grobbbbbbbbbb

      • Mary Sue

        My grandfather told me years ago that the worst thing they ever did was take the strap out of the schools.

    • EarlyBird

      Davarino, not sure where in flyover country you're from, but the worst educated states in the country are all in the South or southwestern United States, including my state of California. The ones with the best educations tend to be in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, a couple in the upper Midwest, and the middle "flyover" states like OK, TN, KS, and others are just sort of middlin'.

  • sharpsrifle

    I'd say let the cities die, but the human refuse living in those cities would wind up swarming into the country, and frankly, I don't want that. Not because I care about city people…I don't. Anyone dumb enough to live in a slime pit like New York, or a festering boil on the rectum of the world like Chicago, deserves just what they get. I just don't want those parasites trying to come out here into God's Country and befouling it with their snotty socialist attitudes and "urbanized" presence! I live in New Mexico, and we've already been inundated with the California "arts and croissants" crowd, as well as the "New Age" weirdos in places like Taos and Santa Fe…and other California creeps are coming in to further downgrade a nice place to live. Every societal ill in this country begins in cities and then spreads like a cancer across the rest of the nation! I'd be perfectly happy if we could just kick California, New York, New Jersey and the rest of the urban crapholes out of the United States and get along without "great urban centers"!

    • mlcblog

      Hey! wait a minute. I live in California and still love my state (though I have recently been musing about where else I could go.)

    • EarlyBird

      Sharps, just keep your meth-addled teens out of my city, okay?

      • Drakken

        Alas you open your suck and prove to the rest of us in fly over country why we don't want you citidiots living amonst us.

        • EarlyBird

          I'll be buying about 50 acres of prime California countryside this year, to hunt, fish and eventually build a family compound on. My biggest concern will be meth-addled teens who live out there. Nothing my rifles can't handle.

      • Mary Sue

        They're already there.

    • Questions

      They're all fellow Americans, like it or not. I don't exactly jump for joy when I'm around violent-tempered, semi-literate rednecks either. But hey, they're fellow Americans, too.

      • NTS

        Wrong. Most of the "rednecks" are actual Americans. Many urban dwellers are race/tribally-oriented racist looters or their eurofascist enablers. This urban dweller is on the side of the "rednecks" (read: actual Americans).

  • bubbaland1

    In my classes I use Detroit as an example of the collapse of a complex society. The students are too dim to realize that this example represents a larger picture.

    • mlcblog

      Can you explain it to them, or …. Yes, people do not want to look at the painful truths that are staring them in the face (unless they are prepared to fix it).

      • bubbaland1

        When I use Detroit as an example of collapse the students just look at me. Seldom are there any comments or questions.

        • mlcblog

          I must admit I was aghast at the unthinkable when I viewed Stephen Crowder's excellent piece on Detroit. The pictures of then and now were beyond imagination but there it was! Shocking to see.

    • John

      A budget for a individual, family, city, corporation, or nation is similar to the concept of a summing point used in Kirchoff's Law.

      You can't take out more than you put in. If a system has fat like animals do, a savings account (or wealth that can be sold, or a way to store charge (capacitors, inductors, batteries), you can take out more than you put in for a while, but only for a while.

      So lets assume that Obama & the leftists want people to sell of f their wealth so thy can redistribute it.
      But that does not work over the long haul. In effect you create slaves or a revolution. You cannot redistribute wealth on a permanent basis unless you redistribute wages on a permanent basis. If you do not wealth disparities will again result over time. People do want more wages for more work or more risk. It has never been otherwise. It cannot be.

      The "Monkey Whisperer" Learns the Secrets of Primate Economics. Laurie Santos penetrates the world of monkeys
      http://discovermagazine.com/2008/nov/13-the-monke
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wage_reform_in_the_S

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    rahm emmanuel is INCOMPETENT.

    emmanuel must resign and let someone like Rudy Guliani be mayor of Chicago.

    • JacksonPearson

      Yes Rahm is incompetent, and won't admit failure or resign. Once a large city like Chicago starts a spiral, you can bet it'll crash.

  • Lysander Spooner

    "obama" community-organized Chicago, and his incredible achievements there are resonating through the generations.

    Excellent article, Sir.

  • RedWhiteAndJew

    Greenfield's spot on analysis resonates with that of Mark Steyn's, in his excellent After America: Get Ready for Armageddon.

    • John

      I did not have kids for them to go thru another spasm of world agony like WW2. I thought things were getting better. The world looked beautiful during the time f George Herbert Walker Bush. The Soviet Union fell.

      Now I have to worry about where I stand (How to make a living & yet live in a safe place), because the left is full of idiots.

      I won't forgive. Forgiveness & association with people should not be a mutual suicide pact. The left promotes certain values & policies that are inimical to individuals & societies. The prime moves on the left be they in office or the newsroom cannot be forgiven.

  • http://obbop.wordpress.com/ obbop

    You greedy vermin… my "special needs" kid may cost you $75,000 per year to educate him though the best we can ever hope for is, perhaps, a closely-supervised part-time job placing products in a box for shipping but it is our RIGHT for the finest education possible.

    Pay up or pay for the HUGE lawsuit a horde of lawyers would love to bring against whatever school I have demanded to instruct my child.

  • John C. Davidson

    If everything we do is wrong, then why try to do anything anymore.

    • mlcblog

      Yeah, Let's all give up.

  • RAH

    Living in Crook County, IL (until I can retire), I couldn’t agree more. In ten years, Chicago will be Detroit and Detroit will be Baghdad. This is a must-read. I will link to this from my Old Jarhead blog. (www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com)

    Robert A. Hall
    USMC 1964-68
    USMCR, 1977-83
    Massachusetts Senate, 1973-83
    Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
    All royalties go to help wounded veterans
    For a free PDF of my 80-page book, write tartanmarine(at)gmail.com

  • Derwood Barsh

    This is just great, concise writing. Although depressing, like all honest reporting and analytical appraisal of our political state. At the heart of it is the integrity of the individual, especially the ones shouldering the public trust (ever so recklessly and self-servingly now). With that in growing ubiquity, the notion that the good will prevail begins to fade like a childish idealism.

    For how long must the republic erode and rot before the urgent need for reform is broadly recognized? It seems the engines are failing and the distracted, partying crew is unaware of the gradual descent toward the impact zone. Is it our U.S. legacy to crash and burn with tragic gusto? Or is it a new trend to stretch denial to its outermost limits?

    Considering the trillion$ of deficit, any singular, creative mind must needs be irremediably overwhelmed. And from the social aspect, raw and righteous need has conspired with avaricious entitlement to pound reason and fairness to smithereens.

    The majority of those still living ethically are by circumstance necessarily apathetic or unawares, but on the other side, willful abuse and exploitation have run amok to the sorry point of deforming the heart and soul of our human, aspirational endeavor. What we were and might have been becomes harder to recall against the backdrop of the sad scenes playing out all around us. The good, due to their dearth of fanaticism and balanced conscientiousness, have failed to organized into a powerful, moving force bent on the conservation of what took a couple of centuries to bring to fruition. While more religious, broad unification in the necessary mission has been weak and lacking in contrast to the desperate jihad of the other side (to wit, the recent election). They have more to gain, since the prize is corruption and coercion of the majority toward what is unjust, irrational and ill-planned. While we seem focused only upon preventing a loss and digression, with no strong, inspiring vision of a grand reward for effort invested; a self-defeating, but well-mannered passivity, by some measure.

    How much closer must we be backed to the wall before we enlist a modicum of the dirty fighting that rapidly-elapsing time mandates? Propriety must give way to clever intrigue and outfoxing of the alleged elite. If only our leadership had the bull-headedness and devotion to principle that we see in our wisest political analysts and commentators, we might stand a chance. But the leadership on our side, too, has succumbed to political expediency, fear and noble notions of compromise that are befitting of a lost and irrelevant age. If compromise gains us little but injury and shame, perhaps it is time to abandon thoughtful bipartisanship, step forward and lead with strength and a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished. Otherwise, yet another bloody era of political and social experimentation will ensue and engulf us as we watch from the sidelines.

    What future leader has been born within the system who can rise above it to usher in a new and better era in our evolution? Whomever it may be, he or she must ascend soon before the chaos and division preclude it.

    • Arlie

      May I suggest that all Constitutional Conservatives join the Constitution Party. Go to their website. Look at their platform. The Progressives of both the ruling parties are complicit with corruption to the core. A new Strong third party must rise up to defeat the NWO of the ruling elite.

      In addition there is a de jure government that has taken hold of the vacated documents of America. The current US Corporation that is running the US is illegal and a de facto government set-up to fail.
      http://www.republicfortheunitedstates.org The de jure government is the true legal government of our founding principles.

    • Drakken

      I must say BRAVO Sir ! That is one of the best written missives I have ever seen in print or had the pleasure to read! With your permission I would love to print this out and send to our so called representatives to read and be shamed of.

  • drivesguy

    I live in Oklahoma City and we do not have these problems. Maybe it is because Oklahoma is open carry and a right to work state, plus the state does not penalize businesses or its citizens with exorbitant taxes. In fact, Oklahoma is working to completely eliminate its income tax. I came here from Ohio. There is a world of difference. The biggest is the way people treat each other. It is something Mr Obama and his Chicago cronies could learn–it is called being respectful to people with whom you disagree with.

    • Arlie

      Hats off to the good people of Oklahoma and Texas for fighting the good fight and keeping the light of individual freedom alive in the Spirit of G-d given rights and the Reality of these working out to fruition. Bless you for your dedication to Truth and implementation of Righteousness with wisdom and fortitude.

    • mlcblog

      I am adding OK to my list of places I could go!! open carry AND right to work!! wow!

  • cxt

    Sadly, IMO the "real" probem here is that as bad as things are they are STILL "ok" and "it sucks but we can get through this" for most folks.

    Things won't change until the enough people say "enough." And that probably won't happen until things sting far more.

    Think of it like this—–in the 2012 election we had 23 MILLION people unemployed/underemployed/simply gave up looking and we STILL re-elected Obama. Clearly people were not hurting enough to make substantive changes.

    • madwoman99

      The wrong people are hurting…

  • Arlie

    The keynote speaker at the prayer breakfast on Jan 21, 2013 was Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn I did not know this and just happened across a video of his speech yesterday. It is worth watching it. It can be viewed at http://www.spiritoftruth.me
    another item to watch is: Geniusthemovie.com
    In it they go around asking people if given 10 million dollars they would put poison in a person's drink. It is amazing that people will murder and think nothing of the damnation to their everlasting soul or the G-d given life of another person. We are in tragic and perilous danger because of lack of "goodness" and the Word of G-d absent in America's academia. We must as individuals repent of wickedness and pray for the soul of America and it's freedom so inspired and dedicated at our founding. G-d Bless America before it's too late.

    • g_jochnowitz

      Nobody thinks more about damnation and salvation than Muslims do.

  • EarlyBird

    Greenfield finally finds a proper target: the corrupt, worse-than-useless public teachers' unions and their Congressional Democratic abettors. Imagine having a job where not only are you not held accountable for results, but where you can actually choose your own boss by way of massive influence on the local elections. And charges of incompetence are answered with demands for more money.

    I do believe we must treat school teachers like professionals, and pay them that way, but also hold them accountable for outcomes as professionals in private sector are held. Perform or get out. The real scandal with most public workers' unions are not even so much the pay and benefits but the work rules that allow slugs to simply drain the public coffers.

    There are tiny glimmers of hope though. As Greenfield points out, attempts to break the grip of teachers' unions have been made even by liberal and Democratic administrators at the federal and big city level, in New York and also LA, all with mixed to poor results, but at least people are getting it: it's the unions, stupid.

    We can credit W. Bush for taking on the unions and setting the tone for reform.

    • Ghostwriter

      Even a Jew hater like you,EarlyBird is right once in a while.

      • EarlyBird

        I love Jews, Ghosty.

    • Drakken

      Yet here you are, a product of our new and improved education system, always coming to the wrong conclusions and always with a, I feel therefore I am worldview, how enlightening.

      • EarlyBird

        So in other words, Drakken, you SUPPORT the public teachers' unions, or you didn't bother to even read my post, or you can't read my post?

        Let us all know.

      • EarlyBird

        By the way, fool, I went through private education my entire life, but for a few classes I took through a community college while serving in the Air Force.

        • Drakken

          You would think that serving in the AF would have made you a little smarter and wiser, obviously it didn't, and no I don't like the teachers union, but it sure fun to tweak you to get a fun response from you sparky.

          • EarlyBird

            Too late. You lost already.

      • EarlyBird

        We notice you haven't answered.

        You lose.

  • Loyal Achates

    And yet, crime rates continue to fall and the economy keeps growing. Some cities have budget problems but they continue to be the centers of commerce and culture. Sadly, most of the revenues our cities generate is handed out to ungrateful suburban and rural areas.

    • Chris Nichols

      Show me some statistics about the falling crime rates, or for that matter the growing economy. I take it you didn't see the headlines today and the fact GDP for the last quarter shrank by -0.1 %. Also, show me where these cities are generating wealth to hand out to suburban and rural areas?

      • EarlyBird

        I can vouch for LA, my home town, that we're the safest big city in America. We're also considered the least policed, given the population and physical size. Bill Bratton of NYC did a great job here improving our police force.
        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/los-angeles

        Also, the overall crime rate in America including big cities has been trending downward quite dramatically for the past 10 years or so:
        http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/june/crimes_

        • Drakken

          I would love to stick you in east LA for a night and see how you well that turns out, safest city my azz, more delusions and stupidity of wishful thinking by you.

          • EarlyBird

            So we supply actual hard facts from the FBI and he doesn't believe it. Now it must be that the FBI is a left-wing, simpering liberal, woosie, anti-American Muslim organization.

            Surely you would assume everyone on the street in East Los was an illegal alien drug lord rapist. Not that you would indulge in racist stereotypes or anything, Bubba.

          • Drakken

            Ah yes the last resort of the liberal/progressive, the race card, at least try to be a little more original.

          • EarlyBird

            Jethro,

            I know you've never been any place that has paved roads, but LA is actually not the stereotypical gangfest you've seen in 1980's episodes of COPS you've watched on your hand-cranked tee vee. It's been cleaned up amazingly in the past 10 – 15 years. Even…the ghetto!

        • Mary Sue

          It's all the gated communities.

  • PhilBest

    Some of the new rapid-growth cities must be doing something right, providing somewhere for people seeking genuine opportunity to flee to. Houston grew from 4 million people to 5 million from 2000 to 2010. Hopefully the Southern "right to work" cities with pro-growth policies, including pro-suburban development policies that keeps housing and urban land affordable, will stay the course necessary to not repeat the "old" cities mistakes.

  • g_jochnowitz

    The murder rate in New York City hit a record low in 2012. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/murders-fall-
    Neighborhoods that used to be dangerous–Bushwick, for example–are becoming elegant.
    People from all over the United States keep moving to New Yoirk in order to participate in its cultural and encomic life.

    • Questions

      Someone here finally gets it: U.S. cities, as a whole, are not "dying." Yes, there are bad neighborhoods mainly predominated by the criminal black lower-class. But those are the exception, not the rule. A good many cities are thriving. It's interesting that back in the Seventies this was a minority view. And leading this minority was the late political scientist, Edward C. Banfield, a conservative and mentor to another fine departed conservative, James Q. Wilson.

      The irony of it all.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        Sane, honest, law abiding black people are the primary victims of crime – perpetrated by members of their own community..

        • Ghostwriter

          I agree with you,SCREW SOCIALISM and not idiots like bluffcreek1967. Those like him blame ALL blacks,not just the criminals for their problems.

          • Questions

            I don't blame "all blacks." Just those with strong criminal tendencies. But it's a fact: Criminals constitute a far higher proportion of blacks than they do of whites. Don't think so? Go live in a black neighborhood and tell me a year later (if you're still alive by then) how much fun it is.

        • Questions

          A great many of the murdered blacks, in Chicago or anywhere else, themselves have been criminals who wound up on the wrong end of a "dispute." It was sociopath versus sociopath. Yes, some of the victims have been innocent. But the larger problem is black culture — or what passes for it. These are people with extremely low impulse control. I can't even count the dozens of "racial misunderstandings" I've had with those people. "Democrats" are no more the issue than "Republicans."

      • EarlyBird

        Of course cities aren't dying. By many measures people are leaving the suburbs to re-create the cities, and leaving the suburbs. It's the small American towns which are dying as small farms are sold to be conglomerates. There is always constant change and to draw huge conclusions like Greenfield does is ridiculous.

        Remember, Greenfield wakes up trying to find any way to tie any and all badness to Obama. That's his life's mission. Surely we're about to see a piece blaming this year's bad flu season on Obama and the children he sacrifices to Satan in the White House basement.

        • Mary Sue

          No, Obama is part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

  • BLJ

    I live in Chicago and this place sucks more each day. The idiots who live here keep voting creeps like Obama, Madigan, Rohm and the rest of the corrupt Democrat machine. I did not grow up here so my DNA isn't programmed to stupid.

    What is really sad is that Chicago has the potential to be a truly great city and place to live. Get rid of the crooks above and the public unions and it could happen. Once my kids get out of high school I am heading to Florida or Texas.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      You need Mayor Rudy Guliani.

      • EarlyBird

        They need Rudy Guliani's police chief, Bill Bratton. Worked for my city!

    • polnick

      It is up to every frightened person to save themselves from the primitives, but without an affordable place to flee the poor and elderly have no choice but to purchase painkillers.

  • http://twitter.com/LibertysSpirit @LibertysSpirit

    The American city is not dying. Some American cities are dying..Detroit is already dead , Chicago is on the way. But no matter what the issues with NYC it is as strong and vibrant as ever. NYC has seen worse than the present and has survived quite well. In fact if real estate is any indication, NYC real estate is back to being at an astronomical rate. To say that the City is dying because of some selfish bus-drivers and unions is silly. There have always been selfish people in any city where you live. Yes unfunded pension issues will cause trouble but then it will be faced one way or the other, just like the national debt and overspending by government will have to be faced eventually whether the spineless politicos like it or not. The issue is simply how much pain will be visited upon the nation in the end before we all grow up.

    Yes NYC and Chicago rely on their financial sectors. Cities have always relied on areas of strength for survival. Mississippi riverbed cities relied on the steamboat and other cities relied on steal, coal, car industry, manufacturing etc. As these industries prospered so did the cities. As the industries changed the cities changed and the economic strength went to other cities. It is simple evolution. As the economy changes so does the cities of import, or as int he case of a city like Pittsburgh it simply figured out how to reinvent itself.

    However, NYC has it all, it always did and it always will, simply because it is the financial, commercial, fashion, art and creative center of the USA (sorry LA). The only thing NYC doesn't have is the technology sector and that is starting to arrive, You lament the immigrants who come with their hand out. I am sure that there are many of them. But I know more Americans by birth who think they are owed something by the government and live with their hands out and are unwilling to do the hard part in order to be successful. Meanwhile there are dozens of cities throughout this nation that are growing, developing and expanding.

    I am sorry, but simply because things are going to be rather difficult in the near future or in years to come, doesn't mean that the end is nigh. it means we, the American people need to get off our butts and take charge of our individual realities. When you are mentally defeated, as it seems is the tone of this article, those who oppose you have won without firing a shot. Buck-up boychick.

    • Joel

      I was born and raised in Oakland CA. In the 50s and 60s, Oakland too had everything. A GM factory that built cars, several canneries, fishing industry, the military and was a big railroad hub. There were also no govt unions.

      Now, the only growth jobs are city jobs. Taxes and regulations have pretty much driven out the wealth/job producers and the city is left with fast food, cafes, bars, used and new car dealers,(the bigger ones having left for Hayward or San Jose). I've lived in Washington State for 30 years now, and when I visit my sister, I hardly recognize it anymore.

  • AC

    I can’t fault the Chicago teachers for demanding high pay: I wouldn’t work in Chicago for $75,000/year.

    • BLJ

      The pay isn't the problem. It is their benefits program as well as the fact that to fire a teacher takes an act of Congress. The public school system sucks in Chicago.

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        There is NO reason that a public school teacher should have "tenure", be a special protected class of worker.

        Eliminate tenure for teachers. Monitor and test teachers for mastery of their subjects – every year.

    • Larry

      The problem is the don't work.

  • fanlad

    Its a big ponzi scheme. The politicians cater to the unions and special interests, get their support and get elected. The politicians repay the unions and special interests. A never ending spiral of debt and taxes, to support a coorupt and failing system. America be prepared. This does not end well.
    And the irony of all of this, is that the cities control the out come of most state and national elections.
    Guess which way they vote.

  • Ghostwriter

    It's a shame. I lived in a suburb of Chicago for a few years when I was little. It was a nice place. I hope it improves soon.

  • Barakus abomadidas

    Don't worry i'll bail out the big bankrupt dirty immigrant filled cities with a big dirty bad loan from china. ;) It will add to the national debt of every american including ms<liberty><spirits> ha ha no problem. buck up!

  • cynthia curran

    Well, no income tax means high proeprty taxes, so it might be in your interested to keep lower income taxes and lower property taxes. Texas taxes a whopping 2,000 to 3,000 on some properties compared to what you are paying in property taxes. Its up to you if you want some income tax or high property taxes without income taxes.

  • cynthia curran

    Actaally, large cities are a thing of the past, the fastest growing places are mid-tier Plano in Tx or Irvine in Ca not the large cities but suburbs in 200,000 range.These two cities have the lowest murder rates along with Freemont Ca.

  • Nanis

    The problem is that they are moving to good cities and they are messy and think that they should be treated better because they came from illinois. I've seen in my state a lot of different license plates and they throw trash out of their vehicle.

  • cynthia curran

    Well, actually there are counties in California like Kern, Orange and even San Diego that are to the right of a lot of New Mexico Counties since New Mexico is about 45 percent Hispanic. So, stop complaining I get tired of everyone on this blog complaining about California. California got its fate because of the aerospace downtturn drove white Republicans out and immirgants came in and the more liberal whites stay. Personality I prefer San Diego over Houston. Houston itself is more liberal than San Diego because of a lot of Hispanics and Blacks.

  • polnick

    Many poor white separatists cannot afford to live in high rental racial enclaves and are being mugged and raped in their low cost crime filled neighborhoods. They should be rescued by a federally sponsored rent subsidy program that will allow them to afford the high costs of living in a white racial enclave.

    • Iuventius

      I really don't believe that's the spirit of what Mr. Greenfield meant.