Hi everybody. I’m Bill Whittle and this is the Firewall.
This tidy little structure was by all accounts the community anchor of a safe, friendly, booming little corner of muscular, dynamic, Motor City USA: Detroit, the crown jewel in the Arsenal of Democracy where cars and trucks, and later tanks and planes, rolled off assembly lines manned by workers who lived across the street or down the road from libraries like this one.
This is the interior of the Mark Twain library as it looked in the early 1940’s: airy, ordered, quiet, spotlessly clean.
This is the interior of the Mark Twain library in 2011. For decades, the librarians and the public complained about the deterioration of the library, and for decades the Detroit municipal government allocated funds for its repair, and for decades those funds somehow never arrived at the Mark Twain library… but mold did, and trespassers, and looters, and just before they tore it down just about everything of any value had been stolen: furniture, light fixtures, the copper wire from the walls.
They only thing they didn’t steal were the books.
Author John Perazzo has compiled a remarkable booklet called “The New Shame of the Cities,” which contains an exhaustive, amazing and depressing army of statistics that outline The Detroit Pattern that has killed those American cities ruled by unbroken lines of Democrats and Democratic Party policies. So if we want to understand the Detroit Pattern, maybe we should start in Detroit.
Through the 1940’s, 50’s and into the 60’s, Detroit was not the blasted ruin you see today, but the thriving, pulsating center of American business enterprise. By 1960, Detroit… yeah, Detroit..! had the highest per capita income of any city in the United States. Factories were humming, Motown records was spinning out blues and soul and Detroit’s school system – called by New Republic “One of the finest in the world” was turning out world-class students of every race. Up until 1960, Detroit could boast a large and prosperous black middle class, black congressmen, and wages for unskilled were higher than the national average. That was the last year Detroit had a Republican mayor.
So, what happened?
The first of the Democratic Dynasty, white liberal Jerome Cavanagh, greatly expanded the role of the city government in the city’s business, and, to his credit, made a serious effort to appoint Blacks to prominent positions in his administration.
This was preamble. The wave that eventually destroyed Detroit and so many other American cities came from Washington DC, and Democratic President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and War on Poverty programs.
$490 million in Federal money – an enormous sum in the mid sixties – poured in through the Model City program. It went to housing projects and social programs, dispersed by City Hall, and not to help small business and entrepreneurs keep the city economically viable. By 1990, Detroit’s Model City area had lost 63% of it’s population, 45% of its housing units, and were unimaginably violent and dangerous.
34% of Detroit’s citizens were on the welfare rolls by 1987 – four times what it was twenty years earlier.
Sociologist Walter E. Williams looked out over the financial ruin of Detroit and said, “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do. And that is to destroy the black family.”
In 1976 the Democratic mayor cut the police force by 20%; by 1987 the homicide rate was three times higher than it had been twenty years earlier. When locals complained about the skyrocketing crime, the mayor openly stated that calls for law and order were simply code words for white racism.
So where did all the money for law enforcement go? Into the same pockets that the money for education went. Today, the Detroit Public School system spends $15,500 PER STUDENT per year; that’s half again more than the national average. It’s not that there wasn’t enough money. It’s where the money went.
In 2009 forensic accountants discovered 257 “ghost” employees on the payroll. Another 500 people were illegally drawing millions of dollars in benefits from the public school fund, and after a few months of this seven additional public officials were charged with felony embezzlement, having pulled tens of thousands of dollars from the school system. In 2009, Detroit’s children had math scores lower than any ever recorded in the history of the city and they now read at a level 73% below the national average. One in five fourth graders can write with fourth grade proficiency.
Economically, 55 years of Democratic corruption in Detroit means the city now has the highest property tax rates in America, and yet, in 2012 city revenues were 40% LOWER – in constant dollars – than they were in 1962. In terms of economic freedom – the ability to start new businesses without acres of government red tape, Detroit ranks 345th out of 384 regions measured. When facing this ocean of fees and regulations, most people trying to start new businesses simply give up. Their dreams simply die.
What never dies, of course, is the City’s vast bureaucracy with forty-some individual labor unions, each with high salaries and lavish retirement benefits. Their schools are the worst in the country, and their Murder rate is either first or second, but Detroit can proudly state that fully one-third of all the money it spends every year is paid to some 21,000 public-sector retirees and their families.
This is what 55 years of Death by Democrats has done to Detroit: 911 police calls average 58 minutes response time – the national average is eleven minutes. There are 12,000 fires every year in Detroit – Fire Department money goes the way of the Twain Library repairs. Half of the city parks have closed due to lack of funds since 2008. About 100,000 housing units – nearly thirty percent of the city – are vacant. And 40% of the population hopes to escape the Detroit Pattern of Democratic Destruction within 5 years.
And it is precisely the same pattern for other major cities like Baltimore, where the city government awarded the family of a deceased drug dealer named Freddie Grey 6 million dollars and indicted six police officers on trumped up charges for having the temerity to arrest him. As in Detroit, millions and millions of dollars of taxpayer funds are regularly funneled not into law enforcement or education, but rather into contracts for friends and political supporters.
By the end of the 1990’s the murder rate in Baltimore six times higher than New York’s. In Baltimore, Maryland, some 54,000 open arrest warrants, including 250 for murder or attempted murder, are being worked by four police officers. Four.
In 2010 Democratic Mayor Sheila Dixon was convicted of embezzlement and perjury; 14% of the city’s fourth graders can read proficiently. The Baltimore Teachers Union successfully opposed a desperate plea from city residents for a voucher program to allow them to find schools that would, you know, actually educate their children; the $15,483 per student, per year is paid to abysmal union teachers then paid, via Union dues, directly to the Democratic party to run candidates that keep the heist in motion. .
That’s how it’s done. That’s how it’s done in Washington DC, where by 1992, 52,000 people – one in twelve! – were on the city payroll. Los Angeles is five times the size of DC but has 14,000 fewer taxpayer-funded workers. Washington DC has an unbroken succession of Democratic mayors and city councils for the last 43 years.
Like Detroit, and Baltimore, Washington DC constantly vies for the title of the nation’s murder capital; when Democrat Marion Barry, videotaped by the FBI and shown smoking crack on national television, was tried for 14 counts of cocaine possession, he called the prosecution “a political lynching;” NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks said that “overzealous, hostile—if not openly racist—district and U.S. attorneys will bring a black official to trial on the flimsiest of evidence.” Ten blacks and two whites found him guilty of 1 count of possession. A few years later he ran again as Mayor and was handily elected; he ran for a seat on the DC council in 2004, got 95% of the vote, and still serves on the council today.
Eighty-three percent of DC eighth graders cannot read proficiently, but in 2011 – with a deficit of $400 million dollars – DC taxpayers were making lease payments on two luxury automobiles – around two grand per month per car – for council chairman Kwame Brown. Why two cars? Well, Brown had asked for a fully loaded, extended wheelbase Lincoln Navigator with a black interior; when the car came with a grey interior, he ordered the second vehicle at city expense and had DC schoolchildren pay the additional $1,500 for expedited shipping.
I could do this all day but I can’t bear it anymore.
Here’s a list of ten failed cities, and beside them, the number of years of uninterrupted Democratic control.
It’s not that these officials are corrupt because they are Democrats or because they are black. THEY GET AWAY WITH IT because they are Democrats, or because they’re black.
And while civil servants pay the expedited shipping on their second Lincoln Navigators, the overwhelmingly black kids keep failing in school and killing each other by the thousands, and their overwhelmingly black mothers and fathers keep electing the overwhelmingly black liars, thieves and con artists who fail to protect them, and who pocket the money for the jobs and schools that would set them free.
And by continuing to elect these heartless, greedy, Democratic swindlers, the prisoners of these cities are inflicting upon themselves the most shameful injustice to befall Black America since slavery.