Sunday, July 28, 2013

Detroit - Needed More Government(?)

A member of the British Parliament writes that Detroit is like the fictional city of Starnesville in Ayn Rand's 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged" -- a car-manufacturing city that became a ghost town after experimenting with socialism. In the novel, Starnesville's demise is the first sign that the entire society is approaching collapse.

Detroit is already there. 911 calls sometimes go unanswered. Two-thirds of the population left town.

As usual, the politicians want to try more of the same. They constantly come up with plans, but the plans are always big, simple-minded ones that run roughshod over the thousands of little plans made by ordinary citizens. Politicians want new stadiums, new transportation schemes, housing projects.

Andrew Rodney, a documentary filmmaker from Detroit, says many bad, big-government ideas that have plagued the U.S. were tried out first in Detroit. "It's the first city to experience a lot of the planning that went into a lot of cities."

Home loan subsidies, public housing, stadium subsidies, a $350 million project called "Renaissance Center" (the city ended up selling it for just $50 million), an automated People Mover system that not many people feel moved to use (it moves people in only one direction), endless favors to unions -- if a government idea has failed anywhere in America, there's a good chance it failed in Detroit first.

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