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What doomed Detroit in 9 easy quotes


The most telling quotes from Kevin Williamson's new broadside 'What Doomed Detroit.'

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Below are 9 quotes from the National Review's Kevin Williamson's new broadside, "What Doomed Detroit" that cover the primary reasons for the city's collapse into bankruptcy. Be sure to check out our comprehensive review along with some great book recommendations from Williamson (holiday gifts for progressives, foundational books on political philosophy) if you missed them too.

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1. Public-sector profligacy on steroids "Detroit is an extreme example of the fact that public-sector employment has become in effect a supplementary welfare state, with salaries and benefits – and above all, pensions – entirely disconnected from legitimate municipal purposes." "What Doomed Detroit" (pg. 2)

2. Monolithic Democratic governance "It is an irony of our history that the political home of black racism in American politics is also the historical political home of white racism: the Democratic Party." "What Doomed Detroit" (pg. 5)

[sharequote align="center"]Public-sector employment has become in effect a supplementary welfare state[/sharequote]

3. Destruction of black communities due to Democratic policies "It is one of the great tragedies of American history that wherever black Americans go, from the Jim Crow South to the great industrial cities, they are persecuted by the Democratic Party, then help entrench the power of that party." "What Doomed Detroit" (pg. 7)

4. Urban sprawl prompted by federal spending on roads "Ironically, it was Detroit’s signature product – the automobile – that hastened the city’s dissolution…The federal government paved the way to the suburbs [via the National Highway Act], and the city of Detroit gave its people ever more powerful incentives to take those roads and never look back." "What Doomed Detroit" (pg. 17)

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5. The belief that growth would go on forever "It is disheartening to consider…what the United States and its industrial capital might have done had our political and economic leadership fully appreciated the uniqueness of our economic position and, most important, the inescapably transitory nature of that position. Instead, we set about building the welfare state…The model of government at the federal, state, and local level that emerged in the late 1950s and 1960s was built on a defective foundation: the belief that the postwar economic boom would last forever." "What Doomed Detroit" (pgs18-19)

6. Identity politics "Detroit is a city in which black identity politics has trumped, and continues to trump, every other consideration, from basic finances to public safety…Detroit’s racial politics would come to full fruition with the election of Mayor Coleman Young…As James Q. Wilson put it, 'Mayor Coleman Young rejected the integrationist goal in favor of a flamboyant, black-power style that won him loyal followers, but he left the city a fiscal and social wreck.'" "What Doomed Detroit" (pg. 24)

[sharequote align="center"]Racial politics and union...interests [have]...undermined every public institution in Detroit[/sharequote]

7. Divisive racial rhetoric from elected officials "Young’s stock-in trade was blaming whites for the problems of an increasingly whites-free city, charging that, in his words, 'the money was carried out in the pockets of the businesses and the white people.'" "What Doomed Detroit" (pgs. 24-25)

8. The toxic brew of racial politics and powerful unions "From Cavanagh to Young to the current dispute over the city’s bankruptcy, the combination of racial politics and union financial interests has undermined every public institution in Detroit. And while the black-power style may be the most remarkable feature of Detroit’s poisonous political coalition, the unions have the upper hand. As life for black – and everybody else – in Detroit deteriorated, the ever more deeply entrenched unions installed political candidates who rewarded them with ever more extravagant promises of compensation, benefits, and retirement pensions." "What Doomed Detroit" (pg. 26)

In this Oct. 23, 2013 file photo protesters rally outside federal court during Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings. Judge Steven Rhodes, who is overseeing the case, found the city eligible to remake itself under Chapter 9 on Dec. 3 and also declared that pensions aren’t immune to cuts in a final plan. Rhodes said Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 that the decision can immediately be appealed to a higher court and he is thinking about whether he’ll recommend that a federal appeals court put the case on a fast track. (Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

9. Progressivism ultimately destroys legacy economic successes "A highly productive economy can cover a lot of political misdeeds before it collapses under the burden. But there are limits." "What Doomed Detroit" (pg. 33)

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