Does this scenario sound familiar?
An entrepreneur comes along and develops a new product – lets call it nose hair conditioner. He sets up shop in a place that is business-friendly – lets call it Nice Town, USA.
Demand is high for his new product, and before Mr. Entrepreneur can say “Damn, I Love Free Enterprise!” the nose hair conditioner market is taking off.
Wealth is being created.
As a result, Nice Town, USA begins to attract productive and creative people from all over. More and more capital is infused into the local economy. The nose hair plant expands. Pretty soon, ear hair plants and toe jam plants begin to spring up.
Nice Town, USA is growing.
Then, right on cue, the productive are joined (and eventually outnumbered) by the bloodsuckers and opportunists who see Nice Town, USA as an untapped nipple of wealth – lets call them politicians. The business owners and working people of Nice Town are told by these smooth talking snake-oil merchants that while their successes are something to be proud of, danger looms ahead. Capitalism is great, they say, but there are too many uncontrolled no-goodniks out there who want to use and abuse the free market to screw over the little guy. Unless government can protect them from themselves, the future is downright grim. And unless government’s best friend, the union, is brought in and allowed to look after all the Johnny Lunchbuckets who slave and toil in the nose hair plants, there may not even be a future.
“We are here to help. We are here to unify,” say the leeches who speak pretty words.
The old school, antiquated, free-market types who ran things before cannot compete stylistically with the new slicksters. The old guard is stuffy, uninteresting and almost certainly racist.
Nice Town, USA must now head in a new direction. The city must become progressive.
It all sounds so reasonable.
The bloodsuckers then move into power.
They begin to siphon the life blood from the area through regulation and taxation.
Slowly but surely, over time, the productive and creative element of Nice Town, USA grow weary of the leeches. While government continues to move left and grow larger, the very best people – once the very heart and soul of Nice Town, USA – gradually leave to find places like the one Mr. Entrepeneur originally found when he began his nose hair conditioning empire – business-friendly and accommodating to wealth creation.
Nice Town, USA – once a thriving city of industry – eventually falls on hard times as the wealth builders leave. Nothing new is being created there because it isn’t profitable to do so anymore.
The city begins to crumble under the weight of government intervention and union domination.
What’s left behind is an oppressive “finger-in-everyone’s pie” bureaucratic establishment, a diminishing working class, and a whole lot of people forced to live off the government’s teat thanks to liberal, incentive-raping, creativity-shattering policies that help no one.
If all of that does sound familiar, it should.
That’s how you get cities like Flint, Michigan – a shell of its former self, once the home of the great General Motors Corporation.
That’s how cities die.
So, what exactly is the answer to the question of what to do about dying cities?
If you said, “Create incentives to get investors to rebuild,” you’re as wrong as astroturf.
To many, the only answer is more government intervention – specifically, using taxpayer dollars to bulldoze entire sections of cities to the ground in the hope of reeling in out of control costs. It’s called the “shrink to survive” approach.
Tom Leonard from UK Telegraph online writes:
The government is looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.
Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.
The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint.
Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learnt to the rest of the country.
Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.
Most are former industrial cities in the “rust belt” of America’s Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.
In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside.
Forget questioning whether or not it is a good idea to plow over abandoned areas of cities to promulgate recovery. Personally, it befuddles me – with a superfluity of evidence to feed my confusion - why anyone in their right mind would turn to government to solve these problems.
Why is it that liberals reflexively assume that power must always be placed in the hands of elected officials for things to get done? And why is it when things don’t get done by the ever-inefficient, over-sized, unaccountable government – which is just shy of always – the liberal response is to give government more to do? Take a look at the cities in question – Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, etc. The common thread is that they’re all run by Democrats with big government leftist agendas.
The real question is whether or not such decisions about bulldozing neighborhoods (and what criteria will be used to decide which areas will be flattened) is something that should be controlled at the federal level. Is this something that really needs to be added to the already long list of things the Obamacrats have to have their paws in?
If this “knock-em-down” idea is going to become a reality in cities that have been ravaged by liberalism, then at the very least, keep it local. Keep the feds out of it.
Better yet, let the free market do its thing. The best thing any government can do is get the hell out of the way.
Why is it that the answer with liberals always lies in taking away liberties and money from the people?
Why is it that the idea of lowering taxes and creating incentives for people to come back to abandoned areas to rebuild is not an option? Gentrification is a successful reality in many urban areas across the country – areas once seen as hopelessly beyond rescue. I’ve seen these types of renaissances happen myself in several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York.
Large corporations and governments don’t revive the economies of neighborhoods. Small businesses do.
It’s all about the private sector.
Knocking down the abandoned buildings of a community will not suddenly make what’s left thrive.
Policies have to change first. The landscape will eventually follow – in the right way.