MSNBC: “Small Government” Led To Detroit’s Bankruptcy

Detroit’s in such financial and physical shambles that they’ve had to file for bankruptcy. But a county circuit judge ruled that they had to withdraw their filing, because it violates Michigan’s constitution and state law:

“While Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr on Friday was offering short-term reassurances to thousands of city pensioners whose benefits are in jeopardy, his lawyers were waging a whirlwind legal battle over the constitutionality of the bankruptcy filing that could land both sides before a federal judge early next week…. Friday’s legal wrangling marks the beginning of what is expected to be a lengthy bankruptcy process that will involve more than 100,000 creditors, which include the Police and Fire Retirement System and the General Retirement System and its 20,000 retirees.”

Much has been said about the cause of Detroit’s decline over the past 60 years. Much of the reason does involve racial tensions and gang violence, and perhaps that is the driving force. The exorbitantly high violent crime rate combined with a mass exodus of residents (on the order of one resident every 22 minutes in 2011) have contributed to Detroit’s destruction:

  • In 1950, Detroit was the fifth largest city with over 1.8 million people.
  • Since then, the population has plummeted to just over 700,000 people in 2012.
  • 560,000 are eligible to work (aged 16 and over).
  • Of the work-eligible residents, only 305,000 either work or are looking for work.
  • 257,000 don’t work and are not looking for work.
  • 224,000 Detroit residents do work.
  • Of those workers, 34,500 have government jobs.
  • The 190,000 workers that are left have private sector jobs.

It’s not surprising then to find out that Detroit’s “average monthly income [is] barely $1,200 before taxes; a fifth of the population [is] in poverty; the official unemployment rate is 30 percent – the real rate [being] much higher.” Detroit is stricken with a 40% poverty rate, and about 35% of its households are on food stamps. And because so many productive citizens have left the city, out of 363,000 housing units, over 99,000 are vacant.

This is the perfect picture of socialism. But leave it to Melissa Harris-Perry over at MSNBC to conclude that this is actually what happens when government is too small:

“This lack of tax base [in Detroit] is also exactly the thing that many Republicans would impose on us even when our cities have sufficient populations. This is what it looks like when government is small enough to drown in your bathtub and it is not a pretty picture.”

Is she wanting the government there to be bigger? With what money? They can’t even support the “small” government they have, because all their taxpayers are leaving the city in droves. And with good reason. What’s left are basically the non-productive citizens, who are waiting on their government pensions, and those on welfare. Most of the productive taxpayers have vacated permanently. This is not the result of “small government.” It’s the result of a culture of dependence on government.