Detroit: A Failed Experiment in Socialism

Thomas Purcell is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. His columns post weekly on Fridays.

Thomas Purcell is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. His columns post weekly on Fridays.

Detroit continues to bumble along, given a 30 day task and review process by a special mayoral committee. What are they going to find that they already don’t know?

Detroit shows the horrifying effect of what happens when wages are forced into an ever-increasing spiral from unionization and then government taxes the heck out of the remaining profits. The companies pull out and move their factories and businesses elsewhere and the result is decrepitude.

Street after street of both downtown and suburban Detroit is left to complete ruin.

Graffiti in the windows of the downtown highrise buildings was so offensive a sailor would blush. Some streets are in such disrepair the water mains are bursting through the streets without even a repair crew in sight.

Who is to blame?

Well, there’s a lot to go around, but you have to look at city and state leaders for the main cause of this mess. Where the heck is their leadership to their constituents? They seem to feel the solution is to hand out more money to the poor and homeless who are in bad mortgages and without work rather than taking that money to condemn those city streets and lower taxes and create business districts so that companies will move there with some jobs.

Giving those people a place to fish instead of handing each of them a trout would make more sense.

One of the problems is the socialist property tax structure they have in Michigan. Taxes are equalized across the areas property values, rather than on the actual value of the property. The result is that a home for selling for $20,000 has the same $6,500 dollar tax bill a $100,000 house in the same neighborhood has. They did that because they have determined that the roads and streets are all the same cost. The result is that people are getting taxed out of their homes. Instead of lowering taxes, this structure (which is already sky-high) actually raises the taxes on the middle class. The result is that people get forced out and abandon the house.

Despite advice to the contrary, Michigan raised its taxes for 2008-2010 as well, from 3.95 percent to 4.35 percent — about a 10 percent overall rate increase. Raising taxes just adds fuel to the fire in a recession as people now have less money to pay their bills. There are more abandoned neighborhoods, leaving only those so poor they can’t move, and increasing the pressure on an already swamped social services system.

They have endless streets of once upscale neighborhoods destroyed when companies left town for friendlier taxation climates. The biggest employers — the auto manufacturers — got hit with the double whammy of having to pay labor wages and benefits that were two to three times what their competitors were paying, and forced to under rule of law.

This is what the socialists have planned for the rest of us.

Detroit is the social model that now they are trying to put on the rest of America. A high tax structure, with a government enforced wage structure. If they get their way, the socialists will force businesses to leave the shores of America so fast it will make Dunkirk look like a beach party.

Michael Moore is native son of Michigan, and depicted the early death throes of Flint and Michigan in his movie Roger and Me. He has since made many millions decrying the evils of capitalism and profit and the destruction of his home state. Has he stepped up to the plate, and gone back to his beloved Michigan that he exploited to make those millions using the very system he lambasted? No. Has he set up any foundations, or used his celebrity to encourage the area’s recovery? No. He simply wants us all to pay more taxes into a failed social system of high taxes and law enforced union contracts.

Leadership — real leadership — doesn’t seek to appease the masses with doles and entitlements. They make it possible for people make it on their own, without the clumsy and costly hand of government.


  1. You literally made me cry today. I was raised in the Detroit area. I spent 37 of the first 40 years of my life in Flint/Detroit. I was raised there; I worked for the former General Motors Institute; I remember Flint as a beautiful town, and Detroit as a cultural Mecca. I knew and worked with Michael Moore in the distribution of his newspaper, “The Flint Voice,” and I supported his controversial campaign for Ombudsman. I have experienced, first-hand, the slow, painful, unrelenting deterioration of these cities. I know of a judge there, in a formerly fine neighborhood, who bought the house next to his own when it became vacant, so that they wouldn’t install a group home there, or sell it for a song to a Crack dealer. There are no “safe neighborhoods” anymore. The police force is more of a police ‘farce,’ due to dwindling numbers, no money, and more crime — and I in no way meant that as an insult to law enforcment. They can’t, literally, be everywhere at once — which is exactly where they’re needed… I, too, have wondered, “What ever happened to Michael Moore?” I suppose he got what he needed. Well said.


  1. […] Detroit: A Failed Experiment in Socialism. […]

  2. […] Detroit: A Failed Experiment in Socialism ( […]

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