4 years ago we argued that Detroit ought to just declare itself a “free zone.” Cut taxes to nothing. Make the city a business friendly place in stark contrast to what it was before. The former metropolis literally has nothing to lose. Big government failed (as it always does eventually), let free enterprise come in and maybe there is a chance for something like a renaissance. A chance. (Which is more than the place has now.)
We knew of course that our calls would likely not be headed, even in the face of disaster. This is a shame. We at ACC are pulling for the city. It would be fantastic to see Detroit rise from the ashes.
Unfortunately the latest example of dysfunction comes from the school system, which we can only imagine has seen much better days. There’s no money to pay the teachers and so the teachers (union) had a “sickout” today. No school. They say they may strike to force a bailout.
People shouldn’t be asked to work for no pay. (Which is what the teachers are being asked to do. But were did that $30 million from the Feds go?) But like it or not the city is in crisis and there is economic reality. If there’s no money, there’s no money. Why should taxpayers outside of Detroit pay for the mistakes (decades of mistakes) of the city?
Hopefully Detroit schools can limp into summer vacation at which point perhaps something can be worked out. It’s a very tough spot for teachers, students, parents, and taxpayers alike. But when mistakes are made (over and over and over) should broader society be responsible for these mistakes? These big spending cities enjoy the tax manna while they have it, but they often take too much and end up running businesses and taxpayer residents out of town.
Often the only people who are left are people who can’t leave and as such are not such a good source of revenue. So then the system quickly spirals down. Which is what we see in Detroit.
Sadly it’s the people who are trapped in the cities who feel the brunt of urban decay. Schools implode. Other services implode. Which in turn drives more people from the place. It’s all terribly sad. There are likely tens of thousands of quiet human tragedies in Detroit which no one (outside of Detroit) will ever know about. But what are we to do? If the old system largely remains in place, giving the people who run the antiquated big spending system more cash will only be throwing good money after bad. No, the solution is much more radical. (Free the market in the city.)
We feel for the teachers in this situation. (And we often give teacher unions a hard time.) They’ve got bills to pay too. But there are consequences to the unwise management of resources. Unfortunately Detroit has more than its share of unwise management.
(From The Detroit News)
Detroit Public Schools closed 94 of its 97 schools on Monday, citing the Detroit teachers union’s call for a districtwide sickout amid concerns about the weakening finances of Michigan’s largest school district.
Union leaders reacted harshly over the weekend after DPS Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes informed them the district won’t be able to make payroll after $48.7 million in emergency state aid runs out on June 30. Rhodes acknowledged in an email to The Detroit News the school district will run out of money then.
“This is the final straw,” said Ivy Bailey, president of the 2,600-member Detroit Federation of Teachers. “No person should be asked to work without pay.”