Don’t Detroit America

by Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven –

Last month, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent. But it dropped only because 312,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force — because 312,000 Americans gave up on their future.

The numbers are worst for young people. Fifty percent of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Many are taking jobs they could have landed without going to college in the first place. Some are hiding out in grad school. And a record number are huddled in their parent’s basements, waiting for the economy to pick up.

At a stage in life when they should be excited about what they’re doing, this generation of graduates is known for what they’re not doing. They’re not entering the workforce. They’re not moving into their own homes.

African Americans have been hurt the most by this economy; their unemployment rate is 12.6 percent. It’s a staggering 40 percent for young African Americans.

This is the tragic price Americans of all races and ages are paying for too much government and regulation. These numbers are a grim reminder that too much government wrecks economies and lives. The way it wrecked Detroit.

And that too much government sucks the life out of life. The way it did in Detroit.

These are stories conservatives must tell, the stories of Detroit and Texas. We must talk about why people — and businesses — are voting with their feet and moving from some states to others.

We must start talking about the human costs of all this government. About the real-life victims of all this government.

We must tell the story of the EPA, and how this one bureaucracy is hampering our ability to create a revolution in energy production in America — a revolution that could transform our economy. And transform lives by creating millions of good- paying new jobs. And transform America’s balance sheet by creating hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue to our nation’s treasury — all while making us less dependent on oil from countries intent on doing us harm.

Our government stands in the way. And our energy revolution remains unborn.

We must tell the story of how jobs are created — and destroyed. And we must name names, point out the good guys and the bad guys.

It wasn’t conservatives who betrayed the people of Detroit; it was that city’s liberal leaders, who made false promises to their own people; and the UAW, which drove auto plants south; and the public-employee unions, which treated that once-great city like an ATM, and kept withdrawing money until there was no more money left to withdraw.

It is people like us who think about how to fill ATMs. And as anyone with an iota of common sense knows, it is harder to fill ATMs than empty them. Filling them takes patience, sacrifice, hard work, and — dare I say the word? — love.

It is the people who believe in big government — and the big bureaucracies that go with it — who endlessly ponder how to spend that money. Most of them have never met a payroll, or even run a hotdog stand.

It is the poor, the vulnerable, and the young who suffer the most when economies stop working. But increasingly, it is also ordinary middle-class Americans who could never have imagined they’d be out of work for months, let alone years.

It’s time to start talking about Detroit and about the other catastrophes to come if this nation doesn’t address our $17 trillion debt, our stratospheric unfunded liabilities, and bureaucracies that only seem to grow in scale and scope. And if local leaders don’t honestly address their own unfunded pension liabilities, which at last count came to a whopping $574 billion for all U.S. cities and counties.

It’s time to start talking about how all this debt and all this government create static lives. Our economy is stalled. So are the lives of the majority of Americans. And the lives of young people — and recent college graduates especially — aren’t starting.

These tragedies are the consequence of government, not business. Our nation is stuck not because government is doing too little, but because it is doing too much.

Maybe we should lead with this impassioned plea to our leaders on Capitol Hill: “Washington, D.C.: Please, don’t Detroit America.”

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Debra Herman
9 years ago

The things that are harming America: 1.) Excess regulations which drive up the costs of doing business and which make it very difficult for new businesses to be formed, 2.) Government ever expanding its scope and power and doing that which private industry and individuals can do (cheaper and better), 3.) the crushing debt which will destroy us if we don’t start addressing it now, 4.) the reversal of Kennedy’s statement “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”, and 5.) the turning our backs on the moral and ethical values of the past which sustained us as a nation through the good and bad times.
I can cite examples – 1.) A new CBRF opened and admitted my Grandmother, a few years later it closed due to a disgruntled employee complaining to the state and burdensome regulations which were very difficult to meet. 2.) When my Mother was in grade school, the school’s purpose was to teach academics (which they did well back then, even the public schools). My Mother’s Mother (my Grandmother) was expected to feed her daughter, teach her daughter about “the birds and the bees”, encourage her to do homework, ensure that she get to bed at a reasonable hour so she could get up for school, etc). Today, the schools are expected to feed the children, provide sex education (a la Planned Parenthood), offer after school programs (for kids to do homework, stay out of trouble, etc), and practically raise the children. What are the expectations for the parents today??? And the graduation rates and quality of the education is much worse today than during my Mother’s day. Government can’t raise children or instill them with values and a love for learning. 3.) The debt- How long will our lenders put up with our ever expanding debt and continuation to not pay it down? There are plenty of examples of what happens when one is in such serious debt (both contemporary and historical)-1920’s Germany, modern day Greece, Detroit, Michigan. Why should public employees get larger pensions than those who worked for private organizations and paid all the bills for the nation? 4.) More and more people are on the take-gimee, gimee, gimee. Ever increasing numbers of people on government programs and fewer workers to support them isn’t going to be sustainable in the future. It is easier to get on disability, and many opt for this instead of remaining in the workforce or taking advantage of training programs. I see this-people get on disability and then work under the table for cash doing various things (handyman, gardener, etc, sell street drugs and other illegal activities) and avoid paying taxes on their earnings and get rewarded while those who play by the rules and work have to budget and save to afford to live. 5.) In my Grandparent’s era, one felt ashamed if one had to take a handout, Father’s understood better their role in helping to support their children, and people stayed married through thick and thin. Today, people have become “throw away”, divorce is rampant, fatherless children almost the norm and no one feels ashamed to take welfare. We need to return to these older values and teach them to our children and grandchildren or we will be supporting them for life, either through the family or by our tax dollars.
It is imperative that we address these things that are harming America or America will cease to be. That is how serious this is!!!

Karen Smith
9 years ago
Reply to  Debra Herman

Amen to what Debra Herman said. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

David Skov
9 years ago

Where is the campaign again Reid Rot in Nevada?

Glenn Lego
9 years ago

There are many in Congress who don’t appear in the headlines who do most of the work with little fan fare. It’s just the few that you see on the News all the time that are giving both parties a bad name. One of whom is Cheri Bustos (D-17th, Illinois).

Don Hyer
9 years ago

As it has been said, “It’s hard to argue with Santa Claus.” Big government and the elite class are promising something for nothing, and we are all (but them) paying on the credit card. Without jobs, fuller employment in the private sector, we just can’t catch up. The message has to get out, and the lame street media can no longer be counted on to do it. It’s an uphill battle needing an effective battle cry—and a unified voice to say it.

Tom Byron
9 years ago

I agree with Don and Dave and all the above. The only way to counter the disinformation and omissions coming out of Washington and the media is to provide a constant stream of truth from a reliable source. Easier said than done. The print and electronic media has so abused their position that all media is now suspect. Many of the ‘so-called’ conservative news and commentary people are so far right their beginning to come around from the left! Others seem to be more concerned with ratings and entertainment value than gritty, down-and-dirty reporting.

Most of us know the problems, but apparently darn few of us know an effective solution. We don’t need a dictator or a messiah to lead us to a promised land. We need patriots of the caliber of Jefferson, Franklin, the Adams, Hancock and Monroe to guide us back to what we were and help us be what we are capable of becoming.

At 73 I’m a little long in the tooth for trench warfare, but if someone should arise with a viable plan and sufficient guts to implement it, count on me for help. Raise the standard. Keep it clean and free from the stains and rot of politics and egotism and I’ll march (or shuffle) to it!

Don Simmons
9 years ago

All we hear about anything is talk, talk, talk, but no action at all. The people in america make their voice known but none of the people we vote into office never listen to the voice of the people. All they think about is what they can do for themself to stay in office evry four year,

Dave G.
9 years ago

I’m not throwing in the towel, and I agree with 90% of the article but . . . until conservatives learn HOW (I’ll repeat that 3 letter word – HOW), to effectively communicate conservative values to Leaders in the inner cities, the entire Hispanic and younger generations (X, Y & Millennium), we won’t see much change in the Senate in 2014, and we’ll see Hillary Clinton get elected in 2016. Conservative politicians DO NOT effectively communicate conservative values. Instead, they “react” to whatever issues progressives decide should be the topic of the day.

– Wake up Ross Perot to explain the dreadful long term impact of $17 Trillion in debt.
– Run 30 second spots (relentlessly – that’s where you spend GOP $’s) on all networks about the Constitution & the Bill of Rights to re-educate Americans about what makes us unique
– Let Big Industry groups (NOT Big business’s) run info ads on all the networks how they can offer more jobs and WHAT government regulations impair that progress . . . DO NOT let this be a political debate
– Tell the world about Detroit – 30 second spots again because that’s the attention span of the American voter

I’m tired of hearing the word “CLASS” – middle class, upper class . . . Wake up! This is America! This is still the land of opportunity that has no class system. That is of course, if you don’t count 47% of American’s receiving government subsidies. Let’s name a NEW class: The government subsidy class! It’s a class that sadly many are part of for the first time but a class that would rekindle the American spirit to no longer be part of; and every time we mention the “Government Subsidy class”, let’s remind them of what % are Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and Veterans. Those groups all paid a price to be there.

9 years ago
Reply to  Dave G.

Very well said Dave G. You’ve outlined what has to be done and where the impediments to turning this country around are very well. For far too many years, the GOP has been unable to articulate a clear, simple and concise message regarding conservative fiscal principles. It shouldn’t be all that hard to do given the numerous real world examples we have that showcase the failure of progressive (socialist) policies on city, state and even national levels. There is absolutely NO proactive strategy evident from any of the so-called GOP leadership strategists. Everything is done purely from a reactive perspective to whatever the latest assault on our nation’s core principles are from the Democrats. That is no way to change the direction of the country back towards sustainable economic growth and lower unemployment and better standards of living.

I too am tired of the word “class”. There is only one class and that is the American class of equal opportunity to succeed, if one is only willing to put in the real effort needed to improve one’s life. Nothing truly worthwhile is easy to obtain, so it’s a matter of whether we, as a people, still want this country to be truly prosperous. Everything else is simply the crutch of socialism / communism, that we have to turn away from.

Denise Roland
9 years ago
Reply to  Dave G.

Well Said Dave G! Did you email that plan over to the GOP Headquarters? Or Tea Party Patriots? Maybe someone will use some of those great ideas! I’ll help if you want. Just give me the go ahead to use your ideas and I’ll email some of them over to our representatives and also the Tea Party groups I get emails from!

Another point indicated in the above article: We NEED to “get to” that younger group of voters and communicate in a way that they understand all this. We need to somehow instill in them how great America once was and that it will take them fighting for it to help get it back. Then teach them HOW to fight for it…

9 years ago


Jane Wegener
9 years ago

America MUST wake up. Obama has control of the msm and the truth is non existance. I cannot believe the lies that are spewed from the president and spread throughout the msm. The republicans have a major problem because they have to run against their oponents AND the msm who will always report the democratic talking points.

We must articulate the message in a way that the American people can understand. The future of America depends on it. The fact that the left uses the race card whenever Obama policies are challanged must NOT stop those of us who do not want socialiam.

One way would be to show the sucess stories of low tax republican run states. Detroit was brought to where they are today by decades of corrupt democrats and thug union bosses who ruined the auto industry and have ruined our education system. And yes if Obama is allowed to continue down the current path he will do to America exactly what corrupt politicians have done to Detroit.

Detroit is not the only city in trouble. All you have to do is look at the cities in California that are filing bankruptcy and their are many others. Public Unions paying to elect democrats that will give them outlandish retirement packages is not only corrupt but it is unsustainable. Many cities and states are in trouble due to UNFUNDED LIABILITIES. This is another topic NEVER reported on the the msm.


9 years ago
Reply to  Jane Wegener

We lived in Detroit when Coleman Young was mayor – the decline definitely began there. This morning the news announced that Chrysler – who recieved a healthy “bailout” from Obama is moving 1100 jobs to MEXICO. I guess that’s their way of saying thank you. Look around you – how many are clutching their GOVERNMENT issued cell phone, EBT card, or other assistance? One lady on t.v. last night holding a small child whined that her WIC had been cut off during this shut down — but she flaunted at least 6 tattooes — So, the taxpayers buy the kid milk while she uses her welfare money to ink up?????? Obama’s America IS DETROIT – face it!!! He hates this country, and everything our forefathers fought for. His Utopia is a nation of sheep bleating for their dinner, and following their leader off of a cliff if he says so.

Now living in Oklahoma, I can say honestly, if you think the Government is the answer – look at the American Indian. Once a proud, self sufficient people, they have declined into dependency beyond recognition. Don’t allow it, people – for ourselves, and our grandchildren – we have to fight this! I say Bless the Republicans for their stand – – they may pay dearly for it; but at least they took a stand! Fight these Democrats and Obama to the end!

9 years ago
Reply to  KarenFaye

Only some republicans, Karen. Most of them, the RINOS, are afraid to rock the boat and are happy to be on their knees in front of Reid, Shumer, Durbin and the rest of those anti-American elitists called democrats. The RINOS are afraid they won’t get to wear their multi-thousand dollar suits and multi-hundred dollar neckties and be chauffeured around like Grand Potentates in the raj of DC. The hell with them all except the half dozen who have some guts, like Cruz, Paul, Mike Lee, Bachmann and a very few others who are patriots that care more about Americans than their own perks of position.

9 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

Chuck: I stand corrected. The Rino’s – as you said, knuckled under and will continue to buck the young ones who want to change the status quo. I plan to vote any and all incumbents out – no matter if they’re “good guys” or not. Clean house! Sen. Coburn said 3 years ago until Harry Reid is gone, the country will continue to decline. There’s the key to a lot of it – one rotten apple is spreading his decay to everyone else in the stinking barrel. The man borders on being totally insane – what morons voted him in ???? Get rid of Reid – and watch the rest fall by the wayside.

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