Another Sign of Descent

>> Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I saw this AP article both online and in my local newspaper this morning. I'd say a shrinking city, particularly one once considered an economic and industrial powerhouse such as Detroit, is indeed evidence of the downward spiral. Others might say it is simply change, but no one can say it isn't a sign of the times.

How did Detroit come to this? It's been discussed before and for anyone with even a mere sample of common sense the answer is quite obvious. A combination of bad liberal tax policy (is there any other kind?) and union oppression has lead to this literal self-destruction. Yet nowhere in the article does it mention either in any way. It does mention a shrinking tax base, but what caused that? What prompts people and business to move away or for businesses to close? It wasn't as if no one drives cars anymore, the auto industry being the prime industry of the area.

The sad fact is that this decision is the logical consequence of those policies. Other areas are seeing the same thing in various stages. The article points to places like Youngstown, Ohio clearing land on a smaller scale for the same reasons. Other areas, like California and Illinois are experiencing their own economic struggles due to similar economic policies. Few are taking the lessons to heart. Worse, of those not learning, the worst of these are the voters who continue to support people who would enact the same or similar policies. Look how little good Obama's economic policies have done to see that bearing out, as some people still see him in a positive light.

And of course, Detroit is seeking federal funds to help with this project. That means they want more from the rest of us to help fund their stupidity. As if we can afford it. Like the auto corporations themselves, no federal funds should ever find it's way into the hand of Detroit decision makers until they are replaced and a solid plan that includes a total rejection of their current economic policies is submitted and approved.


Edwin Drood March 9, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

Detroit is what happens when you let democrats run the city for 50 years.

Ohh well, identity politics and partisanship equal dead city. Their current mayor is self made successful business man (I far as I know) but that won't do any good if he tries to raise this sh!t hole of a city up using entitlement programs. We'll just have to see. My money is on sh!t hole.

Mark March 9, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

Despite the risk of appearing to blow my own horn, I posted an entry on a similar story from the AP at my place today. Mine was about the Kansas City School Board about to close half their schools AFTER the Federal government gave them 2 billion to "improve" the schools.

It also shows how Liberal policies only make the situation worse.

Stories such as this one about Detroit and mine about Kansas City are just two examples out of many of how the Liberal Federal Government policies of throwing money at the problem do the exact opposite of what they are supposedly intended.

ELAshley March 10, 2010 at 7:06 AM  

Speaking of schools... a political ad is running in my area... "Don't let the special interests establish Charter Schools in Alabama!"

Oooo, scary! Charter Schools! I mean, they worked so well in Washington DC! So well the teachers unions were threatened and Obama and Co. decided to pull the plug on funding the dreams of poor children who, for probably the first time in their lives, saw light and hope at the end of the public education tunnel.

The left isn't interested in educating the youth of America; indoctrination is the tool they employ. The Left wants a populace wholly left-minded, and they fear anything that might... MIGHT... produce free-thinking citizens.

ELAshley March 10, 2010 at 7:07 AM  

It's as if the Left's whole purpose in education is to produce Democrat voters.

It's disgusting.

Edwin Drood March 10, 2010 at 8:38 AM  


I saw that commercial too in Huntsville. It's whole premise is to keep the federal government out of our schools by not having charter schools. They must be desperate if they have to resort to bald face lies to make their point. I think the only people who will fall for that falsehood are the very student that went through their classes.

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 10, 2010 at 10:11 AM  

I'm all for experimentation in education. But charter schools are only slightly better than public schools when you equalize them.

Charter schools self select students who have a higher chance of success. They use smaller class sizes and more up-to-date facilities and equipment.

When you equalize these factors and make charter schools accept all students, including those with learning disabilities or disadvantageous home situations.

The performance of charter schools is only minimally higher than public schools, without the accountability that public schools labor under.

Two of my cousins are teachers and I know for a fact that ideology never enters their minds. They want their students to succeed. They want them to have the skills and knowledge to move forward in life. I feel confident expressing assigning that motivation to every teacher I ever studied under. Every education official from my high school principal to the chair of the Florida Board of Education.

To paint the decline of Detroit as being solely caused by liberal economic policy or unionization is such a broad stroke that I am left stunned.

Should I say that the entire financial collapse of 2008 was caused by conservative financial practices because most banks and wall street executives are conservative? NO. Such wide generalities are false.

They play to our inner ego, but are untrue.

ELAshley March 10, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

They pick the students most likely to succeed? You mean like Magnet schools in our fair city? Universities do the same thing.

Students in the DC charter schools were excelling... but, government can't have that! Oh, no! Public schools cannot ever be made to live up to a standard set by some 'upstart' charter school!

So what does Washington do? They shut off the funding to DC charter schools. Rather than insist (and by "insist" I mean serious consequences to teachers and administrators who fail to inspire their students to excel... consequences like dismissal, pay-cuts, whatever works to motivate these so-called "educators") DC public education perform at the same level as the DC charter school, they shut down the charter school, crushing hopes and dreams of many children who were beginning to see an escape clause from the poverty of DC public education.

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 10, 2010 at 1:52 PM  

I'm not an expert on the specific D.C. school voucher program. But the real situation (as opposed to what Rush was saying yesterday during your lunch hour) is that the spending level for this program was one item in a the omnibus spending the president signed.

So sure he could have halted the entire federal gov't budget process over this one small program. But realistically ... no.

In a Washington Post segment it seemed that later the president offered as a compromise to continue funding for those students already enrolled in the program through their graduation.

According to the article the program was only ever supposed to be a five-year pilot program to test vouchers, so the idea could be studied see if it could be implemented nationally.

According to Tom Davis, the original sponsor of the voucher program. He wanted to get the program refunded and authorized in 2006, but Republicans and Pres. Bush had other priorities.

I would never think of spouting a drive-by accusation like you did without at least a minimal amount of fact checking.

And I would never repeat something Rush Limbaugh was touting without knowing all the qualifiers and nuance that he leaves out.

But that's me and I'm not a dittohead.

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 10, 2010 at 2:00 PM  

"insist" I mean serious consequences to teachers and administrators who fail to inspire their students to excel... consequences like dismissal, pay-cuts, whatever works to motivate these so-called "educators"

So what you're saying is that schools that are underperforming should be penalized until the excel? Teachers in the very worst schools should get paycuts to encourage them to work harder? The places with the most need for excellent educators should pay the least?

Do you think that model would work on Wall Street?

My idea is a federal education consultation team. A group of 25-50 experts that could go into underperforming schools and work with all the staff to improve performance. Along with funds to repair infrastructure and purchase new equipment.

Five teams like this that choose different schools each year. And work with the selected school for a whole year.

Schools would have to apply to be chosen and show a desire to improve as well as the need.

Such a program would be relatively cheap for the country and I think could show good returns in the chosen schools that last for years.

That's my constructive solution for education.

ELAshley March 10, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

I didn't mention Rush, Ben. I don't have TIME to listen to Rush. I don't even have time to post this comment!

You seem to think Rush is my only source of information!

Give over, dude. The DC voucher program has been news on just about every political website. The only news channel I've heard mention it is Fox... not CBS, NBC, or anyone else.

You smugly dismiss everything I say simply because you think I'm getting it from Rush? That's wrong on so many levels. Should we treat your statements the same way? Because all you listen to is NPR?

ELAshley March 10, 2010 at 3:25 PM  

A consulting team? You mean more government bureaucrats.

ELAshley March 10, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

And who decides whether these bureaucrats are "experts"? More political bureaucrats? You mean progressives, right?

Progressives are the reason American public education is so substandard.

Craig March 10, 2010 at 4:11 PM  


Re the Kansas City school situation one thing to keep in mind is that the money to build these "schools" came from taxes imposed on those employed in the city of Kansas City by a federal judge. I realize that the judiciary doesn't have the power to levy taxes, but that is what happened. When the tax spigot got turned off, there went the buildings. Taxes like this are why significant numbers of people and businesses choose to locate elsewhere in the metropolitan area, of course exacerbating the problem. KC/Jackson county MO is just one more example of what happens when democrat machine politics runs things. FYI Claire Mc Caskill is a product of this particular political machine.

I realize it's not Detroit, but it fits. It combines democrat politics with environmentalist loons.

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM  

Most days when I go home for lunch I turn on Rush in the truck, because he's sure to say something I disagree with and get me fired up. about five minutes on the drive home and five minutes on the drive back to work and I am full of indignant energy for the rest of the day. (like today)

Now you may not listen to Rush but in the past week in few minutes I was listening he has spoken on

1. Obama shut down program for DC school vouchers.
2. Medicare claim denial rates compared to other insurers.
3. The Brecht Forum receiving stimulus money.

You may not listen to Rush Limbaugh but whoever you listen to listens to Rush. And you repeat his topics almost verbatim.

To your only substantiative point I would say that my proposed Expert School Resource Group would consist of educators who have shown exceptionalism in their field.

1. Teachers of the year
2. coaches who inspire schools to get fit
3. lunch ladies who manage to feed lots of kids healthily
4. principals who run financially successful schools
5. teaching experts who know how to make learning challenging and fun
6. child psychologists and healthcare workers to diagnose and find those children with learning disabilities who need more help or those with broken homes.

And if you think people like that are just government bureaucrats, then you must lump in police officers, FDA inspectors, VA doctors, and army soldiers as government bureaucrats.

Do you have any better ideas for public school improvement?

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM  

"I realize it's not Detroit, but it fits. It combines democrat politics with environmentalist loons."

Um you know if you read the link...the story is a house built using new technologies experienced frozen water pipes in the winter, and that caused some problems with carpet and flooring. My word who'd a thunk it.

I suppose it's all because progressives wanted to stop going into the woods to shit and wanted to defecate indoors. WHAT MADMEN!

There is absolutely no way new technologies could make the country better. Nope that whole car thing didn't help the US at all. Computers and the Internet did nothin' for the economy. And who ever heard of plastic.

[end sarcasm]
When America leads the world in innovation and technology our economy and global power increase. When we let ourselves stagnate, we fall.

ELAshley March 10, 2010 at 5:42 PM  

You erroneously equate all those fine inventions as the result of liberals, and liberals alone?

My! What hubris!

I suppose the wheel was invented by a liberal as well?

Even toilet tissue?

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 11, 2010 at 4:00 PM  

You missed the point of my sarcasm.

1. frozen water pipes are not a result of crazy environmental problems.

2. American global power can be closely links to technological innovations.

I didn't say anything about technological discoveries being made by liberals.

Are you ready to talk about issues of substance now?

ELAshley March 11, 2010 at 6:14 PM  

ME! ready to talk about substantive issues!?

You're the one digressing and obfuscating. You're the one who accused me (however tongue in cheek) of listening to Rush. You took the thread in some off-kilter tangential.

Am I ready?


Marshall Art March 11, 2010 at 11:31 PM  

"So what you're saying is that schools that are underperforming should be penalized until the excel? Teachers in the very worst schools should get paycuts to encourage them to work harder? The places with the most need for excellent educators should pay the least?"

In the charter and private schools, there are two significant particulars driving success:

1. Expectations for students. Most of these schools, no matter where the kids come from or how they end up there, have high expectations that the kids must meet. Kids actually thrive under such conditions far more than in public schools, where the successful kids hold themselves to high expectations. And it extends to their parents who are absolutely involved in the educational scenario far more than in public school settings. Excuses are not tolerated.

2. Expectations for teachers. In these schools, you bet teachers are judged by the performance of the students. Their pay, raises and the very job itself depends on a high rate of success. But they have the freedom and encouragement to try new ideas that public school teachers do not have.

You can actually extend the sentiment to the school itself as they are competing for the kids butts in the chairs. If the school has a good reputation for excellence, that's where parents who have the freedom and ability to do so will place their kids.

There is no need for the gov't to form groups to monitor public schools as you have described. A far simpler and quicker method would be to adopt the methods of the successful private and charter schools. The answers are already being put into action and reaping big rewards.

Marshall Art March 11, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

As to Detroit, lib policies and union oppression are indeed the two overriding factors for its demise. Indeed the whole state has suffered to a large extent as its unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation. What other factors can be attributed for their unique level of failure that wouldn't also similarly, if not equally, impact the rest of the nation? When have they lowered tax rates and reduced spending? There has been no noticable upward movement in their situation for over fifty years, and during all that time they were lead by Dems.

Craig March 12, 2010 at 7:48 AM  


It's a $900,000 800 sf house that can't maintain a temperature of 40 degrees. It was labeled "unsafe" at the time of the article, and they had no funding to fix it.

I'm in the process of building a 1600 sf house that is LEED Gold for about $150,000. Which of the two is more sustainable, economical, and practical.

Actually it's much like the KCMO school district.

It's OK, as long as the left does something its good right?

Craig March 12, 2010 at 7:50 AM  


I'd guess they left out insulation too, or forgot to plug in the little pipe warmers.

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