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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Tale of Two Communities

“The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.” — Thomas Sowell

Last week Bill O’Reilly kicked up a firestorm with his talking points memo on the plight of African-Americans in the United States. He blamed much of the poverty and crime on that the Black community suffers on Blacks themselves along with the race hustlers and politicians who have made a profitable industry out of ignoring the real problems in the African-American community.

O’Reilly’s main talking points were the high rate of African-American girls have babies out of wedlock (73%), the high rate of Black on Black crime, the countless fatherless homes, the narcotics trade, and the failed social welfare programs that have created a federal plantation.

In preparing to write this blog I did some research on Black on Black crime and I discovered some astonishing statistics. You constantly hear about the racism of lynching.

Violence in the United States against Black Americans, especially in the South, rose in the aftermath of the Civil War, after slavery had been abolished and recently freed black men were given the right to vote. Violence rose even more at the end of the 19th century, after southern white Democrats regained their political power in the South in the 1870s. States passed new constitutions or legislation which effectively disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites, established segregation of public facilities by race, and separated blacks from common public life and facilities. Nearly 3,500 African Americans and 1,300 whites were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, mostly from 1882 to 1920. The whites who were lynched were those who had helped blacks, married blacks, Catholics, and Jews..

Black-on-black crime is a sensitive subject in this increasingly polarized nation. While covered in academia and occasionally addressed by talking heads on television, some believe it rarely, if ever, receives the type and depth of attention it deserves. Instead, critics argue that this national tragedy is usually swept under the rug by powerful interest groups and individuals more concerned with elevating their own racially-driven agendas than addressing the real issues at hand. The Trayvon Martin case is only the most recent example of this grim hypocrisy.

Indeed, statistics support a very different narrative than the one usually offered by “race hustlers,” as Pastor C.L. Bryant calls them, who routinely portray an America where members of the black community are selectively targeted and brutalized by white racists.

A 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, reveals that approximately 8,000 — and, in certain years, as many as 9,000 African Americans are murdered annually in the United States. This chilling figure is accompanied by another equally sobering fact, that 93% of these murders are in fact perpetrated by other blacks. The analysis, supported by FBI records, finds that in 2005 alone, for example, African Americans accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in the US — again, almost exclusively at the hands of other African Americans. Jehmu Green, a liberal Black commentator often seen on MSNBC and Fox News has stated that 280,000 blacks have been killed by other blacks since the advent of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.


To put these number in perspective, recall that over 6,400 U.S. service men and women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the course of a decade-long war fought in those nations. During the Vietnam War, which lasted nearly 13 years, some 58,000 Americans were killed — nearly 13 percent of whom were African American.

Extrapolating black-on-black crime data reveals that, by comparison, approximately 100,000 African Americans have been killed on our own streets at the hands of other African Americans in roughly the same stretches of time. It is difficult to find anyone who would white-wash these mind-numbing statistics.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal:

“Then there is the matter of who is dying. Although the U.S. murder rate has been dropping for years, an analysis of homicide data by The Wall Street Journal found that the number of black male victims increased more than 10%, to 5,942 in 2010 from 5,307 in 2000.

Overall, more than half the nation's homicide victims are African-American, though blacks make up only 13% of the population. Of those black murder victims, 85% were men, mostly young men.

Despite the declining U.S. murder rate, killings remain stubbornly high in poor pockets of cities large and small. In some cases, the rate is rising sharply. That increase is draining resources from police, prosecutors, social workers and hospitals.”

This begs the questions: where is the outrage from prominent members ofP1-BH636_murder_NS_20120817182109 the African-American community? Where are the words of condemnation and sorrow from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, or Rev. Al Sharpton, over the fact that members of their own communities are summarily executing each other? Critics believe that acknowledging the unfortunate, irrefutable statistical truth negates the left’s narrative about a black community selectively exploited and targeted by white racists. Some might also argue that fanning the flames of racial discontent, especially in an election year, serves a useful and powerful campaign purpose.

Thus far, hundreds of thousands of African Americans have been slaughtered at the hands of each other since the dawn of the Civil Rights movement. Is this the realization of Dr. King’s Community of Man?

The vast majority of the above statistics stem from the urban centers in cities like Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, and Newark. But there is another Black community. It’s the community of Blacks who have left these urban cities for the safety of the suburbs. This is one of the major reasons for the failure of Detroit. These Blacks have nuclear families with a father in he house. They work hard and buy homes. They are not on the dole. Their children are supervised and go to good schools where their graduation rates are the same as whites and Asians. Some of these families have mom’s working so they can send their kids to private and parochial college preparatory schools. They don’t do drugs and they go on to becomes doctors, lawyers, engineers, and entrepreneurs. They are involved in their communities and pay little if no attention to the race hustles. They even vote Republican. I know this because I have a neighbor who fits this model.

The to counter the race hustlers there are the commentators like Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, David Webb, Deneen Borelli, Dr. Ben Carson, Star Parker, and the entire staff of Project 21. These are the voices of reason within the Black community that are drowned out by the voices of race hustlers that get some much coverage in the mainstream media. These are the voices urging Blacks to stop the out of wedlock births, get off he drugs, stay in school, learn to speak proper English, and learn how to work. They are the voices who identify the issues existing within the social welfare states of the federal plantation. They are also the voices most criticized by the race hustlers and Congressional Black Caucus. You see they are preaching a doctrine of personal responsibility, family cohesiveness, and self-education. They tell Blacks in the urban center not to rely on the failed government schools dominated by the self-interests of the teachers unions to open their eyes and ears to other sources of learning, i.e. read books.

It is these voices in the Black community we must listen to. They are the voice with solutions, even those solutions may seem harsh to many in the urban centers used to the comfort of the federal plantation. They are the voices the race exploiters in the entertainment drown out with their music, TV shows and films while they make millions from their exploitation. When I look at people like Allen West, Ben Carson, Deneen Borelli, and Thomas Sowell, I stand in awe at their poise, linguistic skills, and thoughtful deliberation.

In reality, the Trayvon Martin case gave Obama another way to avoid dealing with issues of national and international importance. Cries of racism permit Obama to deftly avoid the penetrating questions that need to be asked about the ongoing scandals that plague this country, be it the IRS, the NSA, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the Federal Data Services Hub revelation, or the "impending train wreck" of ObamaCare.

There is no dealing with an individual who changes the rules of the game and makes them up as he goes along. When the American people understand this and liberate themselves from such race-baiting, we will be able to make some real and definitive steps to halt the ongoing assault on this country. It is an assault that hurts blacks and whites alike by a man and a party who care for neither group, except as a means to expand their grip on power.

So the next time you see a Black person walking down the street make sure you can identify the community he belongs to before to pass judgment.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Remembering Vince Flynn

“It's this upside-down world that we live in where we afford political correctness to the most intolerant group of individuals on the planet.” — Vince Flynn

Last month (June 19) Vince Flynn passed away after losing his battle with prostate cancer. The 47-year old author of the famous Mitch Rapp series of political thrillers is survived by his wife and three children.

I first became acquainted with Flynn’s writing in 1998 with “Term Limits”, his first book. Term Limits was a novel about a group of ex-Navy SEALS who were assassinating U. S. Senators and government officials in retribution for their leaking information about a raid where several SEALS were killed. In this book Flynn, like Tom Clancy and, Brian Haig, Brad Thor, were a bit ahead of the curve. (See Extortion 17)

This was quite a radical novel at the time as it portrayed the SEALS as the heroes of the book who were eventually given cover by the CIA for their actions. The book was on the New York Times best seller list for several weeks.

It was in his second book, Transfer of Power, that Flynn introduced us to his iconic anti-terrorism operative, Mitch Rapp, and his boss at the CIA Irene Kennedy. The stories in his next 11 books were centered around these two characters.

The fifth of seven children, Vince Flynn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 6, 1966. He graduated from the Saint Thomas Academy in 1984, and the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics in 1988.

After college he went to work for Kraft General Foods where he was an account and sales marketing specialist.

In 1990 Vince Flynn left Kraft to accept an aviation candidate slot with the United States Marine Corps. However, one week before leaving for Officers Candidate School, he was medically disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program, due to several concussions and convulsive seizures he suffered as a child following a car accident. While trying to obtain a medical waiver for his condition, he started thinking about writing a book, an unusual choice for Flynn since he had been diagnosed with dyslexia in grade school and had struggled with reading and writing all his life.

Having been turned down by the Marine Corps, Flynn returned to the work598px-VinceFlynnByPhilKonstantin force and took a job with United Properties, a commercial real estate company in the Twin Cities. During his spare time he worked on an idea he had for a book. After two years with United Properties he decided to devote himself full time to writing: he quit his job, moved to Colorado, and began working full time on what would eventually become his first novel, Term Limits.

While writing Term Limits, Flynn supported himself by bartending at night. After five years and more than sixty rejection letters, he decided to self-publish, which was not as common at that time as it is today. Term Limits went to number one in the Twin Cities area, and within a week Flynn had an agent and garnered a two-book deal with Emily Bestler of Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.

First Published by Pocket Books in 1997, Term Limits was a New York Times bestseller in paperback. Since then, his books became perennial bestsellers in hardcover, paperback, and electronic editions, and since the publication of Protect and Defend in 2007, have regularly been #1 New York Times bestsellers. Flynn’s novels have been praised for their extensive research and prescient warnings about the rise of Islamic Radical Fundamentalism and terrorism. His books have been read by current and former presidents, foreign heads of state, and intelligence professionals around the world, and are admired for their authenticity and imagination: one high-ranking CIA official told his staff, “I want you to read Flynn's books and start thinking about how we can more effectively wage this war on terror.”

Motion picture rights to Flynn’s character Mitch Rapp have been optioned by CBS Films with the intention of making a character-based, action-thriller movie franchise. Flynn was also an advisor for the Fox series 24 and in some was Kieffer Sutherland’s character, Jack Bauer, had a lot of Mitch Rapp in him.

The Survivor, Vince Flynn’s planned release this fall, is being postponed indefinitely. Vince had not yet completed the manuscript at the time of his passing last month. The reason it is “postponed indefinitely” as opposed to “canceled” is because it is too soon to know how much of the book was written or if Vince had plans or provisions in place in the event that he could not complete the book. This book may be published due to Flynn’s collaboration with best-selling author Brian Haig.

Here is a list of all of the books in the Mitch Rapp series:

Transfer of Power (1999)

The Third Option (2000)

Separation of Power (2001)

Executive Power (2003)

Memorial Day (2004)

Consent to Kill (2005)

Act of Treason (2006)

Protect and Defend (2007)

Extreme Measures (2008)

Pursuit of Honor (2009)

American Assassin (2010)

Kill Shot (2012)

The Last Man (2012)

The Survivor (2013 — unpublished)

You can read summaries of these books by clicking here I think you will find them interesting if you haven’t read the books and see how the character of Mitch Rapp evolved.

I have read all of the Vince Flynn books and each year I looked forward to his next novel about the adventures of Mitch Rapp and Irene Kennedy. Over the years I have seen Rapp and Kennedy more as real life people than as characters on the pages of a book. Flynn’s writing made them so.

Each book was an out-and-out page-turner. If you were reading a Flynn novel on a flight you were disappointed when the seat belt light came on an you were told you were about to land. You wanted your flight to last a little longer so you could get a few more chapters in. If you were reading the book at home you would find yourself looking at the clock and seeing it was 3 o’clock in the morning and telling yourself just one or two more chapters.

Mitch Rapp was the consummate American hero and terrorist hunter. He did not countenance politicians who were more concerned with their own image and power that the people of the United States. He was someone I hope we have on the government payroll somewhere. Irene Kennedy was Rapp’s governor and the intellectual and political half of the team. She could keep him under control while allowing him to carry forth his missions and protect him from the politicians. In the novel Protect and Defend Irene Kennedy is kidnapped by terrorists and Rapp will spare no one or waste one minute in his search to find her. And when he does — oh well you will have to read the book.

Rather than attempt to describe Mitch Rapp or Vince Flynn here are three videos of Vince Flynn describing himself and his character in his own words.

The first video has Flynn explain how Mitch Rapp became the terrorist-fighter be is.

In this next video Flynn talks about his 2008 book In Pursuit of Honor.

In this final video Flynn discusses Protect and Defend and talks a bit about himself.

Vince Flynn and his characters of Mitch Rapp and Irene Kennedy will be missed by millions of readers. It is now up to authors such as Brad Thor, Brian Haig, and Tom Clancy to carry on.

May God keep and bless Vince Flynn and his wife and children.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Note to John McCain and the Gang of Eight

“Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.” — James Madison

Last Wednesday, police in Austin arrested two Mexican nationals who reportedly participated in the gang-rape of a 13-year-old girl on June 29.

The girl, a runaway, who lives at the Settlement Home for Children, was picked up by three Latino men and driven to the Avalon Arms apartments, where she was raped by a large group of men for several hours, according to police.


As many as 13 men took turns sexually assaulting the girl. Many cheered and filmed the sickening crime on their cell phones, according to court documents.

Juan Lozano Ortega, 25, and Edgar Gerardo Guzman Perez, 26, have been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. Both are currently being held in the Travis County Jail on immigration detainers.


Austin’s KTBC, Channel 7 reported:

“The affidavit states the assault lasted until early into the morning of June 30, then the victim was driven to a nearby neighborhood and told to "find somewhere to go."

Police say they were able to track Ortega and Perez from the phone call the girl made to her foster brother with their cell phone. She was able to make it back on her own to the settlement home.”

The teen victim told police she was taken inside an apartment, where Ortega forced himself on her as the other men cheered him on, recording the assault on their cell phones. All the men took turns having sex with her against her will.

The girl was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors determined her injuries were consistent with her allegations. Austin police are currently searching for the other assailants.

Illegal aliens are leaving a trail of victims from coast to coast – a massive crime wave that most Americans don’t know about – because the media typically plays it down. And so frequently the victims are children or involve children – thanks to a perverse Mexican culture that virtually ensures the victimization of the young.

I doubt they will be deported. They will be given a fair trial and take up two more spaces in our already over-crowded prison system. There, they will be given three squares, water, shelter, a gym membership, reunions with their friends and family members, crafting activities, counseling and a free education. In no time, they will be deemed "rehabilitated", apply for and receive amnesty and be released back into our society. They will have it made in the shade while this poor child's life is in ruins.

There is yet another example of an illegal killing a mother of a 13-year old for denying his sex with the child. This one happened on April 4, 2013 in Aquila, AZ, 45 miles Northwest of Phoenix.

Authorities say the suspect, 25-year-old Jose Zarate, went to 31-year-oldillegal_alien_animal-234x300 Maria Saucedo’s home around 9:30 p.m. Zarate reportedly wanted to take Saucedo’s 13-year old daughter to his home, presumably for sex. When she refused, an argument ensued and Zarate pulled out a rifle and shot her in the chest at close range — in the presence of the teen.

According to the MCSO, “One of several witnesses to the crime apparently disarmed Zarate before he fled the area on foot.” When they arrived at the scene, deputies administered CPR on Saucedo, but she was later pronounced dead.

“How awful this is that a mother loses her life in the process of defending her daughter’s honor,” said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Within 24 hours, deputies arrested Zarate. He was found at his home.

The Fox 10 Phoenix report of the crime showed the apparent effects of the Associated Press ban on the term “illegal immigrant” just 24 hours earlier. Fox 10 reported that: “Sheriff’s deputies say Zarate is a non-U.S. citizen who has been living in the country without proper authorization.”

For a more detailed account you need to go to the Daily Mail where they are not afraid to use the term “illegal alien” like the most of the U.S. media.

In other words Zarate is an illegal alien invader. So why not just say that? We don’t want to “stigmatize” illegal alien pedophile murderers?

Zarate was booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on the following charges: 2nd degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person (an illegal).

This was just the latest crime involving underage children by an illegal alien. America has been savaged by illegal alien pedophile crimes. Why? Because the sick culture of Mexico, which disgustingly has a minimal age of consent for sex of TWELVE, and rarely prosecutes child rapes of even younger than that. Punishments for rape and sexual assaults are just minor slaps on the wrist. Many times the rapist just has to pay a small fine or sit in jail for a day. And if they marry the victim, they are completely let off the hook.

When we permit hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who reflect this sick culture to invade America we shouldn’t be surprised when there is a trail of victims from coast to coast.

In another case police in Barstow arrested Jose Luis Aguilar, 36, at a Greyhound bus station after he reportedly sexually assaulted and beat his girlfriend's baby daughter to death.

A day earlier, the baby's mother, Jennifer Reedy, 31, awoke to find her daughter lying dead in her crib.

Aguilar was gone, as was Reedy's car and money from her purse.

Police were able to find Aguilar using the GPS in his cellphone. At a press conference Benton County prosecutor Andy Miller, told reporters: "It appears that Mr. Aguilar was on his way to flee to Mexico." [Source: Washington Examiner June 12, 2013]

An then there is the case in Omaha, Nebraska where A 19-year-old accused of beating and raping an elderly woman who later died will now face a murder charge.

Prosecutors said Sergio Martinez-Perez beat and sexually assaulted 93-year-old Louise Sollowin in her home Sunday. Sollowin died Wednesday, June 24th.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine on Thursday said Martinez-Perez will be charged with first-degree murder.

Autopsy results showed that Sollowin's cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Martinez-Perez, who already faces charges of first-degree sexual assault, first-degree assault and burglary, is set to appear before a judge Friday to be arraigned on the new charge. [Source: KETV, Channel 7, Omaha]

Illegal alien child rapists continue their unchecked rampage across America, while politicians in both parties refuse to secure the border, and plot to legalize these criminals instead.

When we permit hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who reflect this sick culture to invade America we shouldn’t be surprised when there is a trail of victims from coast to coast. But instead of securing the border to stop it, politicians in both parties are working right now to legalize them instead.

These crimes perpetrated by illegals (usually from Mexico) are committed on a daily basis across the United States. If you doubt me I challenge you to watch your local TV news at 11:00 pm each night for a week. You will see reports of murder, sexual assault, home invasion, child abduction, and gang shootings almost on a nightly basis. Pay attention to the neighborhoods where these crimes happen and who the reporter in interviewing. If you can’t see a pattern you are suffering from conative dissidence.

According to a 2006 report by World Net Daily:

“Schurman-Kauflin, who runs the Violent Crimes Institute in Atlanta, participated in a 12-month, in-depth study of illegal immigrants who committed sex crimes and murders from January 1999 through April 2006. The study found approximately 240,000 illegal-immigrant sex offenders reside in the United States — while 93 sex offenders and 12 serial sexual offenders come across U.S. borders illegally every day.” [emphasis added]

Schurman-Kauflin said, “Gang rapes by illegal immigrants appear to be gang related. Many of the cases I reviewed involved gang members. As part of being a cohesive group, they offend together. Inflicting brutal gang rapes brings them closer together as a group. It is a way to demonstrate their power. And it sends a message to anyone who dares to cross them.”

Where are the race hustlers and amnesty apologists when it comes to these cases? Where are La Raza, MEChA, and MALDEF in defending the rights of these little girls? Where is President Obama, Cecilia Muñoz (the past president of La Raza and now Director of the Domestic Policy Council, for the White House and the person behind Obama’s immigration reform), and Luis Gutiérrez the Illinois Congressman and apologist for illegals and the crimes they commit. Where is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus? None of these people or organizations are speaking for these victims. They prefer to make excuses for or ignore the perpetrators of these heinous acts as they run counter to their agenda.

Obama and his race hustling buddies in the media can go around touting Trayvon Martin and how his civil rights were violated but can’t seem to find the time to expose the myriad of crimes committed on a daily basis by illegal immigrants.

Perhaps John McCain and his gang of eight compadres should pay closer attention to the victims of these crimes and less effort on trying to gin up the votes from the Hispanic community.

There needs to be as much emphasis on stories like this as we move closer and close to so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Which State Has The Worst Roads

“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments.” — Friedrich August von Hayek

When I moved to California from Ohio in 1962 construction on the Interstate Highway System was in full bloom. States across the land were building bridges, buy rights of way, and laying down miles of concrete roadway.

Upon arrival in California I accepted a position as a highway engineering technician for the California Division of Highways (now Caltrans) and began working on the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) in Los Angeles. We were building eight lanes of concrete roadway from downtown Los Angeles to the Coast Highway in Santa Monica. We were excited over what we were doing and thought this superhighway would solve much of the traffic problems in getting from Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

At the time we were building the Santa Monica Freeway there were hundreds of miles on freeway being built in Los, Angels, Ventura, and Orange counties the area covered by the district I worked for.

At the same time other states were building their interstates and as always when a massive undertaking such as the Interstate Highway System is underway there will be those who will take advantage of the program. Two examples come to mind. The first was the construction of the Tampa Bay causeway where the contractor used sea water to mix his concrete. The salt in the sea water weakens the strength of the concrete and will shorten its life. When this was discovered by inspectors from the Bureau of Public Roads (now the Department of Transportation) the project was stopped, the weaken concrete removes and replaces and the contractor ended up in jail.

The second example was discovered just east of my home town of Cleveland Ohio on the newly constructed I-90. When the roadway was opened a reporter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer was driving along the road just after a heavy rain storm. He noticed large puddles of water (birdbaths in the lexicon of highway engineers) and thought that this should not be happening. He began to write a series of articles about the condition of the roadway. These article brought attention to the Ohio Highway Department and they began an investigation as to why the roadway was sinking in spots. When they conducted test borings they discovered that the sub-base rather than being the required 8 inches thick was only 4 inches. It seems as the contractor has cheated on the sub-base charging for 8 inches while only delivering 4 inches. This amounts to 3097.6 cubic yards per mile for a dual roadway. As you can see if the contract was for a 10 mile section your about talking 31,000 cubic yards of expensive sub base material.

There were other scandals involving the Interstate program including interchanges to nowhere in the desert except dirt roads leading to ranches bids going to friends of local politicians.

Not all states were involved in these scandals and California was considered a model for the building of the Interstate System. This lead NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report to do a special on the Great Interstate Scandal where they exposed all of the shenanigans going on across the nation. They also closed their report with a segment on how to do it right. For that segment they brought their camera crews to the project I was working on. Of course they had Governor Pat Brown, the highway department’s chief engineer and our district engineer on site for the filming. They even took shots of my survey crew doing some work and interviewed one of the members.

In 1963 California was considered a model for all states to follow when building their highways. The Golden State was ranked as number one in the nation.

But all of that has changed. Now California is ranked number 47 for their roads. Even with the highest motor fuel taxes in the nation California is at the bottom of the list only ahead of Hawaii. Rhode Island, and Alaska.

The Libertarian Think Tank Reason Foundation has just released their annual report on the condition of our national highways. Their report states:

“The nation’s road conditions show slight improvement; North Dakota, Kansas and Wyoming have the best, most cost-effective highway systems and that Alaska, Rhode Island, Hawaii and California have the worst highway systems in study of pavement condition, congestion, deficient bridges, fatalities and cost-effectiveness.”

Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report measures the condition and cost-effectiveness of state-owned roads in 11 categories, including pavement condition on urban and rural Interstates, urban traffic congestion, deficient bridges, unsafe narrow lanes, traffic fatalities, total spending per mile of state roads and administrative costs per mile. The study’s rankings are based on data that states reported to the federal government for 2009, the most recent year with full spending statistics available.

Nationwide there was small progress in every category except for pavement condition on rural arterial roads. These improvements were achieved at a time when per-mile expenditures dropped slightly. Despite receiving stimulus funding from the federal government in 2009, spending on state roads decreased slightly, by 0.6%, in 2009 compared to 2008.

“It’s hard to believe it when you hit a pothole or see a bridge in Washington collapse, but the nation’s roads have been getting better,” said David Hartgen, author of the study and emeritus transportation professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “There are still several states struggling and plenty of problem areas but progress continues to be made.

Among the states plagued with problems are New Jersey and California. New Jersey spends $1.2 million per mile on its state-controlled roads. That’s nearly twice as much as the $679,000 per mile that the next biggest spending state—California—spends. North Carolina, home to the nation’s largest state highway system, spends $44,000 per mile on its roads. South Carolina spends just $31,000, the lowest per mile rate in the nation, according to a Reason Foundation study of all 50 state-controlled road systems.

Drivers in California and New Jersey may be wondering what they are getting in return for that money. More than 16 percent of urban Interstate pavement in each of those states is in poor condition. Only Hawaii ranks worse, with 27 percent of its urban Interstate pavement rated as poor.

Not only are California’s Interstates full of potholes, they are also jammed —smog.p0416.per.jpg80 percent of the state’s urban Interstates are congested. Minnesota has the next highest percentage of gridlocked Interstates, with 78 percent of urban Interstates deemed congested.

In terms of overall road conditions and cost-effectiveness, North Dakota has the country’s top ranked state-controlled road system, followed by Kansas (2nd), Wyoming (3rd), New Mexico (4th) and Montana (5th), according to Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report.

Alaska’s state-controlled road system is the lowest quality and least cost-effective in the nation. Rhode Island (49th), Hawaii (48th), California (47th), New Jersey (46th) and New York (45th) also perform poorly.

Vermont’s roads showed the most improvement in the nation, improving from 42nd in the previous report to 28th in the new overall rankings. New Hampshire (27th) and Washington (24th) both improved nine spots in the rankings.

Minnesota system plummeted 17 spots in the rankings, from 25th to 42nd and Delaware dropped nine spots to 20th.

Massachusetts had the lowest traffic fatality rate, while Montana had the highest.

Here is the Reason Foundation’s ranking for all 50 states:

1. North Dakota

2. Kansas

3. Wyoming

4. New Mexico

5. Montana

6. Nebraska

7. South Carolina

8. Missouri

9. South Dakota

10. Mississippi

11. Texas

12. Georgia

13. Oregon

14. Kentucky

15. Virginia

16. Nevada

17. Idaho

18. New Hampshire

19. North Carolina

20. Delaware

21. Tennessee

22. Indiana

23. Arizona

24. Washington

25. Ohio

26. Utah

27. Alabama

28. Vermont

29. Maine

30. Michigan

31. Wisconsin

32. West Virginia

33. Iowa

34. Illinois

35. Louisiana

36. Arkansas

37. Florida

38. Oklahoma

39. Pennsylvania

40. Maryland

41. Colorado

42. Minnesota

43. Massachusetts

44. Connecticut

45. New York

46. New Jersey

47. California

48. Hawaii

49. Rhode Island

50. Alaska

I can’t speak for all 49 states, but I can comment on a few of the reasons California’s roads have gotten so bad over the past few decades.

Bloated Caltrans civil service workforce.

It is estimated that Caltrans employs about 23,000 full-time civil service employees. this includes engineers, surveyors, mappers, maintenance workers, administrators, and clerical staff. Unlike other highway departments across the country Caltrans outsources less than 10% of its work to the private sector. Other states outsource between 30% to 70% of their engineering and maintenance services to the private sector on a competitive basis. This means that even when there is a reduced workload there is no reduction in Caltrans’ staff. This bloated staff is due to the political power of the public service unions in California, namely the Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG). This union dictates how much of Caltrans’ work is outsourced. This causes inefficiencies in balancing the work load and creates a larger demand for future pension liabilities

Increasing costs of health care for retired Caltrans employees.

Today about one-third of the money Caltrans collects from gas taxes and other motor vehicle fees are paid out to retirees for health care. Even with the highest gas taxes in the nation Caltrans is getting less money for maintenance of California’s roads and bridges and less and less money that should be reimbursed to local counties and cities for the maintenance of local streets. Also there has been very little new construction financed by the state. Most of the new construction is financed by counties through voter-approved sales tax measures.

The state raiding into the highway trust fund.

Until recently due to a voter approved initiative forbidding the state of California to raid the highway trust fund for the purpose of bolstering the general fund the state used money intended for maintenance of roads and bridges to be used to support the giant social welfare programs in California. After the passage of the initiative this was no longer allowed, but the state can still “borrow” highway money at the discretion of the Democrat controlled legislature. No matter how you cut it these highway funds do not end up maintaining the state’s roads and bridges.

In 50 years of mismanagement and union control the State of California has gone from no.1 in highway construction and management to no. 47.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Another Infringement From The Administrative State

“The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.” — Thomas Sowell

The administrative state, the fourth branch of government, has struck again. Today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published a new “fair housing” regulation to ensure “every American is able to choose to live in a community they feel proud of.

The new guidelines are reportedly intended to help individual communities understand “fair housing barriers” and “establish clear goals” for “improving integrated living patterns and overcoming historic patterns of segregation.”

“This proposed rule represents a 21st century approach to fair housing, a819px-Shaun_Donovan step forward to ensuring that every American is able to choose to live in a community they feel proud of — where they have a fair shot at reaching their full potential in life,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said.

Donovan continued: “For the first time ever, HUD will provide data for every neighborhood in the country, detailing the access African American, Latino, Asian, and other communities have to local assets, including schools, jobs, transportation, and other important neighborhood resources that can play a role in helping people move into the middle class.” reports:

“According to HUD, long-term solutions include “helping people gain access to different neighborhoods and channeling investments into under-served areas.” The mapping tool may guide development and zoning decisions, for example.

In a July 16 speech to the NAACP, Donovan said the American Dream still isn’t within equal reach of all communities. He lamented the lack of diversity in America’s boardrooms, schools, and the nation’s “strongest neighborhoods.”

“We have got to shape a future where ladders of opportunity are available for all Americans,” Donovan said. “For African Americans, this is critically important. Historically, for this community, the rungs on these ladders have been too far apart -– making it harder to reach the middle class.”

Donovan said HUD’s new neighborhood mapping tool, which uses Census data, will “expand access to high opportunity neighborhoods and draw attention to investment possibilities in under-served communities.”

HUD requires grantees, including cities, that receive federal housing funds to adhere to the Fair Housing Act, which means to “affirmatively further fair housing.”

HUD, under the proposed “fair housing” rule, will be able to evaluate patterns of so-called integration and segregation, racial and ethic concentrations of poverty and access “valuable community assets,” elaborates.

This is nothing but another blatant example of social engineering by the federal government and an infringement on tour property rights

According to HUD, long-term solutions include "helping people gain access to different neighborhoods and channeling investments into under-served areas." The mapping tool may guide development and zoning decisions, for example.

In a July 16 speech to the NAACP, Donovan said the American Dream still isn't within equal reach of all communities. He lamented the lack of diversity in America's boardrooms, schools, and the nation's "strongest neighborhoods."

"We have got to shape a future where ladders of opportunity are for all Americans," Donovan said. "For African Americans, this is critically important. Historically, for this community, the rungs on these ladders have been too far apart —making it harder to reach the middle class."

Donovan said HUD's new neighborhood mapping tool, which uses Census data, will "expand access to high opportunity neighborhoods and draw attention to investment possibilities in under-served communities."

"Make no mistake, this is a big deal," Donovan said. "With the HUD budget alone, we are talking about billions of dollars. And as you know, decades ago, these funds were used to support discrimination. Now, they will be used to expand opportunity and bring communities closer to the American Dream."

Under the Fair Housing Act, HUD requires grantees, such as cities, that receive federal housing funds to "affirmatively further fair housing."

Under the proposed rule, the neighborhood data provided by HUD will be used to evaluate patterns of integration and segregation, racial and ethnic concentrations of poverty, and access to "valuable community assets." HUD wants to know if existing laws and policies — such as zoning, financing, infrastructure planning and transportation — create, perpetuate or alleviate segregation.

The proposed rule explicitly incorporates fair-housing decision-making into existing planning processes and other decision-making that influences how communities and regions grow and develop.

There is no enumerated power for Congress specified in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to interfere with local communities and how people decide to conduct their lives. Yet When Congress created HUD they gave them broad administrative and unchecked powers to put forth regulations that did exactly what Congress could not do according to Article I, section 8 and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. This is the power of the administrative state.

Suppose you worked hard, saved your money, and bought your dream home in a beautiful gated community. You wanted to live here because you not only lover the amenities offered by the HOA, such as tennis courts, pools, and community meeting halls. You didn’t much care who your neighbors were and figured it they could afford to live in this community they had a right to be here and would make good neighbors. Perhaps some of your neighbors were Black or Hispanic. Perhaps they were Asian. It didn’t matter. You all had one thing in common. They qualified financially to live in the community.

I doubt if there would be any welfare recipients living in your community. Now HUD will map your community and discover that it is not “diverse” enough to suit some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. They will notify your town council and mayor of this fact and impose sanctions if this condition is not changed to their model. They could do this through denial of block community grants and even civil rights law suits. Somehow the federal government will have to subsidize families to move in even if they have to use the power of eminent domain (see Kelo v. City of New London). Kelo was a case decided in 2005 by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development. In a 5–4 decision, the Court held that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The case arose in the context of condemnation by the city of New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property, so that it could be used as part of a “comprehensive redevelopment plan.” However, the private developer was unable to obtain financing and abandoned the redevelopment project, leaving the land as an empty lot, which was eventually turned into a temporary dump.

The big difference this time is that the land won’t be turned into a dump as HUD will provide the money for the welfare family to obtain the house next door and pay the association dues. This will be a direct infringement on your property rights.

This HUD ruling will affect every community in the United States. HUD will control decisions of local planning commissions. They will dictate who builds what and where they build it. Land developers and home builders will be mandated to provide “diversity” in the communities they create. HUD will make sure mortgage companies follow the diversity rules when they issue mortgages, even if the mortgagor can’t financially quality.

HUD will also further step up fair housing enforcement. In the past three over $54million in compensation has been awarded to 25,000 people who were wrongly discriminated against as a result of enforcement actions, Donovan noted.

By disseminating this information, HUD believes the original Fair Housing Act, signed into law in 1968, will be modernized for the 21st century,

This inequality comes from real estate agents showing fewer available properties to minorities than to equally qualified whites, Donovan explained, adding that ‘because of the subtle nature of this discrimination, often times, they don’t even know they have been subjected to this abuse.

If you think Detroit is bad wait until the central planners in Washington, D.C. come to your neighborhood.

It Finally Happened

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” — Thomas Sowell

Before I begin this blog I want to share a video that was done by Steven Crowder of PJTV in December of 2009. In the video Crowder takes you on a tour of the motor city and shows what has and is happening to the once great manufacturing center of the world.

And there is another video from the Reason Foundation address the issues causing the demise of Detroit.

In my search of YouTube videos about Detroit I found several hundred that would have be suitable for this article, but you can do that on your own by simply typing “Detroit in Ruins” in the search field.

In December 2010 I posted an article about the “Vanishing Detroit” in which I wrote about the history and potential demise of the motor city. In the concluding paragraphs of the article I state:

“This is a condition not limited to Detroit. Cities such as Oakland, St. Louis, Cleveland, and many others are approaching the same precipice of economic bankruptcy. With the massive costs for welfare and social services, shrinking tax base, poor schools, unfunded liabilities for public service workers pensions, teachers unions with the protection of underperforming teachers and increasing demands for higher wages and guaranteed pensions and a political class that panders for votes we are approaching a time in our history when cities are beginning to fail.

Until now cities have been relying on funds from state and the federal government to bails them out of their financial woes. With states experiencing the same malaise and the rising deficits of the federal budgets money for these cities are no longer going to be available. Perhaps the time has come for these cities to realize the mess they are in and declare bankruptcy rewrite their public service and teacher union contracts and tighten their belts in all areas of spending so they can survive. No more promises, no more pandering to special interest groups and no more fountains and stadiums unless they are totally financed with private money.”

Most rational economists and rational thinking people have been predicting the demise and eventual bankruptcy of Detroit for years. Now it has become official and no amount of state or, God forbid, federal funds can solve the problem.

Last week Governor Rick Snyder filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the city of Detroit. The once leader of American industry has now joined the junk heap as a third world city. Chapter 9, Title 11 of the United States Code is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, available exclusively to municipalities that assists them in the restructuring of debts..

Why did this happen and will it happen to other American cities?

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the bankruptcy specialist he appointed to fix Detroit’s1019-Rick-Snyder-ads.JPG_full_600 unprecedented financial problems put the blame Sunday squarely on the city and defended their decision to file for Chapter 9.

The Republican governor said Detroit created the problems and stood steadfast behind his decision to file Thursday for bankruptcy, with the city roughly $19 billion in debt.

“This is a tragic, difficult decision, but a right one,” he told CBS' "Face the Nation." “It’s not about just more money, it’s about accountable government.”

He said corruption and city leaders ignoring warning signs for 60 years contributed to the problems. Among his biggest concerns, Snyder said, is the decline of municipal services for Detroit’s remaining 700,000 residents, including police response times of nearly one hour.

Snyder said the state cannot help and asking for a federal bailout is “not the right answer,” though Washington has that option.

The Obama administration has extended no offer to help, after Congress and the White House agreed to bail out Chrysler and General Motors during the recent recession.

“Can we help Detroit? We don’t know,” Vice President Joe Biden said last week. His remarks followed White House Press Secretary Jay Carney appearing to rule out such assistance.

“That's something that local leaders and creditors are going to have to resolve,” he said. “But we will be partners in an effort to assist the city and the state as they move forward.”

Among the emerging concerns is that the federal government would have to help repeatedly, considering Chicago reportedly has an unfunded pension liability of at least $19 billion while Los Angeles’ is estimate to be as much as $30 billion.

The bankruptcy filing for Detroit marks a final step in the chrome-plated city’s decades-long decline — which started with the country’s overall manufacturing slowdown and continued with the departure of U.S. automakers and residents, leaving behind a sprawling city trying to survive on dwindling coffers.

Detroit was in the 1950s a worldwide hub of auto manufacturing, making it the fourth-largest U.S. city with one of the country’s highest per-capita incomes.

However, the so-called Motor City’s decline started soon after with residents — following their counterparts in other U.S. cities — starting to move to the suburbs and take with them businesses, jobs and tax dollars.

Historians argue the deadly 1967 riot in Detroit, one of the many so-called “race riots” across the country in the 1960s, accelerated the trend.

And as the population dwindled from roughly 1.8 million to 700,000, city officials struggled to keep up with municipal services in the 142-square-mile city, with a tax base just half of what it was in the 1950s.

Meanwhile, auto companies began opening plants in other cities as Japan-made cars dominated the international market. By 2009, the U.S. auto industry collapsed with the entire economy, eventually pulling down Detroit with it. When the UAW demanded high wages and more benefits the auto companies began moving to right to work states in the south so they could better compete with the Japanese car companies that were manufacturing cars and trucks there. As this happened the unions got what they wanted, but the jobs began to vanish and with that the tax base declined.

The city’s efforts to provide and maintain such basic services as law enforcement andDetroit Then And Now Photo Gallery trash removal were further complicated by the costs of paying union contracts and benefits, which have contributed to nearly $15 billion in unfunded liabilities for the city.

Once again these public service unions got the raises and pensions they demanded and the Democrats gave into their demands to get their financial support and their votes but the city did not have the money to fund these liabilities.

In addition, Detroit has a roughly 18 percent unemployment rate, one of the country’s highest violent-crime rates and about 80,000 blighted or abandon buildings.

“Chronic budget problems have taken a significant toll on everyday life for citizens,” Snyder said recently. “Detroiters deserve to feel safe when they walk down the street, to have their street lights on, to have the bus show up to take them to work.”

However, the city also has a history of corruption that has led to its financial problems, including Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigning in a 2008 sex-and-perjury scandal that cost the city almost $9 million from a lawsuit and legal fees.

Years of Democratic Party rule, corruption, escalating social welfare programs, failing public schools, high taxes, demands of the teachers and public service unions, racial tensions, gangs, and a rising crime rate have finally taken heir toll on Detroit.

The recent bankruptcy filing in Detroit is raising red flags about other major U.S. cities also dealing with billions in under-funded retiree benefits, prompting the question — who might be next?

Just last week, Chicago’s credit rating was downgraded as a result of its $19 billion in under-funded pension liabilities.

Moody's Investors Service called the liabilities “very large and growing" and warned that Chicago, the country’s third-largest city, faces a “tremendous strain’’ in trying to meet future funding requirements and public safety demands.

A similar scenario, though decades in the making, largely doomed Detroit, whose average police response time has grown to more than 50 minutes.

And like Michigan, which appears in no position to bail out Detroit, Illinois is dealing with its own $97 billion pension shortfall.

To be sure, other smaller cities have filed for bankruptcy, most notably California’s Stockton and San Bernardino in 2012. No other city of Detroit's size appears to be on the cusp of imminent financial collapse.

However, those bankruptcy filings together have resulted in speculation about whether more are on the horizon

Other cities now on the radar include Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., and Santa Fe, N.M. — following Moody’s saying in April that they and 11 other municipalities were being reviewed for a possible credit downgrade, the result of a new analysis system that further considers pension liabilities.

Though much of the national concerns have focused on pension liabilities, heath care costs for retired municipal employees pose an equally if not larger problem.

Amid the $18.5 billion in long-term debt that led Detroit to file for bankruptcy is roughly $3.5 billion in under-funded pension liabilities. However, roughly $5.7 billion of that debt is health care costs and so-called “other post-employment benefits.”

The situation is highlighted a Pew Charitable Trusts Study of 61 major U.S. cities that found they collectively had enough money to cover 74 percent of pension liabilities but only 6 percent of health care liabilities.

The total difference between what the cities owed to retired employees and what was covered equaled $217.2 billion, according the report, “A Widening Gap in Cities.” It was released in January and based on 2009 numbers, the most complete data at the time.

The nonprofit group also released a report in March that found New York City has a combined $1.15 billion in under-funded pension and health-care costs, followed by such major cities as Philadelphia, at $8.6 billion. In comparison, that figure for Detroit was $12.9 billion.

The video clip shown here is from PJTV and the three commentators summarize the reasons Detroit and other cities will continue to fail.

As our nation continues down the road of higher taxes, more regulations, and runaway spending by politicians only interested in the next election more cities will fail. Just wait until 30 million illegal immigrants are added in the equation.

Today we have 47 million people on food stamps. That’s 15% of the population. Even college students are receiving food stamps today.

Rather than use the meager funds available to cities and states for big union contracts, luxury projects like light rail, and promoting more welfare programs they need to pay attention to the basic municipal functions of police and fire services, garbage collection, repairing crumbling sewer lines, streets, and bridges — the things people pay property taxes for.

Since the early days of the Republic, America’s cities have been centers of innovation, wealth, and power. As they grew larger and their governments more commanding, places like Boston, Chicago, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis also became battlegrounds where political machines contended for influence. The early ideal of the part-time citizen-legislator gave way to the professional pol. In his 1904 “The Shame of the Cities, Lincoln Steffens observed that big-city governments across America had been undermined by a series of problems, including police corruption, politicians using the public till for their own gain, and rampant bribery in awarding public contracts, known at the time as “boodle.”

The Democratic Party is a party of special interest groups, or “factions” as James Madison called them. There are racial groups, LGBT groups, unions (both private and public sector), teachers unions, environmentalists, and pro-abortion advocates. All of these groups want something and the Democratic Party is who they turn to for it. They want plunder and the Democrats will give it to them as long as it brings them votes. They don’t care about the future. They only care about the next election and how to retain their power.

Decades of corruption built a mountain of liabilities, while scaring off the taxpayers needed to finance those promises. It’s like a movie trailer for the blockbuster disaster film to come, when America’s declining demographics catch up with the federal government’s vastly higher mountain of unfunded commitments. Detroit is the city our debt monster destroyed to get limbered up for the greater fiscal carnage to come.

Death spirals spin even faster when it’s possible for productive workers to escape. Thedetroitbt12_20130723_030548 population implosion in Detroit was swifter and more dramatic than our national workforce collapse, because it was relatively easy for citizens to escape the degenerate loop of declining municipal services and rising taxes but in the long run, the result will be the same. There are people capable of fleeing the United States entirely, when our moment of truth arrives. Their departure will be a good sign that the Great Crash is at hand. The loss of their capital and business acumen will hasten our collapse.

We should stop the death spiral before things get bad enough for the smart money to take a powder. Of course, there were people in Detroit who said the same thing, twenty or thirty years ago. They were drowned out by a perpetual-motion political machine, which promised the good times would keep rolling forever. Even now, frantic liberals are gibbering that Republican austerity measures somehow killed Detroit, even though Democrats held absolute power for fifty years. You’ll hear the same things right before the end at the national level too. In the very near future, you’ll be told your Social Security and Medicare benefits are being cut because evil rich people don’t want to pay enough taxes to fund them. It won’t matter that there literally isn’t enough money in the entire world to cover Uncle Sam’s long-term liabilities. Anger and resentment will be milked for power until the very end. Those who do the milking will soar away from the wreckage with millions of dollars in their pockets.

Pension and benefit liabilities are really just a concentrated form of the same toxin eating away at every level of government: deficit spending. They’re just another way to spend tomorrow’s money, which is easy, because tomorrow casts very few votes in today’s elections. The people who fret over “sustainable” development at environmentalist conferences are nowhere to be found when it’s time to discuss sustainable government. Forward-thinking “progressives” are perfectly happy to be ruled by the dead hand of past entitlement promises. Those who regard the U.S. Constitution as a dead scrap of old parchment think union benefit plans are chiseled on tablets of stone.

Here’s a trick question for you: What does the government buy with its billions in deficitDetroit money? The correct answer is: commitments. Very little of that crazy deficit spending is a one-time outlay, evaporating without trace in the next fiscal year. Governments use money they don’t have to rack up long-term spending commitments, which quickly acquire human faces. Cut a million in spending, and you’ll be putting this government employee out of work, or trimming back a program that person depends on for their livelihood. Lay a finger on the pension plans of Detroit, and you’ll outrage people who are counting on those payments to finance their lengthy retirements. Promises were made. Reform is betrayal. You’ll never see a more motivated group of voters than people who believe their well-earned benefits are at risk.

Maybe the people who made all those unsustainable promises should have thought about the grim day when it would become impossible to keep them. Perhaps the outraged beneficiaries should direct their ire at the people who bought their support by making commitments that can no longer be fulfilled. But it doesn’t work that way. The people who made the unsustainable commitments are long gone. Criticizing them is living in the past. All that’s left to discuss is how today’s young people will be indentured to pay off bills they never had a chance to vote against. Fate is written one borrowed dollar at a time, and the “progressives” tell us it cannot be unwritten. We surrender control of our fate whenever we allow the government to spend money it doesn’t have. We leave our children with a hope chest full of chains.

Liberals pretend that debt is only a concern when they want to talk about tax increases. And even then, it’s not that big of a concern. They’re not interested in balancing the budget, much less paying off the mountain of debt already incurred. Skeptics are told there’s no reason to worry, we’ll always be able to borrow more money. And then the day arrives that we can’t. It happens fast. The final promises of unlimited government credit are still ringing in our ears. Contrary to the promises of charlatans, government debt is not an abstract number floating on some spreadsheet. Money cannot be printed forever. There comes a moment that the cost of financing debt abruptly explodes, and suddenly the government’s financial commitments balloon by 30 percent, 50 percent, or more. Draconian tax increases are presented as the only possible solution. The geese that lay our golden eggs are duly strangled. And then what? It’s funny how quickly political rhetoric can shift from bright futures of unlimited possibility, to grim demands for the cash needed to fulfill ironclad entitlement commitments.

Private corporations and unions make unsustainable problems too, but at some point0722-Business-Detroit_full_600 unsupportable demands will kill off the host organism. The company and its unions collapse together, leaving others to pick up the pieces and devise a more workable business plan. That’s what happened with the Twinkie — it’s back on store shelves following a cycle of creative destruction. But that’s not what happened with Big Auto or Detroit, is it? When the operation reaches a certain size, we’re told it can’t be allowed to undergo the cleansing cycle of death and rebirth which means suddenly it’s everyone’s problem.

As goes Detroit, so goes America. The steering wheel is lashed in place, a cement block has been dropped on the gas pedal, the emergency exits are welded shut, and nervous passengers are told to swallow their complaints. The commitments that were so very easy to make yesterday will become impossible to fulfill tomorrow. The range of options available to deal with fiscal crisis will be dramatically restricted, as every strategy to increase economic growth is pronounced unthinkable. How much flexibility does Detroit have to win investors, and attract productive labor back to the city? How much flexibility will Barack Obama’s successor have to restart the American economy? Promises become curses, then wither away into epitaphs.

For more photos of crumbling Detroit please click here.

As Stephen D. Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for State and Local Leadership, writes in the Daily Beast:

“However long it takes, bankruptcy will cut Detroit’s debt, but that’s a necessary, not sufficient condition of any revitalization. On its own, bankruptcy can’t reform city government, reduce unemployment, bring down the crime rate, or reverse depopulation. Eventually, Kevyn Orr will exit the stage, and leave those challenges for Detroit’s citizens and public officials to resolve. In the near-term, the task for Detroit city government is usefully simple: bring down the debt. If progress is made on other fronts along the way, private sector actors will most likely be responsible. Government was not the only cause of Detroit’s decline, and will play, at most, a supporting role in the city’s revival.”