Corporate Politics, Bureaucracy and Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 5th, 2013

Politics 101

(Originally published April 4th, 2013)

You won’t find many Union Workers filling out TPS Reports

In the movie Office Space we see how frustrating it is to work in a big corporation.  The office politics.  The bureaucracy.  The policies and procedures.  The frustration of having to answer to 8 different bosses after making a mistake.   Bumping heads with management at all levels.  And the mind-numbing frustration of getting your paperwork right.

Anyone who has ever worked in an office no doubt had their own TPS report moments.  And dealt with their own Bill Lumbergh.  So we laugh at poor Peter.  For we’ve been there.  And know his frustration.  For there is nothing worse than trying to work through a company’s bureaucracy.  Or dealing with layers of management that often appeared to be working at cross purposes.  And suffering under bad bosses.

Which is the whole purpose of labor unions.  To protect their workers from a business’ management.  And bad bosses.  Because unions say if they don’t management will just abuse their workers.  So unions shield workers from these unfeeling and inefficient bureaucracies.  Who are always introducing new policies and procedures to improve business efficiencies.  Things like TPS reports.  Which unions say only makes things worse for the worker.  So you won’t find many union workers filling out TPS reports.  Just the non-union office workers.

Dealing with a Bureaucrat is like a Grizzled Sergeant with 20 Years Experience reporting to a Junior Officer

Junior officers get no respect.  Comedian George Carlin served in the Air Force.  And said a common joke was to say when someone broke wind, “Captain who?”  They get no respect because they are bureaucrats.  They come out of their officer training with only book-learning.  While enlisted people have been gaining experience and learning how to do things on the job.  Then these junior officers come in with their book-learning.  And start telling these enlisted people how to do their jobs.  Despite these junior officers having never done their jobs.  Or understanding how to do their jobs.  But they will tell these people how to do their jobs better.

This is less of a problem in combat.  As junior officers typically have a short lifespan in combat.  For all the book-learning cannot replace the experience gained in actual combat.  Which is why lieutenants may command units but it is the grizzled sergeants with the combat experience that lead men into battle.  And a smart junior officer will learn everything he can from his senior sergeants.

Small business owners feel the same way about government.  For a lot of small business owners often go into business after working for someone else.  They’re like those grizzled sergeants in the military.  They’ve learned and done pretty much everything in a business.  Then decided to quit and start their own business.  And one of the first things they have to deal with is the mind-numbing bureaucracy of government at all levels.  City, county, state and federal.  A bunch of bureaucrats who never ran a business.  Who have no experience in their field.  And here they are.  Telling them how to run their businesses.  Like a junior officer out of the academy trying to tell a grizzled sergeant with 20 years experience how to do his job.

Under Obamacare Professional Bureaucrats will tell our Doctors how to administer our Health Care

In these complicated times if there is one thing everyone can agree on it’s this.  Bad managers, bosses, and officers are insufferable.  No one likes putting together ‘TPS reports’.  Or being told by 8 different bosses that they did something wrong.  And they sure don’t like people who don’t understand the first thing about their job or business telling them how they should do their job or run their business.  They especially hate people that can cite rules and regulations by chapter and verse who mete out some penalty or fine because they can’t cite those same rules and regulations by chapter and verse.

This will be the world of Obamacare.  And as much as EVERYONE hates these things at their workplace there are some who still want these same clueless bureaucrats and politicians to take over health care.  As if somehow these people who don’t know the first thing about treating sick people can do a better job than the grizzled veterans working in the health care industry.  Who spend more and more time filling out paperwork these days than actually seeing patients.  And the last thing they want is an even more bureaucratic system where they will have to report to 8 different people and agencies to treat a patient.  Where bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the IRS will have their own coversheets for their ‘TPS reports’.

In the movie The Usual Suspects the character played by Kevin Spacey said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”  For if you don’t fear the devil you may live a life more in line with the devil’s wishes.  Making it easier for the devil to get your soul.  Government is a little like that.  For it has a horrible track record of doing anything right.  Even in the finest military in the world the bureaucrat side of the military pays $100 for a $15.00 toilet seat.  And yet the government has tricked so many people into believing they want more government in their lives.  Even though government is nothing but the managers and bosses people hate where they work.  Bureaucrats who tell others how they should do their job by citing rules and regulations by chapter and verse.  But who really don’t know what you do.  Or how you do it.  Now these professional bureaucrats will tell our doctors how to administer our health care.  And God help you if you get sick and put the wrong coversheet on your Obamacare health care services requisition form.  Or leave an important income tax field blank.

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Corporate Politics, Bureaucracy and Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 4th, 2013

Politics 101

You won’t find many Union Workers filling out TPS Reports

In the movie Office Space we see how frustrating it is to work in a big corporation.  The office politics.  The bureaucracy.  The policies and procedures.  The frustration of having to answer to 8 different bosses after making a mistake.   Bumping heads with management at all levels.  And the mind-numbing frustration of getting your paperwork right.

Anyone who has ever worked in an office no doubt had their own TPS report moments.  And dealt with their own Bill Lumbergh.  So we laugh at poor Peter.  For we’ve been there.  And know his frustration.  For there is nothing worse than trying to work through a company’s bureaucracy.  Or dealing with layers of management that often appeared to be working at cross purposes.  And suffering under bad bosses.

Which is the whole purpose of labor unions.  To protect their workers from a business’ management.  And bad bosses.  Because unions say if they don’t management will just abuse their workers.  So unions shield workers from these unfeeling and inefficient bureaucracies.  Who are always introducing new policies and procedures to improve business efficiencies.  Things like TPS reports.  Which unions say only makes things worse for the worker.  So you won’t find many union workers filling out TPS reports.  Just the non-union office workers.

Dealing with a Bureaucrat is like a Grizzled Sergeant with 20 Years Experience reporting to a Junior Officer

Junior officers get no respect.  Comedian George Carlin served in the Air Force.  And said a common joke was to say when someone broke wind, “Captain who?”  They get no respect because they are bureaucrats.  They come out of their officer training with only book-learning.  While enlisted people have been gaining experience and learning how to do things on the job.  Then these junior officers come in with their book-learning.  And start telling these enlisted people how to do their jobs.  Despite these junior officers having never done their jobs.  Or understanding how to do their jobs.  But they will tell these people how to do their jobs better.

This is less of a problem in combat.  As junior officers typically have a short lifespan in combat.  For all the book-learning cannot replace the experience gained in actual combat.  Which is why lieutenants may command units but it is the grizzled sergeants with the combat experience that lead men into battle.  And a smart junior officer will learn everything he can from his senior sergeants.

Small business owners feel the same way about government.  For a lot of small business owners often go into business after working for someone else.  They’re like those grizzled sergeants in the military.  They’ve learned and done pretty much everything in a business.  Then decided to quit and start their own business.  And one of the first things they have to deal with is the mind-numbing bureaucracy of government at all levels.  City, county, state and federal.  A bunch of bureaucrats who never ran a business.  Who have no experience in their field.  And here they are.  Telling them how to run their businesses.  Like a junior officer out of the academy trying to tell a grizzled sergeant with 20 years experience how to do his job.

Under Obamacare Professional Bureaucrats will tell our Doctors how to administer our Health Care

In these complicated times if there is one thing everyone can agree on it’s this.  Bad managers, bosses, and officers are insufferable.  No one likes putting together ‘TPS reports’.  Or being told by 8 different bosses that they did something wrong.  And they sure don’t like people who don’t understand the first thing about their job or business telling them how they should do their job or run their business.  They especially hate people that can cite rules and regulations by chapter and verse who mete out some penalty or fine because they can’t cite those same rules and regulations by chapter and verse.

This will be the world of Obamacare.  And as much as EVERYONE hates these things at their workplace there are some who still want these same clueless bureaucrats and politicians to take over health care.  As if somehow these people who don’t know the first thing about treating sick people can do a better job than the grizzled veterans working in the health care industry.  Who spend more and more time filling out paperwork these days than actually seeing patients.  And the last thing they want is an even more bureaucratic system where they will have to report to 8 different people and agencies to treat a patient.  Where bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the IRS will have their own coversheets for their ‘TPS reports’.

In the movie The Usual Suspects the character played by Kevin Spacey said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”  For if you don’t fear the devil you may live a life more in line with the devil’s wishes.  Making it easier for the devil to get your soul.  Government is a little like that.  For it has a horrible track record of doing anything right.  Even in the finest military in the world the bureaucrat side of the military pays $100 for a $15.00 toilet seat.  And yet the government has tricked so many people into believing they want more government in their lives.  Even though government is nothing but the managers and bosses people hate where they work.  Bureaucrats who tell others how they should do their job by citing rules and regulations by chapter and verse.  But who really don’t know what you do.  Or how you do it.  Now these professional bureaucrats will tell our doctors how to administer our health care.  And God help you if you get sick and put the wrong coversheet on your Obamacare health care services requisition form.  Or leave an important income tax field blank.

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The EU is begging Britain to Stay in the EU so they can get their £30 Billion over the Next 5 Years

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 12th, 2013

Week in Review

People used to hate Great Britain.  And their imperialist British Empire.  Despite that very same British Empire giving us great countries like Australia, Canada and the United States.  And other great British Empire spinoffs that are some of the best places to live today.  All they see is a country that exploited others for their own interests.  But some of that hate appears to be turning into love.  For as Britain is preparing to hold a referendum on whether to remain in the EU some of these very same people are begging Britain not to leave the EU.  Leaving the EU, they say, could hurt Britain.  And being so concerned for the well being of Great Britain they beg that Britain remains in the EU.  For Britain’s sake.  How selfless and loving these people are (see German MPs warn UK EU exit would be ‘economic disaster’ by Bridget Kendall posted 1/10/2013 on BBC News UK Politics).

A new, strongly worded warning against Britain leaving the EU has come from a delegation of visiting German MPs…

Briefing reporters at the German Embassy in London, Gunther Krichbaum, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party, said: “Losing the single market for the UK would be an economic disaster.”

He added that more business leaders in Britain needed to make the case for continued membership.

Mr Krichbaum also argued that Britain would suffer a significant loss of global prestige if it left the EU club.

“Britain leaving [the EU] would weaken the European idea, but it would weaken Britain’s position in the world more,” he said…

Mr Krichbaum added that from his point of view, any attempt by Britain to renegotiate its position to reach a “new settlement” for continued membership would be resisted by its European partners.

Negotiate a new settlement?  Sounds like there is money involved.  Could this be the real reason why they don’t want Britain to leave?  Perhaps (see Banks fear ‘risk to City’ of EU exit by Kamal Ahmed posted 12/29/2012 on The Telegraph).

“The best way to strengthen our economy would be for Britain to leave the EU,” UKIP’s economics spokesman, Tim Congdon, said at the time of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

“We would quickly save the money now being sent by the Government to the EU, which will total almost £30bn over the next five years.

“That figure of £30bn is bad enough. But it does not include the far more serious damage done by the loathsome acquis communautaire [the body of EU legislation which candidate countries must first adopt], with its hundreds of rules and regulations that cause larger businesses to invest outside Europe altogether, bankrupt small businesses and destroy jobs.”

£30bn?  That comes to about $48.4 billion US.  That’s a lot of money.  To put that in perspective in Britain the NHS spent about £106 billion in 2012.  And is trying to save £20 billion over 4 years ending in 2014.  So do you think Britain could use an additional £30 billion over the next 5 years?  Yes.  I believe they could.  It would help Britain take care of Britons.  Instead of sending that money to Brussels.  To help Europeans.  And in doing so they could also make their businesses more competitive by getting rid of hundreds of rules and regulations.  Which is another reason they don’t want Britain to leave the EU.  For if they do not only will the EU lose £30 billion over the next five years they will become less competitive than Britain.  Making a bad situation worse.

It would appear they love Britain when Britain can’t be Britain.  They want Britain’s money.  And they want to keep Britain as uncompetitive as they are.  That’s when they love Britain.  Not when they want to do what is best for the British taxpayer.

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The Private Sector wants to Please us; the Public Sector wants to Change Us

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 11th, 2011

The Private Sector versus the Public Sector

The best things in life aren’t free.  They come from the private sector.  Where they’re not free.  But can be purchased at some very affordable prices.  We willingly choose to go to the private sector and willingly choose to buy the things they’re selling.  Because we want what they’re selling.  And we enjoy our shopping experience.

The public sector is a different story.  We begrudgingly interact with the public sector.  And only do so when we absolutely have to.  To renew our driver’s license.  Deal with the IRS.  To get all the required building permits to add a deck in your backyard.  Rarely do we enjoy these experiences.  Or are happy with the high prices for these services.

So why is one experience enjoyable and the other one not?  Incentives.  And competition.  One of them has them.  The other doesn’t (see Two Different Worlds: The Public and Private Sectors by Ron Ross posted 6/1/2011 on The American Spectator).

There is in effect an undeclared race between the public and private sectors in regard to satisfying human wants. Who’s winning that race? Which sector is doing a better job of affecting peoples’ lives in a positive way? In fulfilling human wants the private sector is leaving the public sector in the dust. People get more and more value from the private sector and the same or less value from government activity even though the cost of government has increased at an exponential rate.

Why is there so much difference in how the two sectors function? Two important reasons are incentives and competition.

The University of Rochester economist, Steven Landsburg, says, “Most of economics can be summarized in four words: ‘People respond to incentives.’ The rest is commentary.” Although I think that’s an exaggeration, there is much truth in it. The private sector is vastly more effective and efficient than the government mostly because of the differences in the incentive structures. In the private sector you can get rich filling needs and solving problems. The public sector’s incentive structure is totally dysfunctional.

This is why no one cares at the DMV that you’ve been in line for an hour.  Because where else are you going to go?  You know that and wait.  Because you have no choice.  And they know that.  So they don’t hustle to process people as quickly as possible.  Because there is no chance of losing their customers to someone who does.

In a competitive environment, innovation, efficiency, and product improvement become matters of survival. Apple and Microsoft spend billions of dollars annually on research and development. They spend those vast amounts more out of necessity than choice. If they did not they would fall behind and lose market share.

President Obama complained recently about the White House’s obsolete phone system. He said that the White House phones are “30 years behind,” and “we can’t get our phones to work.” He said that he was disappointed by the lack of “really cool phones and stuff.” Does he ever wonder why this happens? I doubt that he does. I’m pretty sure no major corporation has an obsolete phone system.

All innovation comes from the private sector.  It’s on the cutting edge of technology.  Because they spend money in research and development.  And in improving the process of delivering these products to the customers.  And all of these costs are included in the sales prices of what they sell.  Where prices typically fall after a product is introduced into the market place.  Amazing.  Meanwhile, taxes are always going up.  And despite all of this money the public sector operates more like a third-world nation in comparison to the private sector.

The High Costs of Licensing and Regulations

Not only does the public sector do things poorly in comparison to the private sector, their policies hurt the private sector.  And the very people their policies are supposed to protect (see The Cancer of Regulation by John Stossel posted 6/8/2011 on Townhall).

Licensing prices poor people out of the business.

“Compare New York City, where a license to own and operate a taxi is $603,000, to Washington, D.C.,” George Mason University economist Walter Williams told me. “There are not many black-owned taxis in New York City. But in Washington, most are owned by blacks.” Why? Because in Washington, “it takes $200 to get a license to own and operate one taxi. That makes the difference.”

Regulation hurts the people the politicians claim to help.

If the government in Washington can license a taxi for $200, why does New York City need $603,000?  To restrict entry into the market.  Which is the typical purpose of licensing.  To restrict competition so those in the market can charge more.

People once just went into business. But now, in the name of “consumer protection,” bureaucrats insist on licensing rules. Today, hundreds of occupations require expensive licenses. Tough luck for a poor person getting started.

Ask Jestina Clayton. Ten years ago, she moved from Africa to Utah. She assumed she could support her children with the hair-braiding skills she learned in Sierra Leone. For four years, she braided hair in her home. She made decent money. But then the government shut her down because she doesn’t have an expensive cosmetology license that requires 2,000 hours of classroom time — 50 weeks of useless instruction. The Institute for Justice (IJ), the public-interest law firm that fights such outrages, says “not one of those 2,000 hours teaches African hair-braiding…”

No customers complained, but a competitor did.

The competitor complained not over concern for the welfare of customers.  But because her lower prices attracted customers away from the established businesses.  Because if people can get the same or better quality for less, they choose the same or better quality for less.

Once upon a time, one in 20 workers needed government permission to work in their occupation. Today, it’s one in three. We lose some freedom every day.

“Occupational licensing laws fall hardest on minorities, on poor, on elderly workers who want to start a new career or change careers,” Avelar said. “(Licensing laws) just help entrenched businesses keep out competition.”

This is not what America was supposed to be.

Occupational licensing was to protect consumers.  But it restricts entry into markets.  Keeping prices high.  Hurting both people that would like to start a business.  And those who have to pay the higher prices because of licensing restrictions.  Often it’s the poorest people that suffer most.  And the rich that benefit most.  Which is the exact opposite of the desired result of rules and regulations that are supposed to protect the consumer from businesses.  And the poor from the rich.

Your Electric Car in Oregon may Kill You

So the public sector does not do things as well as the private sector.  And their rules and regulations hurt the private sector and consumers.  But those in government know what’s best for us.  Currently there is a push to get us is into electric cars.  They’re subsidizing them to make them more appealing to buy.  Because they are expensive.  And have limited range.  Which is a real turnoff to a car buyer.  But that doesn’t stop them.  Because they don’t care about what we want.  It’s about what they want.  And they want to put us into electric cars.

One of the biggest drawbacks of an electric car is that you cannot pull into an electric ‘gas station’, fill up and go on your way.  The current electric cars charge overnight at home.  And people drive them to and from work.  As long as the round trip is a hundred miles or less.  And they don’t use their lights and heater too much.  But they’ve come up with an idea to fix this problem.  But first, let’s look at some electrical safety.

Electricity is dangerous.  Especially at higher voltages.  That’s why our houses have 120V electrical outlets.  You may have a 220V electric oven, but you don’t play with the electrical connection.  A common industrial voltage is 480V.  It has more energy so it can do more work.  But because of that energy, it is more dangerous.  And people die in the workplace from electrocution.  And arc flash (see What is Arc Flash? by Mike Holt posted on mikeholt.com).

Arc Flash is the result of a rapid release of energy due to an arcing fault between a phase bus bar and another phase bus bar, neutral or a ground. During an arc fault the air is the conductor. Arc faults are generally limited to systems where the bus voltage is in excess of 120 volts. Lower voltage levels normally will not sustain an arc. An arc fault is similar to the arc obtained during electric welding and the fault has to be manually started by something creating the path of conduction or a failure such as a breakdown in insulation.

The cause of the short normally burns away during the initial flash and the arc fault is then sustained by the establishment of a highly-conductive plasma. The plasma will conduct as much energy as is available and is only limited by the impedance of the arc. This massive energy discharge burns the bus bars, vaporizing the copper and thus causing an explosive volumetric increase, the arc blast, conservatively estimated, as an expansion of 40,000 to 1. This fiery explosion devastates everything in its path, creating deadly shrapnel as it dissipates.

Yes, arc flash is so dangerous that there are costly and time-consuming OSHA regulations when working with or operating 480V equipment.  Safety programs.  Short circuit studies.  Arc flash calculations.  Employee training.  Warning labels showing the arch flash radius where personal protective equipment is required.  And personal protective equipment (gloves, face shields, fire-resistant clothing, fire-suits, etc).  Depending on the level of hazard.  Determined from the studies and calculations.

So working with 480V is dangerous.  But guess how they’re going to address the problems of electric cars in Oregon?  That’s right.  By installing 480V charging stations for ‘quick’ half-hour charges (see Oregon’s electric highway by Michael Vaughn posted 6/11/2011 on The Globe and Mail).

The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced it’s going to install Level 3 DC fast-charging stations along that portion of the highway.

Level 3 is the key. Level 1 chargers use 110 volts from a regular home outlet and charge a vehicle overnight. Level 2 uses 240 volts, like a dryer or stove, and charge a vehicle in three or four hours. Level 3 uses 480 volts and the heavy juice can take a Nissan Leaf’s 45-kilowatt battery from near empty to 80 per cent in half an hour.

And if there is an arc while you’re connecting or disconnecting, it can incinerate you.  Unless the OSHA regulations for worker safety are just a waste of time and money.  (Note:  Most arc flash standards are for AC voltages.  DC arc flash safety standards were developed after the AC standards.  Both are dangerous.  And both AC and DC will be present in these DC charging stations due to the long distances between stations.  DC does not work well over long distances.  So the charging stations will probably have an AC to DC converter built in.)

However, there are fewer than 50 electric cars registered in all of Oregon, so why do it?

John MacArthur, of Oregon Transportation Research Consortium, says the installation of fast-charging stations will build acceptance for electric vehicles by making it possible for people to take trips beyond the typical range of 100 miles. These stations will be spaced 30 miles apart and located close to the interstate around gas stations, restaurants and restrooms. You need to do something during that half-hour recharge.

Why do it?  To make us do something we don’t want to do.  Unlike Apple and Microsoft who can.  And they can do it without massive government spending.  Or make us wait for a half hour until we can use their product again.  A lot of which runs on easily replaceable batteries.  Which comes in handy during a power outage.  That and a car with an internal combustion engine so you can drive someplace that has power to wait until your power is restored.  Which you couldn’t do if you had an electric car.

The Private Sector Functions According to our Will 

The best things in life come from the private sector.  The things we don’t like tend to come from the public sector.  The influence of the public sector on the private sector increase consumer costs.  And creates barriers in some markets.  Which also increases consumer costs.  And government regulations and policies are often attempts to make us do something we’d rather not.  Like drive an electric car. 

So it’s not hard to see why the private sector is such a greater success than the public sector.  The private sector functions according to our will.  The public sector operates against our will.  That’s why there’re incentives and competition in the private sector.  And why there aren’t in the public sector.  Because one gives us what we want.  The other doesn’t.  Unless you want long lines, poor service and high costs.

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LESSONS LEARNED #45: “The bluest of cities in the bluest of states have the most activist governments, the deepest recessions and the most abject poverty.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 23rd, 2010

Detroit – The Motor of the World

Detroit.  Do I need say more? 

If you want to see the ultimate destination of liberalism, go to Detroit.  The Motor City.  The birthplace of the assembly line.  Mass production.  The veritable axle of the Industrial Revolution redux.  Detroit put the nation in motion.  In cars.  And in diesel-electric trains.  If it was big and powerful and moved the world, it came from Detroit.  The Arsenal of Democracy.  Detroit could mass produce trucks and tanks and airplanes to win world wars.  And did.  There was nothing Detroit couldn’t do.

Henry Ford.  Thomas Edison.   Albert Kahn.  Some of the greatest names in science and industry called Detroit home.  That place you can point to on your hand.  With pride.  The city grew and became one of the greatest and grandest cities in the nation.

And look at it now. 

Detroit and Government Grow Big

The population of Detroit grew up to and through the 1950s.  That changed in the 1960s.  When Big Government arrived.

Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh started it.  He implemented the city income tax in 1964.  The spirit of government spending was in the air.  The Great Society would follow at the federal level.  Government spending upon government spending.  Translation?  High taxes in the city of Detroit.

Then there was all the social engineering.  Lots of rules and regulations.  Some of it good.  But all of it complex.  And costly to business.  Compliance costs and taxes.  Not things that attract businesses.  Not a big deal when the Big Three rule the automobile world.  But that would change.  In fact, that would change because of the compliance costs and taxes.  The Japanese entered the market.  And they were selling better cars for less.  Add all of this together and you get the 1970s.

The Fall of Detroit

Detroit grew to be business unfriendly.  So business left.  And then the people left, following the jobs out of Detroit.  Then some of the social engineering made others leave the city.  School bussing, for one.  Families choose their houses based on the school district the house is in.  Of course, poor families can’t afford to live in those nice neighborhoods with the nice schools.  And Big Government thinks this is just not fair.    So they bussed the poor kids to the nice schools.  And bussed the kids from the nice schools to the not so nice schools.  Thus encouraging the people from the nice neighborhoods to leave Detroit.

They call it white-flight.  A lot of jobs and affluent people left Detroit.  Leaving behind the less affluent in the not so nice neighborhoods with no jobs.  Not good for any city.  Government services grew to help care for the poor.  The Great Society offered Aid to Dependent Children.  Which, according to noted economist Thomas Sowell, destroyed the black family.  Fathers ran away from their responsibilities.  And the state stepped in to raise their children.

Add all this together and you get a lot of people with no money and a lot of idle time on their hands living in rundown neighborhoods wanting for the basic necessities of life.  And that’s never good.  Detroit became infamous.  Crime and drug problems.  Devil’s night arson.  Street gangs.  Murder capital of America.  Crime and drug infested public housing.  Decrepit schools.  Truancy.  Low graduation rates.  And to solve these problems caused by Big Government, one man turned to Big Government.

Culture of Corruption

Coleman A. Young was mayor forever.  From 1974 to 1993.  And he was a Big Government guy.  He took the city from bad to worse.  And he fixed the racism problem.  By implementing racist policies.  After the white-flight, the city was predominately black.  And so would their police, fire department, public sector employees, etc.  They based hiring on color.  Not merit.  This accelerated the white-flight.  And set up a culture of corruption.  Which usually happens when you hire people based on who they know or who they are rather than on merit.

Young was hostile to the suburbs surrounding the city.  He called them hostile suburbs.  Why?  Well, that’s the problem you have with socialism (Young was an admitted socialist).  It just doesn’t work in an open society.  If the tax and compliance costs are too great in Detroit, people can move out of Detroit.  And they did.  Even the city cops didn’t want to live in the city.  They moved out if they could (by concealing their actual residency).  Or they lived clustered together in the city.  The real estate community called one such cluster Copper Alley.  It was near one of those hostile suburbs.  And it was one of the good areas in Detroit to live in.  Young hated this.  And the suburbs that offered safe sanctuary from oppressive, socialist policies.

Detroit was one of the most corrupt cities during Mayor Young’s tenure.  It was crony capitalism at its worst.  Everyone was corrupt.  Even the authorities were forever investigating the mayor.  (A later mayor was doing a lot of the same.  And he went to jail.)  It was during the Young administration that a couple of humorous slogans started to appear on T-shirts.  “Welcome to Detroit.  Now get the hell out.”  And “Detroit.  Where the weak are killed and eaten.”  High praise indeed for the Murder Capital of America.

Detroit’s Future – Returning to the Plow

So what happens after a city suffers at the hands of Big Government for a few decades?  Well, the population declines.  Because no one wants to live in the city.  About a million people have left Detroit since its peak in the 1950s.  And if that ain’t a repudiation of Big Government, I don’t know what is.

So what is the current mayor doing?  Well, the city is broke.  City services are in shambles.  So they’re going to move people out of sparsely populated neighborhoods.  Pack them closer together.   And abandon large tracts of land.  Just let the land return to nature.  Or plow it into farmland.  If anyone wants to buy it.

Ironic, really.  The city that made the world move forward is moving backward.  A sad ending indeed for the Motor City.

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