The story of the incredible rise and fall of Detroit Michigan is a lesson to us all about the results of Progressive Politics. Detroit Michigan was once the envy of the world, and the best place on this planet in which to live. Today it is a post-apocalyptic barren wasteland, which bears testimony to the failed policies of Progressive ideologies.
How could this happen? The answer to this question reveals the inevitable results for all of America should we cave in to a Progressive view of the world. Detroit Michigan has been ruled for fifty uninterrupted years by Progressive Liberal Democrats.
This article will investigate the causes of the decline into chaos of Detroit Michigan, and the implications to people the world over, but especially for Americans. The failings of Progressive Liberal ideas are not confined to Detroit, of course. Of the top ten cities in America for poverty, all of them have been administered by Progressive Liberals non-stop for an average of seventy years.
Detroit Michigan was founded as a fur trading village in 1701 by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac of France. It is the only major U.S. City where Canada can be viewed by looking south. Detroit means "strait" in French, so named because the Detroit River links Lake Erie to Lake Huron.
Detroit was once the manufacturing center of the entire world. It also was the headquarters for Soul Music. Its nicknames are The Motor City and Motown. 100 years ago, it was called "The Paris of the West" for its splendid architecture and fine mansions.
5,700,000 people live in the Greater Detroit Area today. The city of Detroit itself has lost over half its population since 1950, when it was the 4th most populous city in America. Today, Detroit ranks 11th among U.S. cities for population.
The Rise of Detroit
Henry Ford began building automobiles in 1896 in Detroit. At that time, the city boasted 275,000 residents. Within ten years, Walter Chrysler, the Dodge Brothers, and the founder of what would become General Motors also set up plants in Detroit to build motorcars. By the 1920s, Detroit would have over 1,000,000 citizens, and the city reached nearly 2,000,000 in 1950.
Henry Ford is the "Father of the Assembly Line." His ideas about manufacturing changed the world. Ford broke down the building of automobiles to where each of his workers would only do simple tasks that anyone could do. His ideas were copied for the manufacture of nearly every product. This opened up employment for millions of people with no education or skills.
Henry Ford attracted workers to Detroit after he announced in 1914 that he would pay double the prevailing wages for unskilled labor. It was Ford who instituted the 40-hour work week when many people in America were working 80 hours a week. He also designed his factories with huge windows so his workers would be bathed in sunlight.
Henry Ford was adamantly opposed to labor unions, which were created by Communists, because labor union leaders advocated violence and workplace disruptions. Ford correctly saw that in the long run, labor unions would hurt the manufacturers who provided jobs for the unskilled and illiterate, and thereby hurt the workers they proposed to help.
United Auto Workers
The United Auto Workers Union was formed in 1935 by John L. Lewis, who was backed by pro-Soviet Communists. Prior to this, automobile manufacturers had already lifted the standard of living for unskilled workers to the highest in the world.
The United Auto Workers immediately set about to create strife in the workplace, and created a mindset among workers that the companies they worked for were their enemies. Union agitators called factory workers "slave labor." Their ultimate aim was to topple Capitalism.
Barely one year after the United Auto Workers was formed; strikes were shutting down the places of employment for millions of people. In nearly every case, the union prevailed over the employer, who then had to pass on the higher labor costs to its customers. Its customers had no real alternative suppliers for automobiles until the 1970s. The steady increase in labor costs created phenomena known as "sticker shock" for buyers of automobiles.
The power of labor unions derived from the Wagner Act of 1935. This legislation was passed by Progressive Democrats who dominated American politics at that time and for decades after. The Progressive Democrats saw labor union members as a potentially enormous voting block that would perpetuate their power. The unions would extract "dues" from all workers, which would then be funneled to the Democratic Party. In the 2008 elections, $400,000,000 was contributed to Democrats by labor unions.
In 1937, there were 4,740 union strikes in America that involved 1,861,000 workers and resulted in 38,000,000 days of work lost to American industries. In 1945-1946, labor unions struck 9,735 companies, involving more than eight million workers and costing American industry 154 million work days.
In 1946, the UAW struck auto manufacturers demanding a 30-hour work week—for 40 hours pay. Then started a pattern whereby the UAW would strike one car manufacturer each year, which would then lose sales to the other carmakers until the strike ended in capitulation to the union.
In 1950, the UAW strikes gained the incredible pension plans that have the United States in such economic trouble today. That same year the union demanded and won employer provided health care, which is at the root of today's health care crisis.
By the 1970s union workers in the auto industry were costing companies $70 per hour. Worse than the exorbitant pay for simple work were the union work rules that hampered companies, and encouraged sloth in the workplace, and thus produced shoddy workmanship. The cars coming out of Detroit were poorly made.
The Japanese then offered superior automobiles, made with precision, and available at a far lower cost. They took 20% of the market in the 1970s. The Japanese workers could make the same number of cars with half as many workers. General Motors wanted to copy the Japanese method, including some automation; but the United Auto Workers response was that GM could cut its number of workers in half only if they continued to pay all of them, including the idled workers.
Even in view of this new reality, the United Auto Workers continued to strike in the 1990s, costing American carmakers billions of dollars. By this time, each car cost an extra $1500 to cover health care costs alone for current and retired employees.
The United Auto Workers union also drove the bicycle manufacturing industry out of America by 1980. Countless American companies were forced by exorbitant labor costs to move their facilities to "Right to Work" states, or out of the United States altogether, in order to compete in the global marketplace.
In 2009, President Obama, beholden to labor unions for his election, gave General Motors $58,000,000,000 from American taxpayers to keep it alive. The company that once produced 5,000,000 automobiles each year, now barely sells 2,000,000. The U.S. government took the majority of GM stock, making the government a manufacturer for the first time ever. This is in response to the untenable wages, benefits, and pensions won by the United Auto Workers over the years.
Five million people moved from Closed Shop [union dominated] states to Right to Work states from 2000 to 2008.
1967 Detroit Race Riots
"The riot put Detroit on the fast track to economic desolation, mugging the city and making off with incalculable value in jobs, earnings taxes, corporate taxes, retail dollars, sales taxes, mortgages, interest, property taxes, development dollars, investment dollars, tourism dollars, and plain damn money."
1st black mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young
In the early 1960s, Detroit Michigan was widely hailed as a model city for race relations. Detroit had a large and prosperous black middle class, most of whom had escaped utter poverty picking cotton in the southern United States. Look magazine called Detroit "The All American City." Blacks lived in their own neighborhoods, true. But so did Mexicans, Poles, Greeks, and the Irish.
100,000 poor blacks had moved from the South to Detroit in the 1920s to work in factories for far higher wages, and far better working conditions, than they had ever experienced on this planet anywhere. 100,000 more came in the 1940s, followed by just as many in the 1950s and 1960s. Blacks were making more money in Detroit than anyplace on earth by 1966.
Black Americans had much to be thankful for in the 1960s. The Civil Rights Act of 1965, the Voting Rights Act of 1966, and the promises of billions of dollars from the Great Society for inner cities were the most important gains for blacks since Emancipation. Instead of gratitude, blacks responded with violent riots. And nowhere were they worse than in Detroit Michigan.
In July of 1967, Detroit police conducted a raid on a black speakeasy, or blind pig, which was a nightclub selling booze without a liquor license. 83 blacks were arrested. Blacks responded with the worst riot in United States history. 10,000 of them began vandalizing, looting, and burning down businesses and homes. 100,000 others gathered in the streets to cheer them on.
2500 businesses were looted or burned to the ground. 43 people were killed. 467 were seriously injured, including 83 firefighters. Bricks and bottles rained on firemen trying to put out fires; from the very people whose homes were on fire. Most of the businesses owned by blacks were destroyed. The damage to property was $60,000,000. The United States military had to be called in to restore order.
White people soon fled the city of Detroit for fear of their safety. 67,000 whites moved out by the end of 1967; 80,000 more in 1968; 46,000 more in 1969.
My friend, Joe Smith, who has lived in Detroit all of his sixty years, says it was not at all the color of their skin that made whites move away from blacks: it was the behavior of people with black skin.
The riots only made blacks more militant. The voices of moderate blacks, who were favored by the majority, were drowned out by black radicals, who called for separate republic for black Americans. The black militant leaders instructed their people to break into gun shops and steal weapons. They preached that it was entirely moral to murder white people. Black Power was the rage. H. Rap Brown said: "Get you some guns and kill the honkies!"
Blacks wanted Detroit for themselves, and white people gave it to them. Blacks complained that groceries cost 20% more in the inner city. But grocery stores there made less profit—shoplifting cost vendors more than 20%.
Blacks demanded more funds for their schools saying "It costs twice as much to educate a [black] ghetto child." Blacks demanded black studies taught to black students by black teachers. They didn't want a "white education."
Predictably, the federal government poured millions of taxpayer dollars confiscated from all Americans into Detroit. Much of those dollars vanished.
The Jewish Progressive Liberal federal judge, Stephen Roth, ordered 780,000 children bussed out of their neighborhoods to integrate the schools. Some children were sentenced to a 90 minute bus ride to school. This only accelerated "white flight."
Something Wicked Comes This Way
Enter Coleman Young. Coleman Young became the first black mayor of Detroit in 1973, and he would serve in that capacity for twenty years. One year after entering the office, his regime made Detroit a "strong mayoral system," which gives the mayor nearly absolute authority.
Coleman Young made Detroit the most Progressive, Liberal city in the world. The levels of corruption in his administration were unprecedented. Coleman Young was a racist who hated white people, and did his best to drive what was left of them from Detroit. Businesses left with them, and the tax base eroded. Crime and drugs took over. Black gangs of criminals terrorized the poor whites who could not escape the city, while Young looked the other way.
Coleman Young outraged white people with his confrontational, outrageous comments. He proclaimed that all white people were racists. He also went out of his way to offend Christians. By the time he left office, Detroit had lost half its population.
Coleman Young's close friend and confidant, William Hart, whom he made Chief of Police, served fifteen years in prison after being convicted of stealing 2.6 million dollars of taxpayer funds. During Young's tenure, Detroit became the murder capital of the world, the arson capital of the world, and the most dangerous city in America. The poverty rate zoomed to 34%, highest in the United States. Unemployment rose to 24%.
A city that was 90% white became 82% black. Detroit became a lawless pocket of poverty. Property values predictably plummeted. Whatever neighborhoods blacks moved into saw a sharp rise in crime, and disruption in its schools. The Great Society gave them money for nothing, and they gave the Great Society less than nothing in return.