Saving Detroit

Out-of-the-box rescue idea -- partisanship aside -- has intriguing merit

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One normally needs to be reading the classics, either of fiction or nonfiction, to stumble across an idea that makes you audibly respond, “Wow!”

But we ran smack dab into just such an idea the other day, in an interview of National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry C. Alford by radio host Andrea Tantaros.

We would respectfully ask you to overlook the partisan nature of the question and simply consider the merit of the idea.

Tantaros asked Alford if the Republican Party has an opportunity to increase its appeal among black voters. Alford’s answer is stunning in its out-of-the-box thinking – and in its potential to transform America:

“You know, a great opportunity right now for the Republican Party is the city of Detroit, which is a disaster,” Alford said. “It is a disaster, and the Republican governor is taking it over. What if he were to assign that task to Mitt Romney, like we did for the Winter Olympics?”

What an incredibly intriguing idea. Why not try, if it might help?

Again, we urge you to look beyond the politics and to the policy. Ideas aren’t Republican or Democrat. Suffering – which Detroiters sure have been doing – isn’t Republican or Democrat.

It’s time America considered ideas based solely on their merit, and not who’s suggesting them.

That open-minded approach might be a lifeline for America’s major cities, many of which are struggling just to make ends meet.

Detroit is Exhibit A: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has declared the city a financial emergency, a step closer to a state takeover. The city has a $327 million budget deficit and some $14 billion in debt.

Once the nation’s fifth-largest city, it’s now only the 18th – but it would be the largest ever taken over by a state.

“It’s time to say we should stop going downhill,” Snyder said at a forum of citizens, according to Reuters. “There have been many good people who have had many plans, many attempts to turn this around. They haven’t worked.”

Snyder said he has an emergency manager in mind, but didn’t reveal who.

Alford’s idea for Mitt Romney seems a natural – since Romney did rescue the 2002 Olympics, and his father was once governor of Michigan.

But who it is isn’t as important as the ideas the manager brings to the job. It’s our view that the best ideas for turning Detroit around will involve business-friendly policies; no-nonsense law enforcement; galaxy-sized, family-friendly education reform; cuts in out-of-control public benefits and government expenses; and an aggressive program of right-sizing that may include returning large areas to nature.

These are just suppositions from across the country, of course. But some notions and principles cross nearly all boundaries of geography, race and political party. That’s because they work. They work because they appeal to humankind’s universal nature and needs – which include, of course the basics of food, shelter and security, but also hope and opportunity and self-determination and responsibility.

When those needs and desires are thwarted – by economic blight, crime, neglect, racism, irresponsibility, misguided government policies and more – you get flight, despair, decay, debauchery and, perhaps paradoxically, government profligacy.

With many of these things plaguing Detroit – as well as a badly battered American automotive industry – the opportunity is there for one of the great turnarounds in American or world history.

Such a turnaround will be possible only if the city’s challenges are met head-on and honestly – and with an open mind.

Too often in recent American history, America’s major cities have been closed off to ideas and approaches that are deemed “Republican.” And for decades now – despite John F. Kennedy’s plea to the contrary – we’ve elected leaders who keep telling us what our country can do for us, and who inevitably can’t quite figure out how to pay for it.

How’s that working out?

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Riverman1 03/11/13 - 05:15 am

The famous book, Megatrends, would say look to Detroit if you want to know the future of Democratic controlled cities. About all Detroit is known for these days is the reality TV show, Hardcore Pawn, showing the poor people haggling over how much they can pawn their gold teeth for. It is a tale of two counties in the metro Detroit area. Detroit's Wayne County has an average household income of $38,000, compared to the suburban Oakland County's $62,000. See a local correlation? If I were going to start a business in Augusta, it would be a pawn shop.

As an aside, so you guys spend time listening to internet talk radio, too. That concept does appear to be catching on fast because you do it from work or anywhere with all of our electronic gadgets. It gives you unlimited access to all types of programs.

carcraft 03/11/13 - 05:30 am
I think that would be an

I think that would be an excellent idea. Rudy rescued New York. Romeny could probably turn aroudn Detroit!

seenitB4 03/11/13 - 07:01 am
Sounds workable

for turning Detroit around will involve business-friendly policies; no-nonsense law enforcement; galaxy-sized, family-friendly education reform; cuts in out-of-control public benefits and government expenses; and an aggressive program of right-sizing that may include returning large areas to nature.

But not easy,......oh the gnashing of teeth...the law suits...the rallys....the crying out of racism...on/on...
The same thing will happen to Atlanta if we don't get a grip on it...

jimmymac 03/11/13 - 07:15 am
Detroit is the poster child

Detroit is the poster child for what life is like when it's controlled by democrats for any length of time. If you look at all the major cities in trouble in the US you'll see the common denominator of Democratic control. They tax the have's to give handouts and benefits to the takers of society and sooner or later they end up with a town with nothing but takers. Let them eat cake!

chascushman 03/11/13 - 09:07 am
“Detroit is the poster child

“Detroit is the poster child for what life is like when it's controlled by democrats for any length of time.”
Very well said and the same thing is happening to the country. Marxists/communists have taken over the leadership of the democrat party.

Red Headed Step Child
Red Headed Step Child 03/11/13 - 10:11 am
The chickens have come home to roost...

Maybe they can eat that along with the cake!

nocnoc 03/11/13 - 09:57 am
Socialism has a Detroit as its poster child

We know the numerous reasons for the city's failure.
But consider how it has been run and managed compared to Augusta?
Too say anything more would lessen the thought.

Austin Rhodes
Austin Rhodes 03/11/13 - 10:33 am
One great advantage...

...southern cities have over their northern counterparts is the inability to incur huge debt because of running a deficit. You can only legally do that In Georgia, if you cover the shortfall with cash on hand. Same with the state...(future retirement obligations not included, unfortunately...

GiantsAllDay 03/11/13 - 12:24 pm
Very interesting that I was

Very interesting that I was reading this editorial just as this story hit the wire:

Jane18 03/11/13 - 12:45 pm
Doomed Detroit!

Soooo many things are wrong in Detroit, it may have gotten to the point that much of it cannot be saved. I'm not sure, but it seems I read there is a large population of Islam believing people living in Detroit also............................AND seenit, you are 100% correct about Atlanta!

countyman 03/11/13 - 01:02 pm
I think both Detroit and New

I think both Detroit and New Orleans are making a big comeback to some degree. Metro Detroit had one of the fastest growing economies in 2010 and 2011.

dstewartsr 03/11/13 - 04:50 pm

Not a chance of turning it around; more than a half century of well established political poison has given the city a populace which is in collusion with the corrupt and violent gangs that really run the city, elected and formed over the years of turf wars.

Just imagine the fundraising opportunities if a Republican were to do something as "racist" as prosecuting the crooks in government, try to clean up cop's corruption, or police the public's housing projects. Talk about your windfall for every sanctimonious poverty pimp with a reverend before his name!

The only opportunity here is for EPIC fail.

rmwhitley 03/11/13 - 04:59 pm
A jury

finding the kilpatricks and ferguson guilty today was a step in the right direction. Expect the naacp to be at the forefront of the punks appeals.

nocnoc 03/11/13 - 07:14 pm
If you are at the bottom of the Manure Pile

Any improvement is welcome growth.

Detroit is a 1 industry town. The industry died and it died with it.
It is only starting a basic recovery. Which can be hampered by
increased union demands just as the auto industry is getting back on its feet.

mosovich 03/11/13 - 10:08 pm
Are you serious???

Jane 18 really, Muslim's are part of Detroit's problem?? Funny, most Muslim's I know contribute more to the economy than a lot of others do.. That is really and absurd comment.

Darby 03/11/13 - 10:32 pm
Not sure that Detroit is....

is worth saving...

The auto industry has pretty much relocated, driven out of town by the insatiable labor unions. The politicians are engaged in a battle over the spoils that are left.

Who really cares..??

deestafford 03/12/13 - 10:26 am
Some very interesting questions posed:

Can Detroit be saved?
Should Detroit be saved?
Who can save Detroit?
If he's white, will it be branded as ''racist"?
If we are going to send someone, and I doubt this person would take the job, let's send Herman Cain. He smart, no nonsense, uncorruptable , a successful businessman, and he's black. Just the right combination for success if anyone could turn Detroit around.

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