Grassroots Commentary

Liberal Dreams Realized

David Nace · Jul. 30, 2013

The liberal/progressive dream for America is that voters will elect Democrat candidates year after year.  Once in office, these legislators will vote for expansive social programs, high wages and generous retirement benefits for everyone.  While liberals have not achieved their dream throughout America, there are cities that have been using their model of government for decades.  If the liberal model is correct, one would expect people to be flocking to the cities that have implemented their ideas, but no one seems to want to move to Detroit.

Democrat officials have governed Detroit since 1961.  These politicians have in turn rewarded the public sector unions that helped them get into office by providing high wages and generous pension benefits for city workers. The only problem is that in the process, the public sector unions and the Democrat party have bankrupted Detroit.  Even now, rather than agree to wage and benefit concessions, attorneys for the unions have tried to block the bankruptcy proceedings in court and appealed to President Obama to honor his campaign statement that he would not allow Detroit to go into bankruptcy

Detroit is not alone in its financial problems.  In cities large and small across America, liberals with the help of a partisan national news media have convinced urban populations to vote for politicians that provide programs of dependency rather than policies that produce jobs and prosperity.  Public sector unions have been able to use their political power to achieve wages and especially benefits for their members far beyond what the market place would dictate.  In some cities, misguided politicians have raised the minimum wage, which numerous studies show merely increases the already high minority and youth unemployment rate even higher.

While public sector workers and the politicians they support benefit enormously from these policies, the rest of the population is hurt by them.  Unfortunately, programs of dependency do not provide the same lifetime earnings potential as a job provides and eventually taxpayers have to pay for these programs. However, as FDR proved in 1936 and Barack Obama proved again in 2012, progressive policies may prevent economic recovery, but programs of dependency do create loyal voters.

Unlike the Federal government, cities cannot print their own money, so eventually they have to raise taxes to pay for the generous programs of dependency they have created and high wages and benefits that they have given to public sector workers.  When cities raise taxes to pay for these programs, more affluent taxpayers move to lower tax areas in the suburbs. Democrat policies that increase the power of unions to enable some workers to get wages and benefits far beyond what the market place dictates eventually drive companies, even complacent auto companies, to look for lower cost areas to manufacture their products.

Detroit demonstrates the logical consequences of the liberal utopian dream.  Is that the future that we want for America?

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