It’s rare that you’re going to see me castigate my fellow liberals, but from time to time, I will. Democrats across America are piling on the tool (Act 4) that Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has been using to right municipal finances in Flint, Ecorse, Benton Harbor, Pontiac, and soon, Detroit. These are all cities that have massive financial problems, and, more significantly, lack the political willpower or desire to tackle these problems on their own. ‘Civil rights activists’ have painted the policy as a sign of racism, that democracy is being undermined in predominantly black communities, and that it has to stop. Alright, fine, say it stops, but then what?
These are cities that are unable to deliver basic services to their residents. And particularly in the city of Detroit, the city government hasn’t been used so much as a tool to deliver the needed services and infrastructure to grow the economy of the city, so much as it’s been a personal piggy bank for those people who work for the city of Detroit. There are many dedicated and hardworking employees in the city government, but there are just as many who use their jobs to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense. For example, the federal government announced that it could no longer continue to fund the $55 million dollar annual grant to the Detroit Department of Human Services due to overspending, corruption and nepotism.
I can’t think of a place where this money is more sorely needed, but because the department lacked the political willpower to clean up its act, that money is now gone. The politics between the mayor and the city council are, at best, dysfunctional. Fundamentally, the problem is that everyone in a position of power is so concerned about holding onto that power is that they’re going to end up with absolutely nothing if they keep at the policies that they’re pushing.
The city of Detroit needs a comprehensive and fundamental overhaul in the way that it governs itself. Ironically, the biggest impediment to that right now is the city government. Gov. Snyder is doing the right thing. Those on the left that are playing the race card on this one fail to see the fact that the residents of these predominantly black cities are entitled to the same basic services that other Michiganders receive. This isn’t about race. This is about making government work for those people who need it most.