Detroit, R.I.P. 


Two pieces illustrate the sad fate of my home town of Detroit. Reuters reports on the auction of houses and vacant lots in Detroit. Some are being snapped up by speculators, but many others seem to attract no buyers at all. Detroit was once America’s premier homeowner city. Now land in much of the city is literally worthless.
Unfortunately, some people like the young would-be buyer in the Reuters piece, are looking for government to come to their aid. And, as this Detroit Free Press article makes clear, that’s not very likely. Detroit is a premier example of what happens when ordinary people depend on big units—big government, big business, big labor—for their sustenance, and when the leaders of those big units ignore the economic reality that you’ve got to produce things customers will value. General Motors and Chrysler have gone through bankruptcy and are now largely owned by the government and the United Auto Workers, and there’s not much hope for those left behind.  


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Michael Barone

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