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Why Detroit is not the example Obama should praise

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 13th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Earlier this week, Obama traveled to Detroit and gave a speech where he called for infrastructure and unions to help rebuild the economy. He lauded the Detroit-area auto factory where he delivered his speech as a shining example of what America should become. Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why America should not become Detroit.

DETROIT, MI (Catholic Online) -  If Obama believes Detroit is a shining example, then he needs to take a second look around. Detroit is one of the most troubled cities in America, and its problems will get much worse than better.

Downtown Detroit residents earn under $20,000 per year and nearly half are unemployed. Unable to pay taxes, the city has a significant cash-flow problem. Worsening the issue, the city is paying out more in benefits than in salary, thanks in part, to union labor.

Traditional families have departed the city altogether, moving to the suburbs and away from the urban violence and depression. This has had the added detriment of making Detroit one of the most segregated cities in the United States. Racial tensions remain.

So what is Obama's prescription? Tax the rich even more and give the poor phones.

It makes sense, since the poor provide a reliable crop of votes for Obama and his leftist ilk.

While there are few who would argue against infrastructure improvements, it must be realized that those improvements should be built by efficient and productive private entities, that are not burdened with self-serving unions that want to help themselves to a slice of every worker's paycheck and will stop work if they don't get their way.

Nor should the work be paid for or performed by a government that somehow manages to operate at half the efficiency and a third greater the cost of private industry.

The factory where Obama spoke was a private facility owned by Chrysler, not the government. Chrysler is one of the big three American automakers, although the corporation is multi-national, wedded to Daimler. Yes, the factory operates with union labor, but the owners have made it work.

Despite the success of this one factory, Detroit, by and large, remains an example of a city mired with ethnic tension, poverty, violence, and unions that once drove the cost of labor so high that companies were forced to send jobs overseas.

Obama cannot croon over the success of one automaker, and suggest we emulate that pattern when the formula has failed the people of Detroit for more than a generation.

To stand in Detroit and talk about success is like standing in the one building not demolished by a war and say it is an example of how the nation should be - as the smoke rises from the nearby ashes.

Fortunately, Michigan just passed its right to work law, which will free many workers from burdensome union obligations and allow free enterprise to compete with an international, non-unionized market. That will mean more jobs for the area, not less.

If Detroit makes it back from poverty, it will be because private industry breaks the stranglehold of unions and government interference in their operations. When that happens, let's see Obama deliver a new speech, downtown.

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