Opinion: Dangerous Trends: The Connection Between Democrats and Big City Failures

Housing in Uptown Chicago, Illinois, pictured in 1942. (Public domain image courtesy U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

As fans of the popular CBS show “NCIS” might recall, one of the main characters, Agent Gibbs, lives by a set of “rules” which he has come to develop throughout his life. While he often references many of these “rules,” the one most often repeated—his golden rule of sorts—is that “there is no such thing as a coincidence.”

However, this rule does not simply remain within the confines of fictional television. There exists a correlation between poor American cities and liberal leadership within these cities. To deny this is simply to deny facts. To dismiss it as a coincidence is not only to blatantly defy Gibbs’ golden rule but to ignore the undeniable causation between liberal policies and the increasing economic instability and poverty that they foster.

According to a CBS article in 2015, the five poorest cities in the US were Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Memphis, and Tucson. An alarming trend among these cities is that they have all long been under the leadership of Democratic mayors.

Even in this hyper political time both Democrats and Republicans can, of course, agree that poverty is an issue, but where they differ is in their ideas of how to solve this issue. But, this pattern of poverty within Democrat run cities demonstrates that the liberal policies aimed at solving issues of poverty are clearly not effective.

The existence of Democratic leadership and the failing of these cities is not simply a correlation without causation. There is no denying that it was, in fact, the liberal policies that have hurt the cities. The detrimental effects of the policies can clearly be observed.

However, imagine for a moment that the decline of these cities was solely due to outside factors rather than liberal policies. Even if that were the case, clearly the policies instituted by the Democratic leadership of these cities has failed to pull these cities out of their rapid decline into poverty and crime. Time and time again Democratic leaders are voted into power and time and time again progress fails to be made.

In 2013, the once flourishing city of Detroit became the largest city to ever file for bankruptcy. This city that has been under liberal control for over fifty years, has an unemployment rate of 16 percent, failing schools, a decreasing population, crushing debt, and the second highest violent crime rate in the U.S. for a city over 50,000 residents.

Detroit and Milwaukee both demonstrate a similarly alarming and concerning pattern. Both places were largely manufacturing cities that saw prosperity during the 1950’s and 1960’s in a time when automobiles and military weaponry were in high demand. However, things started to change for them in the 1960’s when Democratic leadership was voted into control and began to grow the government’s role in the city.

With Democratic leadership came liberal policies. Hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money was brought in for large-scale public housing projects and social programs. However, tax payers ultimately felt the heavy cost of this initiative.

In a response to race riots of the late 1960’s Democratic leadership ramped up government intervention in both cities even further. More money was brought into housing projects and social programs than ever before. This strategy, however, did not prove successful in satisfying many of the citizens and unrest persisted. Except, now the cities were further in debt, tax payers losing more money, and crime rates were increasing.

Detroit began to meet the demands of public union workers, providing higher salaries and benefits than were affordable which led to a rise in the cost of doing business in the city. The practice of meeting the demands of union workers in these cities spread to the private sector in both Detroit and Milwaukee and the manufacturing industry soon began to leave these cities. Joblessness soon skyrocketed in these cities.

With Detroit and Milwaukee residents in increasing poverty, the cities in growing debt, the school systems failing (as of 2015, 96 percent of eighth graders in Detroit were considered not proficient in math and 93 percent of them not proficient in reading), it is clear that liberal leaders of these cities have failed to properly lead them out of distress and into prosperity election after election.

While these are some prime examples of unsuccessful Democratic leadership in American cities, one of the most abhorrent failures is in Chicago. Since 1931 liberal, Democratic mayors have been in control of the city.

This already-impoverished city is being bled dry by unions, to whom city leaders are beholden. According to a state budget office spokesperson, “nearly one of three state tax dollars now goes to paying pensions for retired municipal and state employees.” To pay for these union pensions, skyrocketing taxes on the rich have been instituted. This has not solved the city’s debt crisis, but have instead been driving higher income residents out of the city at alarming rates that will cost the county almost $30 billion according to a study by the Illinois Policy Institute.

Despite Chicago’s strict gun laws in 2016, the homicide rate in the city was 27.7 for every 100,000 people. This was a 58 percent increase from the year prior. In comparison to this, in 2014 the national homicide rate was 4.5 for every 100,000 individuals.

With 79 percent of eighth graders not proficient in reading and 80 percent not proficient in math, Chicago’s school system also proves unsuccessful. This failure in education could likely be linked to the alarming poverty rates that exist in the city. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 22.3 percent of residents in Chicago, as of 2015, were living in poverty. In 2015, the national poverty rate was 13.5 percent.

It is no coincidence that the five poorest cities in the U.S., and of course Chicago as well, have all consistently been under Democratic leadership. This is not simply because Agent Gibbs tells us that “there is no such thing as a coincidence.” It is because of the failure to foster economic growth, increasing debt, generational poverty, unsuccessful school systems, and rising crime which have proved to be a result of failed liberal policies that are doing a disservice to these American cities and their residents.

Comments are closed.