Over the last 40 years, federal fuel-mileage standards have destroyed thousands of Detroit auto jobs, federal welfare programs have destroyed the Detroit family, and federal mass-transit programs have diverted millions from Detroit road repair to empty train cars.
In light of this record, then, President Obama has resolved the solution to Detroit’s nagging problems is . . . more federal government.
“Instead of offering to explore legislative help to make America’s poorest city a federal tax-free zone to spur investment and repopulation” writes the Detroit News’s Dan Howes in a brilliant column about Obama’s “Strong Cities” initiative announced Tuesday, that sends troubled cities including Detroit, Cleveland, and Memphis federal bureaucrats to better coordinate federal programs. “Instead of directing its Environmental Protection Agency to balance proposed new fuel-economy regulations with technological reality and consumer demand; instead of recognizing the political minefield attendant to ‘outsiders’ arriving in City Hall to help local officials . . . the feds intend to answer government failure in Detroit with more government.”
Detroit is a microcosm of Obama’s stubborn central planning that is crippling the country.
Federal mpg standards didn’t work? More rules. The stimulus didn’t work? More bureaucrats. “The two-plus years of federal stimulus spending to create jobs and lower unemployment has proven to be an abysmal failure,” writes Howes, surveying Detroit’s crippled landscape of 40 percent (real) unemployment. Obama’s desperate bid to send more bureaucrats to manage its failure displays “the lack of economic leadership from a White House outmatched in vision and action by its times.”
Obama knows all, regulates all, plans all. Alas, what Detroit (and the country) needs, is not more dependence on Washington, but less.