The Corner

Detroit’s Bankrupt. Is California Next?

Detroit — at one time a thriving industrial center, the heart of America’s auto industry, and one of America’s most important cities — has gone bankrupt. But the central fact of Detroit’s downfall — that it was the inevitable result of 50 years of liberal governance — has been studiously ignored by the mainstream media. And what is worse, the media is ignoring the fact that it is going to happen elsewhere.

That is the subject of Michael Auslin’s piece today. Auslin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says Chicago may soon join Detroit if it cannot reverse its slow-motion fiscal collapse.

But if Chicago has started down Bankruptcy Boulevard, the state of California as a whole is nearing that road’s dead end. The Manhattan Institute’s new book, The Beholden State: Reclaiming California’s Lost Promise, highlights the problems that have led to California’s decline and proposes various solutions that can make the Beholden State the Golden State once more.

In a promotional video, City Journal’s Joel Kotkin, Andrew Klavan, Heather Mac Donald, and Victor Davis Hanson all contribute their insights into the state’s many troubles. Out-of-control public-employee pensions are draining the state’s coffers, and the widespread and powerful unions want more. The green movement has hijacked the promise of the state’s abundant natural resources and made them inaccessible to investors and innovators; the untapped oil and gas in the Monterey Shale could spur a California energy renaissance — if Sacramento would allow it. The state’s universities, obsessed with diversity, have become bastions of bureaucracy, not economic freedom. And Hollywood has abandoned great art for propaganda.

But “California is not lost,” says VDH. For his solutions, and those of his colleagues, check out the film, below.

For more information, go to

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Science & Tech

Set NASA Free

The Trump administration has proposed shifting the International Space Station from a NASA-exclusive research facility to a semi-public, semi-private one. Its plan would nix all government funding for the ISS by 2025 and award at least $150 million per year to NASA to help with the transition. This would be a ... Read More