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.

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