By Sonya James
Posting in Cities
Some cities in the United States are getting darker, emptier, poorer, and smaller. What will it take to save these cities from becoming ghost towns?
When it comes to the life of a city, "urban death" sounds like an oxymoron. We know cities have perished in the distant past. We know cities in conflict zones are blasted to rubble. But a city dying a slow deliberate death? That sounds like a story out of the Twilight Zone, not the local news.
According to Charlie Jane Anders at I09, "Cities grow, or they die." And when you consider death in this context, it is more helpful to imagine how many streetlights are lightless than a mysterious ghost town.
"We've all seen the spectre of urban centers hollowing out from the inside," Anders writes. "And "ruin porn" has become a whole category of photography, with a huge fanbase. There have been multiple books of photos of Detroit's dilapidated theaters, railway stations and other formerly grand buildings. There's just something insanely compelling about looking into a formerly vibrant city gone dead — and part of it is the fear that this could happen to your town, as well."
So compelling, in fact, that Anders asked academics across the United States, "How can you tell if you're city is actually in a death spiral, or in danger of going into one?"
1. The size of the population is going down
This is the big one, says Patrick Condon with University of British Columbia. "Sadly, many center cities are seeing that." Many cities have lost 50 to 70 percent of their peak population — like Detroit, whose population has dropped 60 percent. "St. Louis has the worst population loss of any large city," adds Brent Ryan, an Assistant Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy at MIT. Other cities with huge population loss: Cleveland and Baltimore, and other big cities.
2. The average local income is also going down
In other words, "people moving in have lower incomes than those moving out," says Tom Bier, Senior Fellow with the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.
3. The population is overwhelmingly older
And as the city's population gets older, smaller and poorer, the reverse is happening in the suburbs, says Condon: younger families, growing populations and increasing average income. Adds Condon, "Detroit is the classic nighmare where the center city was vacuum cleaned of its middle class by a GM-inspired highway building boom, devaluing center city lands and sucking all the life into far flung isolated cul de sacs."
4. Residents are not paying taxes or mortgages
Bier says there are a number of classic signs that a city is in trouble:
- An increase in property tax delinquency.
- An increase in mortgage delinquency and foreclosure.
- An increase in rental of single-family homes.
- Property owners are unable to make needed repairs, because they don't have enough money.
- Homes are being sold through "rent to own."
- There's an increase in property code violations — or if the city isn't doing inspections, then that's a huge red flag.
Says Bier, "The key to preventing decline is making — or keeping — the community attractive to the point where people who can readily afford to maintain property will choose to live there. Once real estate begins to show lack of maintenance, stronger incomes will go elsewhere, which results in more decline, which pushes more stronger incomes away — and on and on."
5. Once monumental buildings are now "icons of decline"
Americans especially hate to see local "monumental buildings" standing vacant, because it makes their towns look bad, says Ryan, who's the author of Design After Decline: How America rebuilds shrinking cities. Detroit has had several "spectacularly vacant" buildings for decades, which become "icons of decline," says Ryan. These include the Packard Factory, the main local hotel, the train station — and even the baseball stadium for a while. When you see these huge vacant buildings around town, "that's sort of the clearest indication."
6. Land sits unused because there is nothing to use it for
In most cities, a parking lot is viewed as the absence of buildings — but in Detroit, even a parking lot is a welcome sign that the land is being used for something, says Ryan. If you can't even build a parking lot on some vacant land, then it's a sign that there's absolutely no activity going on. "At least someone wants to use the land for something. They're using it to park a car. It's not nothing."
7. Huge areas remain unrecovered while other areas flourish
On the surface, says Ryan, Philadelphia appears to be doing quite well — its population has been growing in recent years, and it has an image of being a vibrant, exciting city. But you can't take a train through Philadelphia, you'll go through North Philadelphia, "the heart of dead industrial Philadelphia." Philly was once the greatest industrial city in the United States — and that's all gone now. "The 30 percent of the city that was not industrial... is very active and vibrant. But you've got huge dead areas of the city," says Ryan. The healthy areas of the city are masking the trouble spots.
In the end, a city's life course is not like ours. Robert A. Beauregard, Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University, says a human being "is born, lives, and dies." Cities, on the other hand, "are socio-technical systems, precariously integral, and capable of becoming smaller and fragmented and still functioning well."
As places like Detroit struggle against the encroaching vines of urban decay - both metaphorically and literally, let this good fight be a testament to the dynamism of our landscapes.
I salute those who see decay and re-imagine local life in ways that put people first.
Jun 13, 2012
Did you ever have a favorite plant, shrub or tree where with each new spring it got bigger, healthier and prettier? I've had many and with each passing year one feels proud of what might be happening in the yard. Then somewhat unexpectedly things get out of control. The branches that were never intended to get that large get heavy and snap. The extraordinary growth over the years results in a plant that becomes ill formed with nice looking edges but overgrown tired trunk branches. Wind fall days or ice driven winds in the winter strees palts beyoned the brink where waht was once attractive topples over as a botanical disaster. Maybe cities have the same problem. Is too big something that eventually tears most cities apart? When it takes an hour to go 10 miles from one side of town (admittedly a big city) to the other is that problem an indicator that excessive growth justmight not be right? Perhaps there is indeed a Limit to Growth as was once described by Meadows in the 70's.
please lets not forget the city government of Black Nationalist leaning characters and , of course, those pesky race riots.
Rise of the Socialist Welfare System is precipitating much of the cities problems and indeed societies problems. Many people are taught that Big Government is the solution to all our problems. They are "fair" and they will enforce regulations for our "benefit" but with big government comes corruption, crony capitalism, secret associations, and tremendous bureaucracy. We can't build, drill, mine, or otherwise do things other countries do because they are "dirty" and we regulate those to death to the point it makes no sense economically to do these things in this country. We live in a culture of dependency now. A full 47% of the people don't pay any taxes at all. There is always an excuse why someone cannot succeed in our culture and we have scapegoats created via class warfare. Some people say that working for a living is akin to slavery and exploitation and they will not start their own business because they don't want to "beg the bank" for money which is apparently also evil. All you have to do is look at the video and pictures of Detroit. How awful this city looks. If you pay people to not work that is exactly what you are going to get. We have to return to our roots. We cannot sub-plant the God for Government . We should not be looking to others what we can do for ourselves. This country was started with the belief in the indiviual's freedom to become whatever they would like to or achieve whatever they would like. We have to return to individual responsibility and accountability. This country is in trouble. We have a tremendous amount of debt. We are turning to the European lifestyle that has proven to be a failure for hundreds of years. We have record poverty and now it was released that in the last three years the American family has lost 40% of their wealth. The only way out is to quit the spending and end the culture of dependency. The more corrupt a government is the more it legislates. If you worship power you will soon be workshipping evil. These are some famous quotes made by people hundreds of years ago and still ring true now. Government is not the solution to our problems....it is the problem.
At a national convention of the American Institute of Architects' Regional and Urban Design Committee in Pittsburgh during the mid-1990's, City Planning kept asking over and over at each session: "But who do we want to attract, and what do we need to do to get them to come here?" In the final plenary session where everybody came together to summarize the previous days discussion, the City representative again repeated their plea. A visiting architect had enough and shouted back, "You've been brow beating us with that question for three days in every session. But, you're asking the WRONG question!" "Chattanooga, Tennessee used to be called the little Pittsburgh of the South," he said, "and they were hurt worse by the collapse of the steel industry than you were here in Pittsburgh. But they didn't ask your question. Instead, they asked, 'Who do we have here and what do we need to do to take care of us?' They took that as their guiding question. When they started answering it, people elsewhere said, 'I want to be one of them," and started moving there with their investment." He went on, "They didn't just apply it to the people, either. They also included its culture, the physical community assets, its architecture, and infrastructure. Old buildings were re-purposed instead of being torn down. When the Department of Transportation wanted to demolish a historic bridge to build a new one, the people rose up and organized, forcing them to leave the old bridge as a pedestrian bridge when the new one was built for highway traffic." Again, he concluded, "You're asking the wrong question!" Pittsburgh's leadership resorted and continues to resort to carnival barking tactics in their effort just to get people to poke their heads into the tent. At the same time they've roundly ignored the needs of the people who live here while providing massive public subsidies for real estate speculation (it's the people who own older existing properties who must end up paying to cover them). The smoke and mirrors may have fooled some in the media who have raved about the transformation of Pittsburgh, but it hasn't worked well. Smart people elsewhere simply weren't fooled. Most needed only ask themselves, "why would I want to become one of them and be stepped on?" Meanwhile, as Pittsburgh continued to decline, Chattanooga shed its "Little Pittsburgh of the South" moniker. Instead, it started being called the "Little Atlanta" because of its booming economy. So if you want a good sign of a dying city, just look at its guiding question. Whether it's explicitly asked as in Chattanooga and Pittsburgh or merely implied, it is a good indication of which direction that city is headed.
Pretty simple. No one wants to live in a city unless they have no choice. (With a few exceptions). Why would anyone want to go downtown to shop, movies, restaurants and pay to park, and risk mugging, etc. I choose to live as far away from cities as I can, I don't feel like I'm missing anything. Incidently, the by products of "the politics of poverty" are with us everywhere, not just in the cites.
The question is [b]how can one tell if one's city is dying,[/b] not what is causing it. I would have to say that one of the surest signs is a desire to commit municipal suicide demonstrated by the urban leadership's pride in how many buildings they can demolish. Such folly is routinely accompanied by a failure to appreciate the value of the traditional urban form with its pedestrian, human scale as opposed to the modern suburban model and its automotive scale. In an age where the need for sustainability is becoming increasingly critical, this lack of vision portends the eventual decline of even those cities which may seem vibrant at the moment. A city which is experiencing population decline and economic distress can be revitalized if it respects, honors, and protects its urban character. Unfortunately, since WWII the official goal of American public policy has been to transform the nation's urban spaces to conform with the modern suburban model, reaching all the way to our city centers. The only deference to being within a formerly traditional urban space is frequently that the modern automotive scaled suburban form has been scrunched more tightly into the former urban grid, but often, as in Pittsburgh, even that is eliminated to substitute serpentine streets in its place along with blocks being combined into large lots where huge automotive scaled buildings overwhelm their location with a detail that can be fully observed at 65 MPH as they replace human scaled architecture whose details intrigued those walking past from varying angles of view. Authentic, quality urban spaces have huge, distinct advantages over the modern suburban form. But, when diluted and increasingly suburbanized, the balance reverses. A city which tries to compete with its suburbs by imitating their form, either in part or in whole, merely succeeds at becoming a third rate suburb at best -- more people and investment will leave, choosing the real thing over the cheap imitation. Real urban space, not the faux urbanism which seems to have become all the rage of architects in the past couple decades, offers both substance and emotional charm, is socially more engaging, and provides for more efficient energy and material usage. As the costs of carbon consumption come home to roost, the population will be clamouring for more opportunities to move into quality urban communities, especially those which have retained their real traditional form and character. Those urban communities which have championed and preserved their architectural heritage will beat the suburbs hands down. They'll also have much more to offer than new Disney-esque imitations which resort to loud speakers piping in the sounds of birds singing in their attempt to seem real.
...but that it was the Petri dish of Progressive policies that ultimately drove business, then the middle class out after the politicians had sucked all the life out of the golden goose. The freeways just made it easier to leave. In the urban area I live in, one can see countless square miles of abandoned commercial & industrial properties sitting idle for no other reason that few businesses wish to operate in the city jurisdiction because of the high taxes, overt corruption and racial politics that subvert nearly everything. Cities are usually considered the center of corporate power. Here, the highest concentration of corporate headquarters in the state is literally just outside the city limits.
30 years ago I was guest lecturing to civil engineering and planning students at several Universities and many city council/planning meetings about this pending disaster. Urban design was doomed to failure as the planners put the industrial areas on one side of the city center and the residential on the other side which created a gridlock traffic problem. This gave those that could to move to the suburbs eliminating the need to cross the city. This the suburb was born and a great migration occurred. This accelerated in the 70s and 80s when the EPA and regulations forced factories to close and move to Asian. So, now we have the middle class gone and the jobs gone only doom is left. One thought back then was to have two sets of cities land sites - when one becomes functionally obsolete you build an new modern functioning city of the other site so infrastructure can be utilized but the city can function as need today. The dual site concept is much less costly than trying to keep older designs in compliance with new codes and needs for power and utilities. Old building are energy wasters and very costly to try and improve them.
You must know my town Macon, GA. The people vote for color rather than skills. Maybe that can change but only if the good people don't leave town.
Getting rid of the corrupt politicians who support the politics of poverty. And to update you on one item. Many poor cites in Massachusetts are getting younger, not older. The problem is the youthful scales are tipped because the policies of poverty include teaching female high school juniors the ins and outs of the welfare system in the classroom. They drop out of school at an alarming rate after their junior year, contributing greatly to the nearly 50 percent dropout rate in most poor Massachusetts cities. During the summer months you end up seeing dozens of 22 year olds walking around with 3 kids in tow and another on the way. Every kid they have allows for an extension of benefits that are supposed to have a time limit. To top it off, government funded programs to provide GEDs to these drop outs employ dozens of well paid union teachers. The 12 months of training to take the GED test allows the system to extend more benefits that would have expired. While on welfare they also get a free government funded cell phone. Gov. Patrick even setup a sweet deal they qualify for a free used car, a donated car with the first year insurance paid for by the state, if they start doing job interviews. Note that they do not have to land a job. The company I work for gets dozens of these people coming in to interview for every posted job. All they want is a signature. Most are bold enough to say ???sign the form and I will leave without wasting your time.-
We're being taken advantage of, but not by government as much as the culture of private capital. You overstate the "culture of dependency", since those who "don't pay any taxes at all" pay sales taxes and indirect fees, and their landlord's taxes, and so on; and their honest work in a factory, or in retail, or in other largely service-based industries accrues great benefit for their employers with little direct benefit for themselves (including and especially health care). The rich get richer, and the middle class blame the poor for their problems. Was ever thus.
I know of entire communities far from urban centers that would not exist as they do today without welfare or other wealth transfer programs. These communities have little business or industry beyond retail; meaning that they produce and export next to nothing; they exist solely by the money brought in via transfer payments. Recipients flock to these communities because the cost of living is a fraction of what it is in the city, and one can live a reasonable middle class existence without working.
a quick search will result in links to sites claiming either Chattanooga or Pittsburgh as the best city in the US. You make the false claim that a statement at a national conference paints all the leadership of Pittsburgh as incompetent. I'm not sure how many cities, and how many leaders, have "guiding questions", but it seems that both Pittsburgh and Chattanooga have recovered sufficiently to beckon others by their vitality.
some people like to share resources, are comfortable (no, happy!) living in compact spaces, and like the density of intellect, commerce, transportation and entertainment that a city offers; and can live free of crime in attractive settings in walking distance of almost everything they need. New York or San Francisco meet the criteria, but even in a place like Minneapolis, you could live in a lovely home in view of a lake or the Mississippi, walk or take affordable transportation to get groceries, go to Target, go to a major league baseball game, basketball game, football or hockey game, see a world-class play, go to a movie, ride your bike to work downtown, or take a train to the airport to get out of town, all with less than a half hour commute. If you decided to drive away somewhere, two major US highways cross the city, as do many state roads.
And that's fine. They are usually younger, more socially adventurous, and less risk adverse. And for people who wish to live in that environment, I say "go for it". My problem is with people who wish to outlaw or restrict my choice to do otherwise.
Maybe specific examples of dying cities where this is happening...? I can point to dozens of cities that have revitalized their core, where people are returning to live, where thoughtful rehabilitation has revived dead industrial spaces and transportation corridors. Even major cities that people love to hate like NYC are recovering their seedy centers, creating commerce, parks, and housing on their waterfronts and in abandoned military lands, while still creating jobs and industry in their heart. Did you take your Prozac today?
I recall reading in an old encyclopedia published in the 1940s about cities in which suburbs had been exploding into existence. Of course, after WW2 they got a huge boost from young adult soldiers returning with significant savings and builders who developed cheapo ticky-tack housing... then again it was hampered by the explosion of zoning, building codes and attendant code-nazis, etc.
In 2008 the redevelopment of old mill space was moving ahead well in spite of the down economy. The developer had solid financing and the presales of both commercial and residential space in the project was ahead of goals. Then the race politics hit. Here was a project bringing jobs and tax paying residents to the city at the start of a global recession and the people who stood to lose funding if people in the city started getting real jobs viciously attacked the developer with outright lies. They sent a letter to his investors informing them of his racial marketing plan to bring only white people into the city to sway future elections and other outlandish accusations. The investors pulled out leaving the project dead. Sadly the investors never looked at the facts in the case before pulling out. Over 75 percent of the committed businesses were minority owned. A majority of them had started in the city and fled in the 1990s because of the high crime rates. With a new police chief in 2001 the crime rate has dropped since and they wanted to come back to the city where it all started for them. They wanted to pay back the city with jobs. Over 90 percent of the residential commitments were the actual minority owners of those companies coming back into the city they had fled. These were honest, hard working people who had their business plans trashed by the politics of poverty. Sweet. Negative votes for calling out the parasites.
Many of the maladies that you are describing are a direct consequence of Big Government. Unfortunately, we are taught at an early age in our public schools that government is always benign and well intentioned. Therefore, if we are not careful, we miss the fact that the type of people who go into politics and who seek government positions are not altruistic individuals who want to serve their fellow citizens, but power-hungry individuals who want to control big bureaucracies with a huge staff and a staggering budget. These become their little empires, and they will want to continue to feed their empires by enacting more regulations and artificially creating more need and more "clients" as a reason for being and for demanding a larger slice of the tax revenues. No one managing these bureaucracies is motivated to cut the size of the empires they control. Instead, they will create rationales as to why the size of their empires should grow. People need to wean themselves from their childish notions that government officials are their allies and are motivated by public service rather than by naked self-interest. Notice that government officials often react to the type of decline described in this article by demanding more money to "develop" areas of urban blight. This is like throwing money down a rat hole, because, by and large, the citizens of the city have already reacted and have "voted with their feet," moving away from the blighted area, never to return. That doesn't stop politicians and bureaucrats from demanding higher taxes from those who remain, thus ensuring that more people will move away to areas having a lower tax burden. Politicians and bureaucrats are inherently dishonest, because if they really looked these problems in the face, they would see that their own policies are responsible for making things worse, not better. My home city has had budget problems for years. When I was young, I lived there and paid their stupid and ill-advised income tax for little or no services. Then I moved across the country. When I had a chance to return to my city a decade later, I made the wise decision to stay out of it, thus saving myself thousands of dollars. Politicians might think that the taxpayer is nothing more than a money tree, from which they can extract funds at will. But the result is that those who can afford to escape leave, and only those who do not have the means to do so (the poor and the elderly) are left behind.
...we're "being taken advantage of" by the culture of dependency of those who are the net consumers of society. The real "divide" in America isn't the "rich" versus "poor"; it's those who rely upon the government for the bulk of their existence versus those who finance it.
...when Progressives vote "negative" on comments like the one above, with no explanation as to why. It's not like the facts are in dispute. I suppose it's just that they really don't enjoy having their sensibilities tried and are frustrated.
...that someone would vote "negative" on the above. Is it because I'm wrong that hip urbanism is most appealing to the young? Or is it politically incorrect to castigate those who see themselves as the arbiters of what should be the correct lifestyle for other people?
Look around - the cities that are "dying" are those where industry has abandoned people, instead choosing to automate, or to ship jobs past our national borders. It's not the EPA or bad government policies, but simply the lack of well paid work. But the author doesn't cite one "dead" city, and doesn't talk about how the dying cities of the East recovered (or did not recover) after the textile, shoe, steel, light manufacturing, etc. left the country more than 50 years ago. It seems like a knee-jerk response: blame government. But government's job isn't to buy their way out of blight and decline and give us a nice city. It seems to me that when industry abandons a city because they can't maximize their bottom line, there's not much anyone can do, government or individuals, until we replace the engine of our economies. Move somewhere else, and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy; and just hope that the new place can sustain your wants, rather than rely on your participation.
Right, so the solutions are: 1. effective and swift recall 2. initiatives to repeal and reduce taxes and fees 3. initiatives to restrict local, county/parish, state and federal spending
Social Security is a classic Ponzi scheme. Payouts made today are financed entirely by money taken by other workers today. The scheme is only viable as long as there are enough current workers to pay out to former workers. For those who are under 50, it does have a negative rate of return. By the time I reach retirement age, I fully expect Social Security to be transformed into just another means-tested welfare program. (They are already talking about this today) From the moment I figured this out (as a teenager) I fully expected to never be able to collect a dime from it. As far as I am concerned, it's just another 15% "poor tax" taken from my income that I'll never see again. Yes, it's true; I too lost money on my retirement investments. (Only for a short while; I made it all back too) But guess what? Even at the bottom, there was still money in those accounts, and it's mine. [b]Exactly how much money is there in your Social Security "lock box"? [i]Zero![/i][/b] It's entirely dependent upon money taken from someone who is working today. And as the ratio of people working versus those collecting continues to diminish, either the benefits will have to decline, or the taxes rise. As the taxes rise, they will begin to diminish as well as more and more jobs disappear from the economy. [b]I'll take 50% of something over 100% of nothing any day.[/b] And unlike with my investment accounts, Congress cannot simply decide one day to change the rules and take that money away like they can (and will) with Social Security. There is no legal promise behind Social Security. Congress can change it at will. And then we have the fraud perpetrated by Congress and the President known as the "payroll tax cut", which really isn't a tax cut at all, but is actually stealing from Social Security. It's a "payday loan" that I didn't even ask for, and will have to pay back later with interest. Anyone who supports that insanity cannot be taken seriously in regards to "protecting" or "saving" social security. My biggest fear is the "redistribution" you're a fan off. So when Social Security goes bust, which it will, I fully expect the politicians to come after my private savings. (They've been scheming to do that for over 20 years now) That will be an ugly day. As for my neighborhood, I am very active in it, thank you. I put a lot of money and effort into my community.
again, false assertions: Social Security is already funded through 2025; only in a looking-glass world can one assert that it also has a negative rate of return. Small increases in payroll tax and/or small changes in retirement age would fully fund SS. Deducting a fair share from those with large incomes would further support the fund. If you preferred to rely on you 401K, or, instead, speculate in the stock market you would have lost fully half of your investment in the 2008 crash (or any one of the almost regular "bust" cycles that happen about once a decade). You wouldn't even recover your "nut" (I think we call that a "negative rate of return") for several years and, if you were so unfortunate to retire in 2009, or even this year, you'd be surviving on half your expected retirement. I guess "redistribution" doesn't sound so bad in that case. But you still have roads, maybe a few more potholes; but you're unwilling to take the personal effort, I suspect, in planning with your neighbors, nor let go of even a few more shekels, even if it benefitted you, to make things better. What, or who are you afraid of? There's a contemporary story of Colorado Springs. Folks there voted down a tax increase, and the city couldn't afford keeping all the streetlights on, so they turned them off. Folks complained, but, without the $, the lights couldn't return. So quite a number convinced the city that they could pay to have their lights on their specific street turned on. Seems the actual cost was about twice what the tax increase would have been. But folks were glad to have government off their back. To me, it sounds more than a little foolhardy, and more than a little antisocial. Democracy doesn't work with people pitching in.
Really? My property taxes keep going up, and yet the condition of the roads that those taxes are supposed to pay for keep deteriorating. But at least my county CEO is building a new soapbox derby track. Maybe I can drive on that. [i]my government takes care of me in my old age[/i] How is that? "Social Security", which has a negative rate of return? Or are you speaking of Medicare, which is being shaved by the mis-named "Affordable Care Act"? You may think I'm a "sour old man", but at least I'm not a slave, yet. If you are relying upon the government to take care of you, you are going to be sorely disappointed. (And in fact, I'm not an "old man". Social Security will be bankrupt long before I'm old enough to collect from it)
perhaps these are "cue" words for you, but you don't really explain yourself or give examples. We all rely on someone for our livelihood, but you way overstate it by saying "bulk of their existence", and don't really account for those millions of people who work decent middle class jobs and are supported by a largely positive cooperation between government and industry. If I work as an engineer, or an administrator, or a janitor, or a truck driver, I wouldn't be rich, but my company gives me decent salary and benefits, my government takes care of me in my old age, and my government provides the roads and water, police and fire protection, and defends me from my enemies. You sound like a sour old man.
I'd reduce the interference of the government in the marketplace and decentralize public education and eliminate government monopolies. Personally, I'd probably be doing what I am doing right now. As for conflict, I'm not sure what you mean. We already have "conflict", so I suppose nothing different in that case. The alternative will be similar to what we see going on in Europe today. Not pretty. That's where we are headed.
Defining the costs of supporting a population as "redistribution" already sets up a false outcome. Please tell me what your plan would be to create a sufficiently educated work force and industry that would allow full employment in this country. Please tell me how you, personally, would participate in the public effort to make that happen. Please tell me how you would deal with the inevitable conflict of those who disagreed with you.
...that aggregate government redistribution of over 1/4th of our nation's income causes distortion? That's why it's impossible to have intelligent discussions on such matters.
No, you actually made an assertion without even bothering to back it up with a specific example. And the format in this discussion allows voting without comment, as well as voting and comment. I could see where YOU might believe that wealth transfer or welfare is a problem, and you might actually have at least one good example of that. But just blubbering on about welfare and expecting everyone to agree with you because you're "right" (pun intended) leaves you open to negative votes, as well as comments that suggest you're just plain superficial. And you may have had 5 positive votes and six negatives - you don't know who voted and didn't comment, whichever way.
Trillions wasted and nothing to show for it except more poor people and destroyed communities. The only people who still support it are those who are entrenched in it and rely upon it for their enrichment or livelihood. I believe that supporting the status quo is evil.
"old" saying: if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Getting rid of government, taxes; recalling someone you didn't vote for in the first place: those aren't solutions, they're negations. You don't propose a real way for cities to thrive.
People who get upset by public recognition of the politics of poverty are usually the people making a profit from it. I expect such responses from time to time. Self preservation is strong among parasites.
didn't realize that this is where the trolls lived on smartplanet. I'll try to stay in line and blame government for the problem. Would you please detail your argument about "the heart of the politics of poverty"? I'm afraid I don't understand.
...but only in the sense that it made it possible for people to flee living in poorly managed cities. The Progressive solution seems to be to eliminate competition so that people are forced to live in cities that are unresponsive to their needs.
- But government's job isn't to buy their way out of blight and decline and give us a nice city.- BUT, that is exactly what they promise the poor with every government welfare type program. That is how they buy votes and stay in power. You nailed the heart of the politics of poverty without even trying. Look into the fall of Detroit and learn.