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Rock City No More: How Big Government Ruined Detroit

After decades of prosperity in Rock City, big government policies came into Detroit and sent the economy spiraling into recession.

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By Adam Burdzy | United States

Kiss, otherwise known as one of the worst bands of all time, released a semi-mediocre song in 1979 titled “Detroit Rock City”. This song tried to capture the spectacular wonder of the once great city of Detroit. Let’s take a look at life in Detroit before the 60’s. This city was where Henry Ford drove his first prototype car on the street. This event sparked the rich history that Detroit has had in producing automobiles, becoming the car capital of the world. Not only did it employ some 296,000 people in this industry, but it was also the city where Berry Gordy founded Motown Records, which produced some of the most famous artists of the time such as The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and The Jackson 5.

But alas, this wonderful capitalist city began to change for the worse in the 60’s. The 12th Street riots were the first sign of change to come. Rioters attacked the police, who then called the army. All in all, 43 people died and 342 were hurt. The small flame eventually spread into a forest fire, and nobody could stop it. How could this have possibly happened? Let me tell you how: big government policy.

The last Republican Mayor of Detroit served until 1957, and after the Democrats took after, things took a drastic turn down the wrong path. Of course, the city was already in a tumultuous time with the riot. Ultimately, it pinned inner-city blacks against the police, not dissimilarly to how the same thing occurs now.

Along with the riots came the crippling regulations to the economy. Businesses started to move away from the city due to the regulations that the Democratic Party imposed. People lost their jobs, and poverty increased. Detroit’s population used to be close to 1.9 million, but today, only around 672,000 reside in the city. Most people left, but some stayed, and of those people, many are unemployed As of 2017, the official statistic was 8.4%, which is double the national level. And going back just seven more years yields a whopping 27%, higher than the national average during the Great Depression.

The politicians that ran the city into the ground focused greatly on government spending hikes. They continue to spend taxpayer money to support unhealthy, unproductive lifestyles, instead of encouraging them to return to the workforce. By receiving handouts, many don’t learn how to work and make a life for themselves.

Luckily, some of Detroit’s population has realized they don’t need government to help them out. They realized that what the government of Detroit really makes it worse for them because the social programs rarely work. That is why a group of citizens is volunteering to clean up the city by donating their time to perform labor tasks, such as mowing grass and picking up garbage. Basically, they are creating their own Crisis Engagement Taskforce to do some essential community services. When looking at these few individuals, it is clear that government involvement is simply unnecessary. Judging by the economic record of late, it often makes problems a whole lot worse.


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