What went wrong in Detroit?

Unlike “feel good” PBS programs of California cities with Huell Howser, I have just watched a 13 minute depressing video with comedian and social/political commentator Steven Crowder. Steve leads us on a tour of the truly “blighted” city of Detroit. Link provided below.

Detroit, Michigan. Famous for the “Big Three” auto giants and Berry Gordy, Jr.’s Motown Music where, in 1958, Jackie Wilson created “Lonely Teardrops,” a song I recall from my youth, that describes the motor city today.  What happened?

In 1960 the Big Three were the dominant auto manufacturing giants cornering 93% of the US market. That number has nose-dived to 43% today. During this slide this loss of market share has had a major impact on local businesses.

The city of Detroit which had 1.8 million residents in 1950, has seen their population plummet to 900,000 in 2008 with a city unemployment rate at 28.9% (in July 2009).

One industry segment pointed out by our host is the power wielded by the UAW where auto union employees get seven weeks of paid vacation per year while earning $74 per hour in wages and benefits Vs $26 per hour in the private sector.

In watching the YouTube video you will see evidence of massive blight and listen as Steven points a finger at a failed bureaucracy. Yes, painted on one wall at the end of the video are the words “change is coming” referring to the campaign of Barak Obama.
As we have now passed year one of the Obama administration, I wonder how motor city residents fell about “change” today.

Or perhaps we can motivate MSNBC pundit Keith Olbermann, who takes great pleasure in criticizing Republican relief efforts, to take a trip to Detroit and interview their man on the street about president Obama’s fulfilling his campaign promises as he begins his second year in the White House.


About Larry Gilbert