With all the talk about Detroit this week, it brought back some wonderful memories of when I use to live in Michigan. I loved the City of Detroit and the entire state. At that time (about 12 years ago) the city was headed downward and even then it didn’t seem like anyone cared. Sadly, this week the city finally failed, and in many ways just as many other cities across the country are also hitting hard times. The failures can be measured in many ways: financial, educational, safety, jobs losses, welfare and the list goes on.
How can Detroit or any other city remain so dysfunctional for years? One reason is because of American voters lack of participation, but more importantly, there is also very little incentive for American inner-cities youth to become successful.
The question is, who can help America accomplish such a task? Like them or not, the main two voices we continually hear when any crisis arises are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Because of their always-open door to the media, they are able to create public awareness and are willing to speak out on many issues. I’m sure in their own ways they even have success stories. However, the continual problem is there are no long-term plan to save America’s inner-cities youth, despite receiving billions, if not trillions, of dollars for decades to assist with poverty issues. Bottom line, other than the government, America’s inner city youth have no one to rely on.
So what the heck has been going on? Bad math skills and the lack of courage to implement stability leads to the following: “Detroit has a lot …crippling debt, pension and retiree health care costs…”
As of the 2009 Census data:
“…[W]elfare spending at the local level (by counties and municipalities) increased by 9.2 percent between 2006–7 and 2008–9, and public welfare constituted a slightly higher share of municipal budgets (3.16 percent) after the recession had begun than before (when it comprised 3.13 percent of municipal expenditures.”
And of course, many of our state politician’s “behavior problems” don’t help matters. To name a few:
- Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick convicted of corruption
- Three D.C. Council members pleaded guilty to federal corruption
- Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin indicted on 21 corruption charges trail to begin October 2013
- 2012 Chicago named ‘Most Corrupt City in America’
A few cities that consistently fail our American youth:
- Chicago: Children live in poverty in Chicago
- Washington D.C.: Child poverty worse in D.C. than Mexico
- Detroit: 60% of children in Detroit live in poverty
- New Orleans: Children in New Orleans still likely to live in high-poverty
Other cities come to mind but I think you get the picture.
In addition to basic math skills, ethical behavior should to be included in the core principles that qualify the next round of political representatives for our nation. As Americans, we can no longer allow political ‘business as usual’ in running our nation’s cities, causing younger generations to pay the price for their dysfunctional behavior. The very nature of a political career tends to breed corruption and greed, distracting us all from the business of maintaining America.
Schumaker and Kelly noted in their research on determining why cities fail:
“Our reassessment does not claim that mayors and city council members are likely to be at the forefront of providing social justice to the urban poor, but it does enable us to see such officials as occasionally acting as moral agents prompted by justice principles to pursue public assistance policies, even in the face of jurisdictional, economic, and political constraints.”
In other words, if you can’t lead for the good of all American society, get out of the way.
What have the leadership of these cities been doing for the last 50 years?
Why were generations of children NOT educated?
Why were generations of women allowed to stay on welfare instead of becoming better educated?
Why were jobs NOT created for generations of Americans?
I’m beginning to think most elected officials are just plain stupid—and if that’s the case, it’s up to all of us as a Nation to question every single politician in America; because when cities like Detroit fail, who really wins? No one–especially America’s future generations.