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No Intellectual Leadership

December 16th, 2008 by Mike N · 8 Comments · Politics

The Sunday 12/14/08 Detroit Free Press editorial section “On Point” gives a good picture of why so many Americans seem to always support statist policies. They never hear of anything else. The theme of this week’s On Point is, the government is going to fix the cities and this is a good thing.

One editorial, “Relief for Detroit as Bush steps up” says in part:

“Another way, though, [to think of this-MN] is to be encouraged that something will yet be done, smaller and more temporary, but better than the alternative, especially for the people and businesses of Michigan.”

In other words, we should be happy the government is going to give us some aspirins to ease the pain so we won’t have to concern ourselves with the pain’s cause.

Still another editorial’s headline says it all:

“Metro Detroit must get its act together or miss out on benefits.
Expected federal programs hold new promise for cities”

Yes, and Detroit doesn’t want to miss out on its share of the loot. This editorial touts the existence of an urban agenda which in turn calls for “regionalism”:

“Without big changes in how southeast Michigan works as a region, history will repeat itself. In the 1970s, the region lost $600 million in federal aid to build a rail system because Detroit and the suburbs couldn’t agree on a plan. Instead of moving forward together, everyone lost.”

Translation: why wait for municipalities to do voluntarily that which a regional dictator could accomplish much faster. Or: city government has failed, State government has failed, so lets try regional government and see how that works! Sheer pragmatism.

The Freep also has the final installment of a year long editorial series on the need for a national agenda for cities. It calls for “Preserve and improve public housing and Section 8 units” and “Raise the Federal minimum wage to a living-wage level” and “Create a public works program to repair and maintain the nation’s infrastructure” just to name three out of 32.

There is still another editorial by Freep writer Jeff Gerritt which extols the benefits of Obama’s promise to fix cities.

But there are no voices telling readers that the size or geographical structure of government is not the solution to our problems, government control over the economy is the problem. “Regionalism” is nothing more than trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We are still sinking in a sea of statism/collectivism/altruism and the only cure is capitalism/individualism/egoism.

8 Comments so far ↓

  • Myrhaf

    Is the Detroit Free Press losing readers like many other famous papers? I read the other day that one could buy the Chicago Sun-Times for the same amount as a three-bedroom condo in Trump Tower. They’re becoming worthless — fish wrap — as their readers die off and are not replaced. Why buy a paper when you can read it online for free?

    It will be interesting to see if the papers appeal to the government for a bailout to keep them alive.

  • Mike N

    Yes. Both Detroit papers are losing readeship bigtime. In fact, they are holding meetings today discussing the prospect of going down to just 3 print editions a week. No more dailies. From what I hear, the new editions will be Friday, Sat. and Sunday, or perhaps Thur. Fri. and Sunday. They will become on line only the rest of the week.

    Like you say, people are reading on line. But also what hurts is advertising is falling off too as more people use ebay and craig’s list.

    The Free Press and the News have a joint operating agreement from some years ago. They share the printing end of it.

    I should know more at the evening news tonight. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some papers make an appeal for bailout money soon, on the grounds that they perform a valuable public service!

  • Myrhaf

    This will be a fascinating topic to watch in the next few years. It was obvious to any objective observor in the last election that the MSM have become effectively the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. Newsweek Evan Thomas said the liberal bias of the press might be worth 15% to John Kerry in the 2004. Will the Democrats let that 15% die in bankruptcy? I doubt it.

    Will the Republicans fight the Democrats on bailing out the media? I would guess they will put up a half-hearted fight, then cut a deal. The deal could be something like, if we don’t bail out the papers, then we will force the Fairness Doctrine on radio and TV. In that case, the Republicans would give the Dems newspapers in order to keep talk radio. This is sheer speculation on my part.

  • Mike N

    Comment update:
    I just heard on the 5 O’clock news that both the Detroit News and the Free Press are going down to 3 days per week in the first quarter of 09. The two papers employ 2000 workers and want to cut payroll by 9%. That would be about 180 jobs.

    Since these papers are the first major papers in the nation to take this step, I’m wondering if there will be a rippling effect. I’m also wondering about something else. The company also has contracts to deliver the daily editions to Detroit subscribers of the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily and a few others. I haven’t heard how they will be affected. I’m sure papers accross the nation will be watching this closely.

  • Mike N

    Another comment update:
    I heard on the 6 O’clock news that the two Detroit papers will still put out a daily print edition but only in the side walk boxes. So they’re cutting out home delivery of the two papers except for Thursday, Friday and Sunday. You should see something on your news stations on this tonight.

  • madmax

    “Will the Democrats let that 15% die in bankruptcy?”

    This is one of the big reasons that Democrats want to bail out the auto manufacturers: because of unions workers who are heavily (if not exclusively) Democrat.

  • Myrhaf

    Here is a piece on the Free Press’s announcement yesterday:

  • Jim May

    Wasn’t a “national agenda for the cities” the reason why American cities ended up looking like the hellholes portrayed on that old TV show “Hill Street Blues”? It has taken them the better part of the last three decades to recover enough so that American tourists no longer wonder why Canadian cities are so clean by comparison.

    More and more it looks like we are going to repeat the 1970’s, but with higher inflation and unemployment numbers.