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The American City Is Dying-And why the country will inevitable follow
FrontPage Magazine ^ | January 30, 2013 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 01/30/2013 4:54:05 AM PST by SJackson

- FrontPage Magazine - -

The American City Is Dying

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On January 30, 2013 @ 12:55 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 5 Comments

In an interview with the New Republic, Obama finally admitted that gun control was an urban problem. “The reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas,” he said. That admission might have been welcome if it had been packaged along with a serious conversation about what is wrong with cities like Chicago. Instead all the big problems are covered over with more claptrap about doing it for the children.

Speaking of the children, Mayor Emanuel and Mayor Bloomberg, Obama’s favorite big city mayors who can be reliably counted on to push his agenda, found themselves kneecapped by education unions who aren’t there for the children, but are there for themselves.

The New York City bus driver strike is underway along with the usual tire slashings and union leaders insisting that they’re only slashing the tires for the children. These tactics usually work, they did in Chicago, as harried parents can be counted on to tell the city to shut up and give the nice teachers what they want so that the behemoth of the educational system can roll on. But what they want is quickly becoming impossible.

Chicago teachers have the highest average salary of any city, $75,000 a year, while administrators make $120,000, even though only 20 percent of their 8th grade students are grade-proficient in math. Chicago schools have an annual budget of $5.11 billion for a student body that is 87% low-income and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

In 1985, the budget for all of Chicago was $2.1 billion or less than half of the current school budget. But that doesn’t work too well now when Chicago teacher pensions alone account for $1 billion a year. Arne Duncan tried and failed to reform the system, and as a reward got kicked upstairs to become Obama’s Secretary of Education. Rahm Emanuel tried to buy off the teachers with a pay hike in exchange for evaluations and had his teeth handed to him.

In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg was too busy pushing big issues like gun control and global warming to be ready to cope with a strike by bus drivers. Transporting students to school now costs over 1 billion dollars a year or $7,000 per student. New York City has 1.1 million students of whom 165,000 are special education students. That percentage is similar to that of Chicago and Los Angeles, which speaks volumes about resident demographics.

Bloomberg came into office as the education mayor and during his time in office the city’s debt doubled to $110 billion. In 1975, New York City almost went bankrupt over $14 billion of debt. The reasons for that crisis were the same bad habits that the city and most cities are still governed by today. Pensions are underfunded, budgets are based on imaginary revenues and accounting tricks are used to hide debt and inflate revenue until the bottom falls out.

In Chicago, in Daley’s last ten years, its debt rose 96.9 percent and almost a quarter of the city budget goes to servicing that debt.  The worst is yet to come with unfunded pensions in Chicago, in New York City and across the country spilling over and eventually consuming as much as 75% of tax revenues. Not that this is likely to happen, because by then most of the tax base will be gone, leaving behind schools full of low-income special education students waiting to be put through a unionized educational bridge to nowhere that no one can afford to pay for anymore.

That’s not some wild post-apocalyptic fantasy; it’s the near future.

The American city is dying. It used to serve as a center of transportation and industry. Today the city holds a few knowledge industries and some secondary industries catering to them, but is mostly full of low-income immigrants whose big dream is to get a government job with good benefits. Until then there are government benefits that don’t require government jobs.

Chicago’s population fell by 150,000 in the last 3 years. New York City lost 200,000 people around the same time. Most American cities have been facing population declines, and while they haven’t entered the population freefall zone of Detroit or New Orleans, which are permanently broken, even those that haven’t gone all the way down the hole have an uncertain future.

The social reformers who used to be the band aids on the city’s growth have become its entire reason for being. Social welfare is the only thing that cities do anymore. Its broken school systems are forever trying to dig their students out of a hole while plunging their economy deeper into it. The alliance between community activists and public sector unions has created a runaway monster that no one from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Rahm Emanuel has been able to stop.

Politicians have usually found it easier to pay off the representatives of human dysfunction and their caretakers than put up a fight. With the coming of the recession even liberal politicians have discovered that they may need to fight, but it’s too late.

It’s easier for cities like New York City and Chicago to shake down their remaining financial industries than to try and win the bloody fight against the unions and their affiliated parasites. Unlike unions, corporations are willing to pay out, but they will also move on. Financial industries are now less tied to cities than ever before. The city is a matter of image and convenience, and a collapsing city is good for neither.

It’s no wonder that the cities voted for Obama and that their vote carried him over the top. Unlike the rest of the country, there is no answer to the problems of the cities except more government money. Their tottering educational systems depend on large infusions of federal cash. So does the rest of it.

When New York City hit the wall in 1975, it needed federal help. But most of the major cities are going to hit the wall sooner or later. Whether or not there will be enough federal money by then to bail them out is an open question, but for the moment federal money can delay the moment of collision. And the worst news is that the federal government is the city on a macroscopic scale run by a representative of the worst in urban politics.

The Obama administration has won a triumphant victory in imposing the irrational social and economic values of the city on the rest of the country. But while the liberal tycoons and college students who made it happen are celebrating, it’s a coup with no future. All that they have done is put the country on the same dead end track as the city.

TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: americandecline; banglist
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To: csmusaret

If you look at the physical design of modern cities, their arrangement and infrastructure are counterintuitive to the developments of modern warfare. Physical concentrations of capital present efficient high yield targets. In any kind of conflict, foreign or domestic, I don’t want to be in one. I better start packing!

21 posted on 01/30/2013 6:17:33 AM PST by Ouchthatonehurt
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To: DJ Taylor
You are correct. Anyone who didn’t see this one comeing just wasn’t looking.

I keep thinking back to 1982 when I was a sophomore in high school where my German teacher said to us, after showing us slides of a 1979 trip to Germany where they took a jaunt into East Germany, where if we were not careful, we will lose our freedoms. Like everyone else, he was optimistic after the fall of Communism in the early 1990's but he passed on in 1993, but I'm sure he'd be angry at what is happening now as well as being proven right. I did ask a year later, "what if we became the USSR and the USSR became the US?"

I was riding high then with Reagan an all, but since my teacher told me this, I've been warning people online since 1986.

22 posted on 01/30/2013 6:20:25 AM PST by Nowhere Man (Whitey, I miss you so much. Take care, pretty girl. (4-15-2001 - 10-12-2012))
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To: SJackson

I live in the suburbs of a medium size city in the Northeast. The new tact in the city to clean the downtown of the city is to park new social service recipients in motels at or near the city line, in effect to spread the problems all around. This puts vagrants, bums, druggies, and aggressive panhandlers in ever closer proximity to what where relatively nice neighborhoods. And now, the city wants to merge with the County, which will allow the City to push an ever increasing number of dirtbags out into motels on the suburbs.

I can’t wait to retire and get out of the Northeast.

23 posted on 01/30/2013 6:23:32 AM PST by Fitzy_888 ("ownership society")
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To: DJ Taylor

>>Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution (often referred to as The Theory of Survival of the Fittest) <<

Yep. I like an irony how commies made Darwinism their top agenda in attacks on religion yet they actively deny Darwinism function within a human society propping unfittest against worthy species.

A kind of cognitive dissonance isn’t it.

If Darwinism is actually a Lord’s way we now see the reason why every socialist paradise failed that miserably. Along with Detroit and now Chicago.

24 posted on 01/30/2013 6:24:01 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: SJackson

There are ways to return cities to vitality and efficiency, but it takes a lot of planning, and it varies somewhat, based on the city. Here are some highlights.

1) Of all places, Detroit had a good idea. A city in an advanced state of decay, with large areas of abandoned buildings, they got the simple notion of bulldozing huge tracts of decay, and planting forest-like parks in their place. Positively brilliant, if not for the best reasons.

Why? To start with, the curve for redevelopment strongly increases with available area. That is, you can only put so much on the lot of a single building, with existing infrastructure. But if you have an entire square block to develop, you can do a lot more, from below the ground up.

And, if you have several square blocks, you can have almost completely new everything. Good water and sewer, good electrical and communications, even better transportation and your own residential neighborhood and retailers. Together it is worth far more than its individual parts.

But while you are waiting, planting a forest there is the fastest and cheapest way to clean the ground of toxins and poisons. Just periodically cut everything down and haul it off for waste disposal, then plant anew.

2) “Rolling gentrification and maintenance”. Subdivide the city into districts, and intensively gentrify and maintain each district in turn. This means doing little work in quality areas, and most work in the areas that need it the most. It creates a cycle that prevents parts of the city from becoming run down and staying that way.

25 posted on 01/30/2013 6:45:23 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at
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To: Venturer
We all know wht is wrong in America’s large cities. We all know who is killing each other robbing, selling and using dope. We just cannot say it. It isn’t politically correct.

I'm not afraid to say it, it's true. And it's black who are doing the vast majority of the killing and ribbing and raping. That's just a plain fact. I wish we could build walls around their ghettoes and not let them out among the rest of us.

26 posted on 01/30/2013 6:51:14 AM PST by pgkdan ( "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Venturer
We all know wht is wrong in America’s large cities. We all know who is killing each other robbing, selling and using dope. We just cannot say it. It isn’t politically correct.

I'm not afraid to say it, it's true. And it's black who are doing the vast majority of the killing and robbing and raping. That's just a plain fact. I wish we could build walls around their ghettoes and not let them out among the rest of us.

27 posted on 01/30/2013 6:51:29 AM PST by pgkdan ( "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson)
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To: SJackson

Two Tales of Two Cities

Remember the old adage,
"As goes Detroit, so goes the nation."

28 posted on 01/30/2013 6:53:37 AM PST by Bon mots (Abu Ghraib: 47 Times on the front page of the NY Times | Benghazi: 2 Times)
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To: SJackson

The social reformers who used to be the band aids on the city’s growth have become its entire reason for being.

For me the money quote and one of the main fallacies of socialism/communism/progressivism call it what you want.

What once “worked” when it was an insignificant fraction of the whole can no longer work when it starts to subsume the whole. In other words extrapolating to infinity is never a good idea in the real world.

29 posted on 01/30/2013 6:54:28 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: Rich21IE
I wonder how many trillions of American wealth was flushed down the crap hole of urban renewal.

And I don't mean just that stolen from taxpayers or borrowed on that backs of our children, but also private money extorted from businesses as "charity" and outreach;" capital that certainly could have been used to actually create more wealth.

Not to mention the destruction of the cities themselves and the loss of irreplaceable cultural memories.

30 posted on 01/30/2013 6:58:48 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass (So?)
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To: SJackson
Question, Why do we need unions organizing against cities, states and the educational system?

Did the taxpayers who are their employers, treat them badly? Did the taxpayers not provide safe work environments, did the taxpayers deny them a good salary and benefits, so that they needed to organize against the taxpayers for equal rights in the workplace?

I am serious, why do the workers of the various government entities need a union for protection against a raging, mean corporation..ah taxpayer?

31 posted on 01/30/2013 7:04:47 AM PST by thirst4truth (
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To: Fitzy_888
That is what Section 8 housing was intended to do.

Previously, housing projects were clearly demarcated and easy for decent people to avoid.

But it's almost like ythey were used as incubators, because then they were ttorn down and the contagion was unleashed and spread out so that it may pop up anywhere.

The apartment my wife and I moved into after the birth of our first child had been, in my youth, one of many in an area that had been filled with young single professionals.

By the mid-90's, Atlanta's infamous housing projects had been razed, and I found myself living among roving bands of demi-feral children, and shirtless, scowling, working-age men of color roaming the parking lots in midday.

32 posted on 01/30/2013 7:09:32 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass (So?)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

They did this in the South Bronx. The Bronx had blocks of burned out and abandoned buildings. Almost all are gone now. Single family homes have replaced most of the old brownstones.

They are starting to clean up Harlem. The problem is what to do with the current residents.

33 posted on 01/30/2013 7:13:45 AM PST by USAF80
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To: SJackson
Cities, at least in the US, were once great feasts. Smorgasbords of financial and cultural wealth, that offered opportunities to a majority, and lifted many of those out of poverty. Over time, cities became corrupt--governments saw that potential for tax revenue, and inserted itself.

It used to be that "getting a job with a large, city-based factory" would set someone up for life. They could raise a family, and enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. If they worked hard, maybe got a little more education than their peers, they could be promoted to manager, or shift foreman. Unions saw the potential to raise money by "protecting the workers," and they inserted themselves into those cities as well.

Soon, the unholy alliance of government AND unions merged, and they've been feeding off this smorgasbord ever since. Cities are now struggling to keep their tax base, because many companies moved outside the city, along with those taxpayers. All that's left in many cities now, is a hollow shell...un-educated, and under-educated people working in minimum wage jobs. The "successful" ones might have government jobs, paying a little more, but bleeding what little tax base that's left. Just parasites, feeding of the remnants of the carcass.

34 posted on 01/30/2013 7:17:21 AM PST by Lou L (Health "insurance" is NOT the same as health "care")
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To: DJ Taylor
When we fight for the survival of our way of life which is threatened by economic and cultural decay it is not racism.
Wake up, true Americans, make some healthy judgments about those who seek to take away your freedom.
35 posted on 01/30/2013 7:34:48 AM PST by Postnbeam (Time is not on our side.)
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To: SampleMan
suspend the civil rights of those "male urban youths" between the ages of 12 and 35

You raise an interesting point. Does a people that can not or will not abide by the social contract even deserve so-called civil rights?

I don't think you even have to go that far, though. Just apply the law as it is already written because as it currently stands the law is not applied, like it is not applied to the tens of millions of illegal aliens that are allowed to roam the country at will. The fact is these male urban youths are coddled and treated with kid gloves.

But, then again, if the law was fairly applied to them our prisons would burst at the seams. Not to mention the apoplectic howls of "RACISM!". I think these cretins who have proven themselves incorrigible should be stripped of their citizenship, deported, and then decent people can wipe their hands clean of the responsibility for them.

36 posted on 01/30/2013 7:35:13 AM PST by Count of Monte Fisto
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To: SJackson
The big city came into being for two reasons: the concentration of low-skilled jobs in one place and the conservation of a common culture. It is long past the time when the former was viable and the latter has been systematically destroyed by the Left. What remains are hollow shells of what was.

As more and more city inmates find they are living in prison, they stop caring about either jobs or preserving a common culture. Obama and his minions are simply accelerating the collapse into an angry mob that wants revenge on those of us outside the limits of their hellholes. Even cities like Boston, which have vibrant high-tech businesses, colleges, and lots of private money, are failing. Scam artists like Menino have been able to hide the collapse with the help of a drooling lap-dog press and lots of money from billionaire Leftists, but the truth is there for any visitor to see.

The culture shift from Boston Leftist to country conservative is like a brick wall just 40 miles outside of Boston.

37 posted on 01/30/2013 7:38:50 AM PST by pabianice (washington, dc ..)
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To: 9YearLurker

Derbyshire was thrown-out of The National Review recently for suggesting that there is a big difference in the innate abilities among the different racial groups in the U.S. Even discussing urban problems results in being punished or branded a racist.

38 posted on 01/30/2013 7:56:36 AM PST by pabianice (washington, dc ..)
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To: awelliott

I was just looking at an old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dec 2011 in which the last article was THE CITY SOLUTION TO EARTH’S PROBLEMS.

It is about how modernized cities are the wave of the future.

No thanks. I’ll keep my hovel and my 15 acres. I like room to move around in.

39 posted on 01/30/2013 8:12:33 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Click my name! See new paintings!)
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To: Venturer; pgkdan
We all know who is [...] using dope.

Past-month illicit drug use: 9.1% of whites, 10.7% of blacks.

40 posted on 01/30/2013 8:15:12 AM PST by JustSayNoToNannies ("The Lord has removed His judgments against you" - Zep. 3:15)
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