Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bulldozing Cities

Forty percent of the houses in Flint, Michigan, are vacant. It's become such a problem that the city government is talking about razing whole neighborhoods.

This must be an idea whose time has come, for the Obama administration is proposing to help with a federal program to shrink cities with large vacancy rates.

Cities grow, and cities shrink, but it is telling that the shrinking cities today are all in the industrial northeast, home of the unionized manufacturer.

Of course Big Steel collapsed long ago, and Big Textile has been in decline for decades. But it's the decline of the auto industry that has Flint, Michigan, shrinking.

Flint is the home of General Motors and of General Motors' gadfly Michael Moore, son of a unionized GM worker.

It's worth reading some of Michael Moore's stuff, like his screed on the bankruptcy of General Motors. Says Moore:

It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive... And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation.

Actually, of course, General Motors does make cars that people want to buy. People want great big comfortable cars with lots of cupholders. They don't care too much about gas mileage, except when gas prices shoot up as a result of some government program.

GM's problem is that it just can't sell its cars profitably and also pay for all the retirement benefits and health benefits of its unionized retirees.

General Motors' problem for decades has been politics. Every activist with half a brain has nothing better to do with their time than tell General Motors how to build cars and how to treat its workforce.

Well, now it's all over, and General Motors will slowly strangle to death under the gentle ministration of the Obama administration.

And while GM strangles to death the Feds will thoughtfully help bulldoze Flint, Michigan, home of Michael Moore, back into the Canadian Shield.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore writes, GM's factories should be set to building mass transit!

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