If Detroit was in Britain, they’d be blaming Thatcher.
What is happening in Detroit is desperately sad. A city that was once a hub of energy, enterprise and excellence has been brought to ruin and bankruptcy. Crime is rife, poverty is everywhere, and the city has spent so much more than it earned for so long that it has been forced to declare bankruptcy..
The Detroit auto industry should be a cautionary tale. Where once was a world-leader and immense wealth creator, now there are just memories of those glory days. This is what happens to complacent industries that are run by over-powerful militant unions, enabled by tyrannical bleeding heart leftist politicians.
In every instance, those on the left – allied with those of an authoritarian bent – arrogantly presume they “know better” than markets. They believe they have the power and the intelligence and the organisational capacity to force businesses down a route more to their liking. The union bosses and their left-wing political allies know that the best way to get votes is to give away gifts, but they have no money to give away gifts and so they legislate and bully others into doing it for them.
And so, with the very best intentions, they crush the life out of the Golden Goose which is paying for everything they want to do. ”Just one more egg!” they cry, while wringing the poor thing’s neck. But a dead goose cannot lay anything, ever again.
By using force, coercion and legislation they control wages, pensions and employment conditions. They stifle the business with restrictive controls, force it to employ more people than it can afford and then demand that it gives ever more to those people. In their absolute belief that the companies are “greedy” they squeeze them and they squeeze them and they are cheered along by the cynical folk who are benefiting from all this remote largesse. ”Hurrah!” They say. ”Give us more stuff. We deserve it.” And perhaps they do. But somebody also has to pay for it. Always somebody else.
Once the Golden Goose is dead they look around at the ruins they have created and say: “Huh? Where’d everthing go?” They can’t work out why, amidst the unemployment and desperation, crime has risen so suddenly. They don’t know why people are drinking more and taken more horrific drugs. They see that those who can afford to do so are doing the only sensible thing and getting the hell out – just like anybody would if they no longer recognised the place they lived or were afraid to continue living there – and they call them the “bad guys.” ”How dare you abandon this paradise we have created?”
The idea that The State can control trade in this way has been tested, quite literally, to death. It is ruinous and until the Magic Money Tree ™ is a real thing that will always be the case. Even the President of the United States Of America, arguably the most powerful person on the planet, was unable to “save the industry.” Because no matter how big the State is, it will always be dwarfed by Markets – because markets are all of us. Billions of us. The President can take some more of the people’s money, or the people’s future money – by force or coercion – but that does not “fix” anything. It simply delays the problem so that it can grow even larger while it waits to reappear.
What is so sad is that – like virtually every left-wing idea since the year dot – a mountain of good intentions enacted by The State leads to the precise opposite of what they meant to achieve. What is even sadder is that despite this being patently obvious to anybody with eyes and a brain – those same people will not only defend what they have done but will blame other people for the situation. After all, if you’re a left-winger and you’re really, really struggling to justify your actions, you can always blame The Banks. If Detroit was in Britain, they’d be blaming Thatcher.