Detroit

Why Republicans should follow Rand Paul’s lead

The Republican Party seems poised for a successful mid-term election. There has even been talk of a building “Republican wave,” should voter dissatisfaction intensify and solidify, though its far too early to say for sure what will happen.

But if a “Republican wave” does indeed happen this fall and the party takes control of the Senate, a goal that has proved to be out of reach in the past two cycles, GOP leaders and talking heads should be cautious in overstating what it means.

Yes, President Barack Obama is plagued by low approval ratings and rejection of Obamacare, his signature domestic achievement. Voters aren’t too thrilled about the state of the economy or his handling of foreign policy.

But Republicans must realize that electoral success this doesn’t mean that voters have embraced the party, as polls almost universally show. In a two-party system at a time of malaise, the party not in control is the beneficiary of voter anger. This was true in 2006 when Democrats won control of Congress. It was true in 2010 when Republicans gained 63 seats on their way to winning the House of Representatives.

There is no denying that the Republican Party has a very real messaging problem, and party leaders realize it. That’s why the Republican National Committee released a report, The Growth and Opportunity Project, to try to figure out what went wrong in the 2012 election as well as try to find solutions to expand its reach.

Though that “autopsy,” so to speak, raised some excellent points, it alienated many of the grassroots activists that compromise part of the Republican base.

Obama and Detroit the industry versus Detroit the city

Images_of_Money (CC)

When the news broke that the City of Detroit had declared bankruptcy, there were a fair number of jokes going around on social media, but in general, it wasn’t “news.” Yes, it is the largest city to take that step so far, but it’s Detroit. No one in their right mind could consider it surprising. What was remotely interesting in the case was what happened afterwards.

One judge - Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina - put a new twist to the story by declaring that it was unconstitutional for the City of Detroit to declare bankruptcy in the first place. And so the political circus begins. Of course, Allahpundit at Hot Air dissected the situation, and came to the conclusion that this was little more than political pandering by yet another leftist judge.

Bailing Out the Auto Industry: A Perspective

Thursday evening I posted on my Facebook profile the speech that Congressman Ron Paul gave on the House floor, opposing the auto industry bailout (the so-called “bridge loan”), along with the following comment:

“This speech on the auto bailout speaks for itself. Congressman Paul really puts it all into perspective. Were that there were more in Congress like him.”

Shattering conventional wisdom: Venture capitalists are teaching Detroit not to rely on a corrupt, crony local government

A business cars from Detroit Venture Partners

The aging, inactive population of Detroit couldn’t have guessed what would happen once the city’s government announced its insolvency. By 2011, the city’s retirement system had been overwhelmed with the pensions of a crushing majority of workers who were, by then, retired, leaving only 39 percent of its working age population left to foot for the city’s ever-increasing bills.

By then, the city’s $3.5 billion in unfunded pension liability and its nearly $3 billion in government debt had put a strain on the city’s relationship with its residents, a relationship that has never been anything close to candid.

The habit of crony deal-making and the city’s never-ending list of stifling regulations, have slowed down its habitants and kept them from creating opportunities for others by making it hard for entrepreneurs to pursue their own interests. City residents who were often under-skilled – a result of the government’s botched educational system – were left with fewer options as many fled town in fear that their livelihood, businesses and savings would soon be eaten up by the toxic environment Detroit’s disregard for freedom had fostered.

Some of the few companies that stayed, such as Quicken Loans, have been able to bring about a different color to central Detroit. Its CEO, Dan Gilbert, along with other visionary individuals, have launched Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm in the heart of Detroit’s downtown that is currently responsible for helping to kick start about 20 local businesses. All of these firms are start-ups that found fertile grounds amidst Detroit’s rubble.

Detroit police chief credits armed citizens — the first line of defense — for falling crime in the Motor City

Detroit Police Chief James Craig

As noted earlier this week, armed, law-abiding citizens are the first line of defense against criminals. Though police serve an incredibly important role in public safety, they simply can’t be everywhere at once, which why it’s so important that people take steps to protect themselves, especially in cities that are notorious for crime.

There’s no better example of that than Detroit, a city whose economic problems are well-known. Motor City police chief James Craig says crime is falling, as the city tries to get out end its woes, which includes a crime epidemic, and he gives partial credit to armed citizens who have sent a clear message to those who would do them harm:

Fed up with crime, some armed Detroiters have developed itchy trigger-fingers — and Police Chief James Craig said lawbreakers are getting the message.
[…]
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.

Tennessee Volkswagen employees reject United Auto Workers

Volkswagen Chattanooga plant

United Auto Workers attempt to unionize workers at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant was defeated in a close vote on Friday, delivering a blow to the union’s attempt to organize in a right-to-work state, despite the endorsement of auto maker:

Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation in a devastating defeat for the United Auto Workers union’s effort to make inroads in the South.

The 712-626 vote released late Friday was surprising for many labor experts and union supporters who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.

“This is like an alternate universe where everything is turned upside down,” Cliff Hammond, a labor lawyer at in Detroit, told The Wall Street Journal, noting that companies usually fight union drives.

“This vote was essentially gift-wrapped for the union by Volkswagen,” said Hammond, who previously worked at the Service Employees International Union.

The setback is a major defeat for the UAW’s effort to expand in the growing South, where foreign automakers have 14 assembly plants, eight built in the past decade, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Michigan.

Documentary Exposes Detroit’s Bankruptcy Story

Bankrupt

We know Detroit is now bankrupt. While news cycles keep spinning the stories concerning the decaying state of the once most prosperous city in America and President Obama’s “Promise Zones” project, which would basically require more federal funding to back state-run projects to aid locals to navigate regulations in order to ‘rebrand’ their communities, little is spoken of the real issues that caused Detroit to fail in the first place.

We see it too often and we experience the consequences of it too often but fail to address the real evil for lack of vision, perhaps. What caused Detroit to decline to its current state was the central planning that was made possible by the marriage between Big Business and Big Government.

The documentary Bankrupt illustrates just how the inevitable decline of Detroit took place and why the city’s potential economical recovery was halted by the government’s decision to hand out billions of dollars to Detroit’s General Motors and Chrysler. Here’s the trailer:

Paul, McConnell introduce Economic Freedom Zones Act in Senate

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) formally introduced a measure on Wednesday to empower impoverished cities by giving them and their residents a break from the onerous federal tax and regulatory burdens which keep them from prosperity in tough economic times.

The Economic Freedom Zones Act of 2013 would lower personal and corporate income tax rates in cities, counties or zip codes that meets certain criteria, such as those that have either filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and an unemployment rate of 1.5 times the national average. The measure would also provide federal regulatory relief, including exemptions from onerous EPA rules that result in the loss of federal highway and transit funds and Davis-Bacon prevailing wage work requirements.

“In order to change our course, we must reverse the trend toward more Big Government by ending the corporate welfare and crony capitalism that limits choice and stifles competition,” said Paul in a statement. “We must encourage policies that will lift up the individual, allow for the creation of new jobs, improve the school system and get these communities back to work.”

“The answer to poverty and unemployment is not another government bailout; it is simply leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it. The Economic Freedom Zones Act of 2013 will do just that,” he added.

Rand Paul proposes “Economic Freedom Zones” for Detroit, other challenged cities

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) plans to introduce legislation that would empower impoverished cities to break the chains of big government tax and regulatory policies that have prevented economic opportunities.

In a speech in the heart of Detroit, arguably the most financially troubled city in the country, Paul detailed the principles behind the legislation — The Economic Freedom Zone Act — and explained that the resilience and optimism of its residents and economic freedom are a way to break the stagnation in which they currently find themselves.

“Detroit’s future…will not come from Washington. The magic of Motown is here in the city,” Paul said on Friday at the Detroit Economic Club. “It’s not in some central planner’s notebook. What Detroit needs to thrive is not Washington’s domineering hand — but freedom from big government’s mastery.”

“To thrive, Detroit needs less government and more freedom — less red-tape, less punitive taxes, more money left in Detroit,” he said. “The answer to poverty and unemployment is not another government stimulus, it’s simply leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it.”

“These ‘freedom zones’ will dramatically reduce taxes and red-tape so that Detroit businesses can grow and thrive,” he explained, noting that the idea is similar to one proposed by the late Rep. Jack Kemp (R-KY). “This bill will lower personal and corporate income taxes in Detroit to 5%. My bill will also lower the payroll tax — 2% for the employees, 2% for the employers.”

Taxpayers lose billions on GM bailout

General Motors

President Barack Obama staked his re-election bid partly on the notion that he rescued struggling automakers through expensive bailouts and, thus, saved Detroit. But what was one of America’s great cities has plunged into bankruptcy and taxpayers have been left on the hook for billions of dollars as the federal government seeks to unload its stake in General Motors (GM).

The Treasury Department has quietly revealed this week that taxpayers lost $9.7 billion in the Obama Administration’s bailout of GM, which was more of a bailout for the auto manufacturer’s labor unions that support President Obama than anything else:


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