Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia on Why Bankruptcy is the Only Way to Overcome Motown's Toxic Racial Politics


The Detroit City Council late last evening approved 5-4 a consent agreement with Governor Snyder to clean up the city's books and rein in the unions whose lavish benefits and pension costs have put the city 45 days from bankruptcy. But Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia writes in her column in The Daily today that the hostility to even a watered-down version of the original agreement—complete with accusations that it was just a ploy by a racist, white establishment to send Detroiters "back to plantation"—shows that nothing short of bankruptcy will restore fiscal sanity in this sad town. She notes:

The government is the biggest employer in Detroit, and the sense of entitlement here reaches heights found only in Greece.

And Greece, which has been rocked by riots as the European Union demands austerity measures in exchange for a bailout, is exactly how things might go down in Motown — especially with national black leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson ever ready to stoke the racial flames.

Jackson over the weekend declared Detroit "ground zero" in the nation's urban crisis, joining a coalition of pastors, civil rights leaders and local officials to condemn the alleged assault on the city's democratic rights. "We are prepared to go from education, mobilization, litigation, legislation, demonstration and civil disobedience," Jackson thundered…

But by Detroit standards, Jackson is a model of restraint. Rep. John Conyers, whose wife is doing time for accepting bribes when she was on the city council, has flat-out declared that there is a "racial component" to how Snyder is exercising his emergency powers. The Rev. Wendell Anthony, another local firebrand, has commented that he won't stand by and let Snyder put Detroiters "back in the plantation." But the prize for incendiary comments goes to Minister Malik Shabazz, who declared: "Before you can take over our city, we will burn it down first."

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. “Before you can take over our city, we will burn it down first.”


    1. I’m glad you are back, but respect you less for abandoning your comrades during the war years.

      1. Naga is dead to me.

      2. Dude. It was a strange game. The only winning move was not to play.

        1. When you have your hands in a pile of goo that used to be your best friend’s face, that game doesn’t matter so much as those that aren’t there to help you play it.

          1. I’m sure it’s coincidence that your analogy sounds rather homoerotic. I missed you guys . . .

            1. brb got something in my eye

              1. I bet you’re the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I’ll be watching you.

        2. Naga’s new name is WOPR.

          “Hello Professor NutraSweet. Would you like to play a game?”

          1. I would prefer Hal 9000 . . . bitch.

            1. Whatever, Joshua.

              1. Noooooo!

        3. In chess, that loses you the game.

          In life, that loses my respect!

    2. Burn what down? Is there anything of value left in that city? Hell, is there anything flammable left in that city?

      Maybe Snyder should call his bluff and save the state some demolition costs…

      1. Abandoned houses are very flammable.

        1. I was assuming they had been looted down to the foundation… Are you saying Detroit is actually better than my impression of it?

          1. Just go on Zillow and look up some properties in Detroit. I don’t know whether that will seem better to you…or worse.

            1. I admit I’ve only ever flown through Detroit. The view from above has always been… discouraging. I’m afraid to take a look from street level.

              1. Wild animals have returned to certain neighborhoods.

                1. So racist.

              2. Seriously, go look on Google Maps or Zillow. You will be…impressed.

                1. I keep toying with the idea of buying up a city block in Detroit. I mean, it’s eminently affordable, and I could be a bonafide slumlord. But then I realize all I’d have would be a block of Detroit.

                  1. Some houses in even the “better” neighborhoods are going for ridiculous prices. Just west of Grosse Point, I saw a house that looked to be in good repair for $4,000

                    1. Yes, I met a woman who had sold her house in Detroit for about $25K – she had paid about five times that much for it.

                      I was a little surprised to hear that someone might consider burning down Detroit, though. I was under the impression that the residents had already burned everything that was flammable.

                  2. Yes, you could certainly buy a block of Detroit for almost nothing, but the taxes would kill you. People are just giving away houses to get out from under the taxes and to get the busybody city government out of their hair.

                2. Future Sound of London called this years ago.

                3. Holy shit. The two hundred year old tobacco building in by back forty is in better shape than what I saw in the first half a dozen listings on Zillow. I’m not exaggerating.

      2. On a side note, anybody else peeved that whenever you log in it takes you to your account information instead of taking you back to the article you were reading?

        Squirrels, make yourselves useful. Fix this!

        1. They are still on a war footing. Social niceties can wait until peace reigns again.

          1. War is peace. Freedom is slavery.

            1. Registration is libertarian?

              1. Deutschland Siegt Auf Allen Fronten

                Does this count as a godwin?

                1. Nein.

          2. Only when we have lord NurtaSweet as our dictatormoderator will we be safe once again.

        2. I havent had to re-log in since the first time.

    3. Yeah, Shabazz is about three decades behind the power curve on that declaration.

  2. Before you can take over our city, we will burn it down first.

    The up side of this is that it will raise property values. Utilitarianism FTW!

    1. Hmmmmmm. I have been looking to buy some property in an urban wasteland. For fallout type rendition of HnR trolls, of course. I wanna keep them in their natural habitat.

      1. “He was a product of the rubble rings that fringe the radioactive core of old Bonn.”

        1. Quoting Neuromancer? How utterly passe.

          1. Whining about my quotes? And using French to do it? What has Seattle done to your brain? Washington state: America’s other Florida.

            1. Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

            2. Don’t be so gauche, NutraSweet.

              1. He’s quite bien pensant

                1. Damn french speaking, latte sipping hippies.

                  1. That’s quite the noblesse oblige for a b?te noire such as yourself… pour encourager les autres

          2. Been rereading The Difference Engine. Better than I remembered. Much better, in fact. How is Gibson’s latest? anyone partook of it, yet?

        2. In this post-apocalyptic landscape, will there be a telepathic dog that scrounges for skanky tail?

          1. Yes, Episiarch will be there.

            1. The name is “Blood”, bitch! Wait, does that make Naga Vic?

              1. Naga is Quilla June.

              2. Well, no. I’m engaged these days. And I’ll moving shortly as well. High into the mountains from which I may never return.

                1. Engaged? Who’s the lucky guy? Is he prettier than Warty?

                  1. Surprisingly, I’m marrying a female. Who’s a doctor.

                    I’m rich bitches!

                    1. I should have married a doctor. Especially given how often I die while on the toilet. It usually takes the crack of my head on the bathtub rim to get my heart started again.

                    2. All the adrenalin shots to the heart you can stand, my friend. Choose wisely next time you reincarnate.

                    3. For now. The economic future of physicians is less than rosy.

                    4. If you say so.

                2. Dammit sugarfree! I’m not vic but I’m sure as fuck not quilla june!

                3. Congratulations, Naga. You’ve found a woman who can stand to be around you without retching. I didn’t think it could be done, but stranger things have happened. It is a woman and not a potbellied pig, right?

                  1. Pretty sure. Will check again later today. If you know what I mean. And I think you do.

  3. This Detroit bankruptcy is going to get dragged out longer than the Greece bankruptcy – which is still being dragged out.

    The crisis will never end until the Detroit Free Press has the headline:


  4. “We are prepared to go from education, mobilization, litigation, legislation, demonstration and civil disobedience,”

    Good luck with that Cowboy. Math is hard and unforgiving – as the final thousand residents of Detriot will find out.

    1. What’s that old saying? “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”

    2. I’m pretty sure none of those trump mathematics.

      Which, as we know, is hard.

      As hard and cold as a libertarian’s heart.


  5. But the prize for incendiary comments goes to Minister Malik Shabazz, who declared: “Before you can take over our city, we will burn it down first.”

    Fine by me. Fire sterilizes.

    1. Better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.

    2. I’d say that Shabazz’s comment reminds me of a certain story involving a briar patch, but I’m afraid that would be racist.

      1. Don’t be silly. Everyone already knows that “racism” is strictly a one-way deal, after all.

        That’s why you won’t be hearing anything in the MSM about this, for instance.

        1. “We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,”

          See, that’s how you encourage economic development in your shitty neighborhood.

        2. Yet, Asians vote Team Red even when this language is common not only amongst the urban dissposessed of all sense, but unionist, as well. Not saying they should vote for Team Blue. No, that is no more ambitious than pulling the lever for the donkey that results in a lighter load in your wallet. They should use their clout to take over Team Blue and make Republican politicians dance like puppets. Of course, there is no real collective interest held by Asians. They are as scatter shot as whites in having little discernible common pattern of interest, but they could at least prevent their own fleecing.

          1. Did you accidentally transpose “Red” and “Blue” in the above, mayhap?

            1. Here is a graph of Asian voting patterns:


              Pretty goddamn depressing as they vote worse than Puerto Ricans (my wife doesn’t even vote, so I can attest that in my household that is indeed the case), but are richer than WASP, to steal a quote from Irving Kristol.

            2. Note, I’m encouraging them not to vote for either team, but at the same time, to gain control over the party that can be most easily bought to at least not go against their economic interest.

            3. Oh, yeah, you are right. Damn, the MSM that intentionally switched colors so Democrats would not be associated with red communist. I thought my argument may have been a little convoluted and needed some clarification. That is how I took your response. Sorry.

              1. No problem. I was feeling slightly croggled by the whole thing, myself. 😉

        3. It’s in The Washington Post, and the commenters are going to town.

        4. Philip Klein wins the Internet:


    3. Betty Shabazz agrees with you.

    4. Amen. Detroit is the “negative work,” Office-Space office of American cities. Cook any books that aren’t already cooked, and burn that bridge to nowhere on leaving for the tropics.

  6. Detroit’s bankruptcy will jeopardize Michigan’s nascent economic recovery, raising statewide borrowing costs and discouraging businesses from locating here.

    As if Shabazz’s threats were not doing that already. Who would want to start a business in a place where a few radical leaders control the local government’s purse just by throwing a few tantrums?

  7. “Before you can take over our city, we will burn it down first.””

    And we’d know the difference how? Honestly, I’ve been to downtown Detroit, I would rue the loss of the Guardian Building’s stunning art deco interior and Mike’s Ham Place, but as a city it’s already virtually destroyed, there’s not much more to lose. Do it and be done.

    1. How does one burn down a vacant lot?

      And wouldn’t burning down the few vacant buildings that remain take away the jobs of union demolitionists?

  8. The radical cuts to union wages and benefits that the manager would have to impose will inspire not just lawsuits but probably riots and strikes.

    Honestly what would a lawsuit accomplish if the same government that pays the judges’ wages says “Ther’ ain’t no mo’ dough, bruthur”?

    1. Surely this will cause some liberals to question their beliefs, when a liberal utopia implodes all by itself. I mean, how many conservatives or libertarians are there in Detroit/Michigan gov’t? They own this one.

      1. I’m sure there’s at least one Republican in the government that is responsible for this failure. If only by the Republican’s amazing power to block all of the good intentions of the Democrats from having the desired effect.

        1. By the liberal narrative, Republicans are super-heroes. The statists have controlled Congress for fifty years and still their attempts at creating heaven on earth are thwarted by The Party Of The Rich.

          1. The statists have controlled Congress for fifty years…

            Actually, it’s more like eighty years.

            1. Thanks for the correction. As long as the left has a dragon to slay, their dreams of equality and bliss will be shattered.

          1. “We are trying to recall Gov. Snyder again because you must chop the head off the beast and slay the dragon before you start rebuilding the village,” Marty Townsend, the group’s public chairwoman, said in a news release.

            Yep. Before he came around, everything was hunky dory. Get rid of him, and it will all go back to normal. Poverty pimps can keep on pimping.

            1. What beast? What dragon? What village?

              WTF is she talking about?

          2. *Sigh* Satire is getting to be too difficult. We may be coming up on peak stupid.

      2. According to Detroiters, the plight of Detroit has all been caused by the meddling of big bad politicians in Lansing. The entire state government is controlled by Republicans, so it is all the Republicans fault. Nevermind that until just recently Democrats controlled Lansing, it is still the fault of the people trying to fix it now.

    2. NO MO DO, BRO.

  9. New on CBS this Fall: Taint on Taint
    Taint on Taint stars Ted Danson as Dr. Aeneus Taint – part-time proctologist and part-time reporter – looking for love in post-apocalyptic Detroit.

  10. The government is the biggest employer in Detroit, and the sense of entitlement here reaches heights found only in Greece.

    If Detroit (and Greece) only had the right to print their own money, then everyone could get paid and this would not have happened. Right?

  11. “Before you can take over our city, we will burn it down first.”

    Well then I suggest you get started on that. I’ll be over here continuing to not give a shit.

  12. Detriot is stupid, its leadership is stupid, everything is bad, and they should feel bad.

    Also, these so called “leaders” continue to be an embarrassment. They sure as hell don’t speak for me.

  13. One of my earliest memories of childhood is that of my parents patiently explaining to me that money doesn’t grow on trees. I guess parents don’t do that anymore.

    These boneheads have the intellectual wattage of a glowworm and don’t even wonder where the money is going to come from. I guess thinking about things like that is “radical” as Dear Leader Obama would have it.

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