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.