Republicans are thrilled that Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. Because - for the GOP - the fall of Detroit is a talking point goldmine. Over the past year , the American public has started to wake-up about the total failure of austerity both here in the United States, and across the Atlantic in Europe. So the chance to blame the decline of a great American city on Democrats, workers , African-Americans and big-government is an opportunity the Right doesn’t want to miss.
Conservatives like Neil Munro and Sean Higgins hope that maybe - just maybe - if they can convince the American people that big bad unions and Democrats are to blame for the death of Detroit, then they can get them to forget that conservatives have destroyed this country with 30-plus years of Reaganomics and voodoo economics. Union-bashing is bad enough - but there’s another, even uglier dimension to the GOP’s Detroit meme. The Motor City is eighty-five percent African-American. In fact, it has the highest black population - percentage wise - of any major city in the United States. So when Republican pundits and politicians talk about “mismanagement” and “bad governance”, what they are actually saying is that black-people aren’t capable of running a city.
Blaming minorities for social problems is a tried and true Republican tactic. Reagan had “welfare queens” and the air-traffic controllers. The modern GOP has Detroit. However, it wasn’t unions or black people that bankrupted Detroit - it was decades of pro-corporate and anti-middle class free-trade policies that gutted the city of its industrial core. Over the next few weeks, you’ll hear a lot of hand-wringing from conservatives in the media about how Detroit is a sign of things to come and how this is what happens when you give Democrats, workers and “disorganized people” (that’s right-wing doublespeak for African-Americans ) control of a big city. But remember, the Republican solution for Detroit is just more of the same: gutting social services.
This is disaster capitalism. It's an opportunity for wealthy white speculators to experiment with all of their austerity dreams. And if that comes with a chance to demonize poor people, black people, and unionized workers - well - that’s just the icing on the cake.
Listen to The Thom Hartmann weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.