Robert Bennett: Democracy fell along with Detroit

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  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 6, 2013 4:59 p.m.


    Texas, Utah and other GOP run states are doing pretty well right now...economically speaking. The states that actually practiced socialism for years ... being run by far left Democrats including Michigan and California are bankrupt with GIGANTIC un-payable debt and are drying up and dying. I would certainly listen to your argument regarding socialism if you could produce a single success story but everything socialism touches here in the US or in Europe (Greece) dies eventually. Socialistic governments and societies are a train wreck for large nations like Russia and always have been. The US became an economic super power by following CAPITALISM - the opposite of socialism. The proof is in the pudding.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    Aug. 6, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    How about your pensions and perks? Did you ever have to put your life on the line? Do you want to be our first king now that democracy cannot work?

  • Downtime Saint George, UT
    Aug. 6, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    @ultrabob, uncontrolled business is the plague of Utah??? Utah is one of the better economically managed states, because of business. And business is flocking to Utah, creating an even more stable state economy. What in the world are you talking (typing) about??? You can't have it both ways.

    Aug. 6, 2013 9:57 a.m.

    I find it amusing that this "career politician" who voted himself and congress generous benefits in health, retirement, travel, and vacation time can even write this article with a straight face. It seems a bit hypocritical at best.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Aug. 6, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    The numb running the numb!

  • JMT Springville, UT
    Aug. 6, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Nate, correct. By bailing anyone out you remove moral hazard. Basically, don't worry about making good or tough decisions, if you blow it someone will let you off the hook. With banks the derivatives market is now closing in on four quadrillion dollars, that is almost four thousand trillion dollars. Moral hazard at work.

    The editor did a massive injustice to Bob Bennett. At the top of this article they post a picture with a quote from an AP source that says Detroit was unique. No where in Bob's writing does he state that. You have put words into his mouth. Side note, these contracts and abuses, and limited economic base are found in many, many places across the country. Detroit is just the biggest.

    Finally, Detroit must not be bailed out. As a city it is totally recoverable though it must seek a proper balance, which means hit rock bottom. Bailing out Detroit means the Unions get rewarded. Weak city officials get to avoid making tough decisions. They are bankrupt and yet they want to finish a $400 million hockey stadium. Wrong!!

    Thanks for this editorial. Next editorial address the challenges of 'next steps' in Detroit, and America.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 6, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    One of the best things about the USA is a mobile workforce: the ability to move from one state to another state with relative ease. Detroit, as a major city, failed to compete for businesses with other major cities. Auto businesses relocated and are doing just fine in other cities.

    The heyday of union labor is wrapping up as globalization takes over.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 6, 2013 1:13 a.m.

    That is the big argument. Did liberalism or capitalism fail Detroit. I am going to say it was l lot of both and just plain political corruption and incompetence.

  • Idahoan138 Pocatello, ID
    Aug. 5, 2013 11:20 p.m.

    @ Howard Beal:

    You must have missed the news - this is the 100th anniversary of our Constitutional shift changing us from a Republic to a Democracy, by virtue of the 17th Amendment (ratified April 8, 1913). Yes - we actually amended our own Republic into the trash bin. And as Alexander Tytler and Thomas Jefferson tried to teach us, no Democracy has ever lasted more than 200 years - they all bankrupt themselves and end in Tyranny. The readers can do their own homework to verify this - if they care to.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 10:44 p.m.

    @marxist "Only socialism can save the day."

    Does it ever bother you that socialism never works out in practice? And that it so often leads to totalitarianism?

    It sure does bother me.

    "But we will do what is necessary."

    So will we, my friend. I hope this doesn't mean we're going to have trouble.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 6:01 p.m.

    re: patriot "Liberalism is finally being seen for the heart attack that it really is." To a point I agree. Liberalism is seen as an inadequate measure. Capitalism is failing. Liberalism doesn't have the theoretical base to deal with it. Only socialism can save the day. I do not doubt that we are in for a lot of conflict in the days and years ahead. I hope we can stay reasonably civil in the conflict. But we will do what is necessary.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 4:54 p.m.

    like domino's...Detroit is only the FIRST of the BIG LIBERAL run cities to implode. Liberalism is finally being seen for the heart attack that it really is..

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 3:00 p.m.

    A living wage with a retirement package is clearly outrageous.

    Capitalistic Banksters trashing the US economy...

    No problem.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 5, 2013 2:44 p.m.

    The unions and the government colluded to "guarantee" profits to the workers living in Detroit. Neither unions nor government had the authority to "guarantee" anything. The people of America have the right to buy whichever they think best meets their needs. Only a dictator could tell Americans that they had to buy an American made automobile or that they had to by a GM or Chrysler car. Obama set those things in progress, but the value of the stock shows that, even with two sets of books, that his scheme is failing. Americans do not want to buy GM or Chrysler, when given a choice.

    Companies also have the choice of where to do business. The taxes and business climate of Detroit made it impossible to make a proper profit when the business was headquartered in Detroit. No amount of "government edicts" can change the fact that business will go wherever necessary to make a reasonable profit.

    Dictators have tried - and failed - to change that "rule". Detroit is bankrupt because it believed that it was "above the rules".

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    @Ultra Bob - virtue of the fact that they are voters, they do have a say in how their taxpayer dollars are spent. They elected the officials who've helped the the city into this mess, and they didn't bother to vote them out. The public has far more control over the government they've been lead to believe.

    @Iron Guy - You can't blame the Big 3 for Detroit's downfall. Last time I checked, elected officials were in charge of the government, not the local businesses. Detroit failed to react to its changing circumstances. Once a city that was home to nearly 2 million residents, its population now resides somewhere around 700K. Yet, amidst all that shrinkage, the city's number of employees remained the same. Granted, a municipality exists to serve the local businesses as well as its residents, but as both the population and the number businesses begin to shrink, so should the government. Governments need to operate within their means, just like the rest of us.

    Detroit's government is as much to blame as are the people who put (and kept them in office.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 5, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    Oh please. The emptying of Detroit was due to a structural shift in the auto business, not due to the desperate measures of the people who still try to live there. The blame lies with the BIg 3 automakers, who had no foresight and let their market move away from them. Bob's arguing with the desperate people left behind, not with the people responsible for the Detroit disaster.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    Wow, 47 unions! Sounds tough. Actually this fragmentation of labor makes it easy on the city. The pensions being threatened are quite modest, averaging about $18,000 per year. Who holds Detroit's debt? The same banks who created the 2008 collapse through sales of their bogus securities (few or none of these guys have been prosecuted). Look at the big picture.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    "A democracy will fall once people discover that they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury," has proven itself true in Detroit”. Bob Bennett.
    Republicans and their ilk will usually blame the victims for their disaster.

    As if the voters actually had any say in the spending of taxpayer money on non-government scams created by businessmen and other parasitic groups like the Arts, entertainment, tourist industry, and many others unwilling to do their own work to earn money.

    Uncontrolled business is a plague that affects All Americans in every town, city, county and state, and especially Utah.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    We are a REPUBLIC, not a democracy and as soon as we all learn it and truly live it, the better off we will all be.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    From the pen of Robert Bennett:

    "Governmental employee unions are not automatically detrimental to good government"

    Not automatically detrimental to good government. I wonder how difficult it was for Mr. Bennett to pen the above words?

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    Bennett is careful to distance himself from the auto bailouts, ignoring the fact that his bank bailouts were equally devoid of principle. He helped to put the U.S. on the same path as Detroit.

    @UtahBlueDevil "It's about jobs."

    What you say is true: it is primarily about jobs. But in Detroit -- as in other places that embrace socialism -- corruption and squalor and unemployment go hand in hand.

  • jzer Haworth, OK
    Aug. 5, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    From the sounds of things, the city of Detroit went exactly where the U.S. as a whole is headed. We are bankrupting ourselves through irresponsible decision making and entitlement programs. Just like the city of Detroit, what is our answer? Borrow more in order to continue to pacify the pathetic, gluttonous citizenry who continue to demand those entitlements even though we cannot afford them. Don't worry folks, the day of reckoning for our foolishness will come, and like with Detroit it will be uuuuuggggllllly when it does.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 5, 2013 7:36 a.m.

    Detroit is the museum of the fruits of socialism. We have all watched the growth of socialism in our own country, championed by Democrats. We have all observed it in operation in other lands. What none of us have ever seen or will ever see is how socialism has freed the hearts of men of selfishness and greed or of it bringing peace, prosperity, industry, thrift or self-respect. These things it will never bring nor will it do away with idleness, dependence and poverty for it is founded in theory and practice on force, an evil principle.

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 5, 2013 7:00 a.m.

    Is it just me...

    Or does Bob Bennett lecturing about the blame voters have in the fall of Detroit... instead of the corrupt politicians who bought votes with union goodies... ring a little hollow?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 5, 2013 5:47 a.m.

    "When essential services began to decay, people left, taking their tax payments with them. (Who wants to live in a city that can't collect its garbage?)"

    Really.... people moved away because of city services?

    Take San Francisco for example, one the most anti-conservative city known, and a city not unfamiliar with public workers strikes. There is no exodus from the city by the bay.. and it has many or all of the same "problems" Bennett claims.

    Its about jobs. People move to, or move away because of jobs. These is no rush to the Dakotas because talk of the wonderful city services in these cities. Are people really flooding to Texas because of the talk of how wonderful city services are in Houston? Its jobs. Trying to make the flight of people about services is absurd.

    But on the other hand, Detroit does have out of control property and yes, income taxes. And people and business will relocate when options are available. But still isn't enough to make people leave. San Francisco and New York both have extremely high taxes - and yet retain people because of - Jobs. Not city series, not taxes. Jobs.