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Friday, May 06, 2011

Nearly Half Of Detroiters Can't Read

If only the link to this bit of news turned out to be a "Rick-Roll", too. (See prior posting) Sadly, to our, I hope, collective horror, it is not:

Detroit was once the symbol of American wealth and industrial capacity. It is now everybody's emblem of decline. 
The data about Detroit grow more depressing by the month.  This report may be the most depressing thing you'll read all year. 
In a nutshell, it says that roughly half of all the people who live in Detroit are illiterate. They can't read the back of a cereal box.  They can't read a weather report.  They can't read at all. 
As Andrew Coulson notes in his blog at Cato: "Virtually the entire illiterate  population has completed elementary school, the level at which reading is theoretically taught. That’s seven years of schooling (k-6), at a cost of roughly $100,000, for… nothing."
By way of epitaph, last month every teacher in the Detroit public school system was laid off.
This is where California is headed. Don't roll your eyes and think "It can't happen here" it is already happening here. Go have a look-see at the statistics of Los Angeles Unified School District.

It is not about throwing money at the schools, the Germans spend far less per student than Americans and still manage to get 1000% better educated kids out of the deal, which is what is required if you are going to have the high-paying manufacturing jobs building stuff that everybody wants (if they can afford it).

It is not the concept of unions that killed Detroit, German automaker employees are all unionized, too. However, so are the German automakers themselves. For whatever reason, neither side lost their survival instinct and every so often they would hold things they called "Tarifrunde" and then the "Arbeitnehmergewerkschaft" representatives would sit down at the table with the "Arbeitgebergewerkschaft" and there would be lots of drama for awhile, they would come to an agreement, get up from the table and go make more German cars. I think, perhaps, the worker's unions never stopped representing the workers and the management of the car companies didn't take their positions with the intention of milking them for everything they were worth and then jumping out of the crashing plane with a golden parachute.

The American worker has been utterly betrayed by the Democrats. My personal take on it, is that millionaires and billionaires make bad Democratic leaders. For starters, they absolutely detest Joe Six-Pack. Don't worry, they absolutely detest Juan Six-Pack and Jamal Six-Pack just as much. They concern themselves with far loftier ideals - and notions of utopia that are very far removed from the realities of everyday life, which they consider gauchely mundane.

A few weeks back I traveled out to a small town in Boonie-ville California to attend a meeting of the Republic Of The United States. A working class tea-party. Contrary to what the media would have you believe, it was not a bunch of angry white men with guns. No, the people at that meeting were the forgotten Americans from both parties. They were white, black, brown and "yellow". Children rode scooters around the walkways of the modest but well-kept apartment complex. Black children, white children, brown children. Some people were most likely former Republicans, who had this silly idea that America was not just about money, and some were likely former Democrats who weren't all that concerned with whether the California government employees get to keep their health benefits, because they were shut out of that exclusive world.

It was really quite amazing to see. It was much more like the America I grew up with than anything I encounter now on the coast. I don't think anybody there was particularly wealthy, yet nobody was asking for a hand-out, a guarantee or going on about their "rights". All these people wanted was a chance.

In the America I want, those people get one. The people of Detroit sure didn't.

RH



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