We waste so much federal taxpayer money already. Can’t we waste just a little more?
The grim joke today on Twitter, per the news about U.S. embassies across the Middle East closing this weekend due to terror threats, is that “Al Qaeda is alive and Detroit is dead.” There’s your Hillary bumper sticker for campaign 2016.
Overall it’s -24, which is why Obama and congressional Democrats (who aren’t from Michigan) are keeping a healthy distance from the idea. There’s an interesting age split in the Quinnipiac data that’s not shown in the graphic above, though. Among voters aged 45 and over, opposition to a bailout is above 60 percent while support lags in the 20th percentile. Among voters under 45, the spread is much narrower albeit still net negative. Voters 18-29 split 42/48 on bailing out Detroit while voters 30-44 split 40/50. Why that is, I don’t know. Presumably older Americans, always keenly aware of the budgetary risk to Medicare and Social Security, are more reluctant to dip into the federal till for something like this than younger voters are. (That’s interesting in itself since a big part of Detroit’s problem is not being able to meet its pension obligations. No sympathy among seniors nationally for the city’s older workers?) Or maybe the age demographic is simply a reflection of the racial split. Per the graph above, blacks and Latinos are the only demographics besides Democrats who support the bailout. Whites heavily oppose it. Younger age demographics have more nonwhite voters than older demographics do. Thus, a white/minority split should show up to a lesser degree as an old/young split — although, as I say, even younger voters oppose the bailout on balance. Ain’t happening.
But maybe … there’s a better way:
A few creative thinkers are proffering an innovative way to save Detroit: Let the city issue visas, on the condition that the immigrants live there, and only there. Imagine: a city filled with people who might have come from the United States’ shady black market or from an impoverished town in Mexico but are now where they are welcome and where they can work legally and apply for citizenship—in America’s No. 1 dying city.
It sounds like a radical social experiment, but it’s not so crazy. An influx of newcomers is precisely what Detroit needs. Meanwhile, 11 million undocumented immigrants are here already, washing dishes or harvesting crops, and a lot more want to come. It’s not hard to imagine that hundreds of thousands would jump at the chance to become legal residents, even if the price would be repopulating a discarded urban shell. Since 1960, the city’s population has fallen 67 percent.
Would they be able to work? The city could decree that employment is a requirement. If the jobs exist in the city, the immigrants will find them; they’ll figure it out. They already do that now, off the books. If the jobs are terrible, that’s OK, too. Remember, immigrants take jobs Americans won’t. Housing, obviously, would be no problem, with almost 100,000 vacant units in Detroit. Safety? In theory, that’s something the city could improve on if its tax base grows, although it’s not a guarantee.
Imagine the excitement of illegals to learn that they can finally escape from a dysfunctional, crime-ridden hellhole like Juarez to … Detroit, where the local pastime is arson. We’d probably save on fencing costs, at least: Instead of fencing people out along the length of the U.S. border, we’d fence ’em in inside the Motor City as they desperately try to escape from the civic Thunderdome within. (Someone on Twitter compared it to “District 9.”) I think I could be talked into considering it, just because it’d be an experiment in the Jeb Bush/Paul Ryan theory that illegals are ultimately a big boon to the welfare state insofar as they instantly broaden the tax base. Detroit can’t pay pensions? Add a million young new residents who aren’t picky about what jobs they take and let’s see if it helps. And what happens in 40 years when illegals reach retirement age and their benefits come due? Hopefully a very elderly Bush and Ryan will be around to help figure it out. (Probable solution: A whole new round of amnesty!) Exit question: How many years realistically would illegals be required to live and work in America’s armpit before being allowed to move away to a more livable city? Good lord, people — I oppose amnesty as much as anyone, but sentencing “the undocumented” to live in Detroit is probably an Eighth Amendment violation. A little humanity, please.