By Paul Kersey, Mackinac Center For Public Policy

Occupy Detroit? How About Accepting Responsibility for Detroit?

 Inspired by protests that started in New York and proliferated around the country, activists are preparing to “occupy Detroit,” with a downtown rally set for this afternoon.

 Aside from the tragicomic imagery of activists occupying an increasingly unoccupied city, there’s the question of just what the “Occupation” movement, a vague grouping to begin with, would want to change about governance in the city. Over the last 40 years, the city has been governed by a political machine that is Democratic in all but name.

Union membership is well above average and organized labor is overwhelmingly powerful in city politics. If corporations are the occupiers’ main adversary, then Detroit is admirably free of corporate influence: According to Crain’s Detroit Business, the city’s seven largest employers are government agencies or nonprofits, rather than profit-making corporations.

Even Dave Bing, for all his business experience, is inclined to dabble in the sort of governmental planning — witness his ideas for consolidating neighborhoods — that progressives are fond of.

 And somehow, in spite of all that, the city’s population has plummeted to less than half it was during its heyday.

And now left-of-center groups plan on “occupying” Detroit.  Is it possible they’ll start accepting some of the responsibility for it?

Paul Kersey is the director of Labor Policy for The Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He blogs from a conservative perspective for CBS Detroit.

Comments (46)
  1. Gunny G says:

    Liberals have the REVERSE Midas touch. Everything they put their filthy paws on turns to feces.

  2. Brent says:

    “What about Detroit?” should be a question asked of every liberal running for re-election next year. Even if they have nothing to do with Detroit, I would want to hear them justify how Democrat policies they support worked in this instance.

    1. AtlasObjectivist says:


  3. DJH says:

    The left doesn’t accept responsibility for anything. They’ve had complete control of Detroit for 40 years and ran it right into the ground, corrupt, crime ridden and plummeting quality of life! The unions and gov’t strangled business (and jobs) right out of the city.
    The occupy twits are just entitlement babies who hate success and want bigger pieces of a pie they had no hand in making. They have a pathological hatred for business and anyone who is successful and expect to be given all they’re ‘entitled’ too – thing is, your only ‘entitled’ to opportunity (at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be) but that isn’t enough. They expect equal outcomes for unequal effort. They want free everything – and they don’t care who has to pay for it as long as it isn’t them.
    Sadly they don’t appear to be intelligent enough to realize that if they got what they wanted there wouldn’t be much left in a few years and everyone would be in poverty.

    1. Fred says:

      Not just Detroit, but Baltimore, Philly, St. Louis, Oakland, New Orleans, DC (City gov), … Dems have run all these cities uncontested for decades and they are cesspools of crime, violence, corruption, & unemployment.


        I just reported you to

        1. T. William Hewitt says:

          Mr. Diversity,
          What do you find objectional in responding to one of the prime causes of urban poverty with some of the history of the policies that institutionalized said poverty?

      2. nowwhat says:

        Hey Diversity – thanks for the laugh! Guess what? I reported you, too. Neat.

      3. Joe says:

        Diversity – too funny. Best comment of the day.

      4. Anji says:

        Please don’t leave Chicago out of that litany of cesspools…in fact it could almost take the lead.

      5. lee says:

        Cleveland, too.

    2. Duane Lamers says:

      The Left and its primary incarnation in the Democrat Party has never been about anything beyond its uttered good intentions. Heck, Nancy from San Francy just recently spoke to the “good intentions” angle–or was it Bahney Fwank who did so.

    3. David says:

      Perhaps they are confused and meant to say they want to repopulate Detroit.
      this is a perfect place for the so called occupiers. There are plenty of vacant buildings and spaces. Trash is everywhere already and there are plenty of people on the dole doing nothing who will be happy to just hang out and be fed by George Soros.

  4. Detroit needs to be occupied by OCP. That’s what’s in the script, no?

  5. Richard Willaims says:

    “Is it possible they’ll start accepting some of the responsibility for it?”

    No, it is not. These folks aren’t really all that into responsibility, which is why they’re blaming everyone else for their problems. That’s what the left does, create disaster and then assign blame elsewhere.

  6. AtlasObjectivist says:

    Finally! Outstanding commentary by Paul Kersey and the Mackinac Center For Public Policy.

    1. TomD says:

      “Finally”? Kersey and Mackinac do great stuff all the time. What are you talking about?

  7. Jason Budd says:

    “The issues of Detroit are all the fault of Mayor Louis Miriani, the last Republican mayor of Detroit whose last day in office was in 1962.” — Democrat National Committee

    1. HMichaelH says:

      I assume that’s sarcasm! But then, again, it might actually be what the DNC believes.

    2. oldgeez says:

      And, of course, George Bush.

  8. AndAnotherThing says:

    Occupy Detroit? GO RIGHT AHEAD….then BULLDOZE IT!

  9. Layeshia says:

    I remember when my Aunt and her family left Detroit over 30 years ago. She said it was a race plagued sewer that could only get worse. I laughed at her. Today I apologize.

  10. Mike Jefferson says:

    An excellent question, but the obvious reply is no. The left will never fess up or accept any measure of accountability. It undermines their existence.

  11. Peter Dale says:

    White people and corporations started fleeing Detroit and other big cities back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, when state government was largely controlled by Republicans (remember Romney?) and took their money with them. They will NEVER come back because they are racist and scorn the poor. They will hole uip in West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Township and invest their money overseas. Why should they care about Detroit or other big cities? There is nothing for them there. The only people the care are the liberals. Funny how when people rise up the people with power, priveledge, and security get nervous and start berating the protester. Saw and still see it going on in the Middle East, as well.

    1. Mark says:

      Businesses go where there is money to be made. If a business can make money operating in Detroit, they will. The problem is that it is too much trouble to run a business in Detroit. Theft, vandalism, and a lack of qualified employees keep businesses out of Detroit also. My father and his parents moved out of Detroit when their house was broken into 3 times in one year. Everyone else on their street had the same problem. So everyone who could move, did. It was a fear of violence that caused people to move, race was only a side issue.

    2. Jason Budd says:

      Never mind that the city of Detroit instituted a city income tax in 1962. I’m sure that had nothing to do with working people leaving the city. If you penalize something (in this case living in Detroit), you get less of it.

    3. Massimo Deportado says:

      There is not ONE, NOT ONE major grocery store chain operating in Detriot.

      Why is that Peter? HUH?

      Remember, there’s always RIOT in DetRIOT.

    4. Charlie says:

      Actually business people care more about the poor than liberals. We want opportunity. We want our businesses to compete. We want you to have a job and be productive. WE DONT WANT YOU ON OBUMMERS GOVERMENT PROGRAMS or staring at us from across the desk at the post office. We prefer Fed X to the USPS and we don’t want health care to become like that in the UK – bankrupt. We are not just white – we are Black Brown and Asian. You are racist looking for excuses for your poor choices and bad luck in color. Do you really think we can change the fact that unions can’t compete with their high wages and shorter hours. Other regions of the world are now coming up. They want their shot at a good life and you hate the fact they will work longer and for less. Sorry we can’t change the world we can only work with the world the way it is. Beware you can have all the sit ins you want, but bear in mind 1 billion Chinese want your job and consider half of what you make a step above the bowl of rice they get a day. They have kids they want your job and they would say you are racist to deny it to them just because they are from a different country and race – Watch out here they come!

  12. John Doe says:

    The left did not filibuster the bill to end tax breaks for corporate offshoring. Both left and right supported “Free Trade”. Unions were 35 percent of the workforce in 1950. Detroit is the result of a corrupt national political system working for the benefit of large transnational corporations and the international banking and financial cartel. Wake up people.

    1. terry says:


  13. L James says:

    It was Nancy Pelosi herself who moved all those factories to China! Blame the left! Or the right? Which is which? Jobs are gone, the country suffers.

  14. craigster says:

    Let them occupy Detroit. Detroit needs the tax base. Oops one has to pay taxes to contribute to society, the occupiers consume taxes in the form of police overtime pay so I guess that doesn’t work.

  15. true says:

    Detroit just made sure it’s jobs went to convicted felons. On purpose. They would not allow non-convicts to apply. This is not a joke. Liberals think this is a good idea. For real. Honest. They are reporting it as a triumph.

  16. billcrawford says:

    Just put a fence around it and like wise to Gary, Indiana, East St. Louis, South Central LA, and on and on and on, these are all very high crime areas with a population who is greatly under educated and has remained that way for decade aftrer decade, were you thinking something else?

  17. doubleplusungood says:

    LIBERALS: I wouldn’t call attention to Detroit if I were you.

  18. Cruzenbye says:

    To Peter Dale: Money will go where the chance for a fair return has a chance of being realized and then trickles down to benefit all. It knows no color nor cares about color, race or creed. The question then is what happened policy wise to chase it away? Wrong headed policies hurt everyone. I contend to look at the leadership and the policies they enacted, for there is where you’ll find why things are the way they are now.

  19. Larry says:

    So someone is funding a policy center whose experts contribute to the public debate through 210-word articles with no point other than, “I don’t like the left”? Great.

  20. Robin Rhea says:

    I spent 8 days in Detroit, 5 years ago when my son was doing a internship for Pontiac. I was told Detroit’s decline became serious in the early 1970’s when GM was blocked from building a New Factory there. Local politicians and a collection of the usual village idiots (unions, tree huggers, and not in my neighborhood thinkers), rallied together, and sent GM packing. The Auto Industry left Detriot, and a modern day Ghost Town was created.

  21. chester field says:

    Thank you Paul K for some of the truth regarding the demise of Detroit

  22. Matt says:

    Any great military mind will tell you that the best way to win is to occupy ground that nobody wants. You’ll never be defeated.

  23. Carman1111 says:

    Much of the midwest has been economically destroyed by unions, from both the public and private sector, who hold wage and benefit costs above local market rates, and slowly destroy the economic viability of their employers, either the private companies or the governments. Now they are screaming, no screeching, that we need MORE artificial wage and benefit hikes, to make America more “fair”. Their governments and local companies are now bankrupt.

    If the LIBS get their wish to further subsidize these bankrupt entities, their cities, states and this country will go down the toilet even faster. America is about freedom and the opportunity to create as much value as you are able to legally sell to the marketplace. It was never about equal outcomes, though the liberals keep trying to change America into another socialist disaster. For years, they pointed to the European “miracle” as their example. It turns out that Europe was simply a socialist, debt-fueled house of cards.

  24. GJM says:

    40 years of democrat control in Detroit plus 8 years of Jennifer Granholm as governor = a dead city and a State on life support. Granholm’s efforts to match, Statewide, in 8 years what it took Detroit 40 years to achieve made her a highly sought economic advisor to Obama who, by the way, is well on his way to achieving a nationwide Detroit in 4 years.

  25. Nedlip says:

    Occupy Arrest Scam Unmasked
    Kyle Olson

    Leftists love to get arrested at protests. It must make them feel like adults and compensates for their otherwise very childish behavior.
    But new video released exclusively by EAGtv shows the protestors pre-arrange who is to be arrested. That’s right – the arrests are as scripted as a professional wrestling match, at least on the occupiers’ end.
    Cameras were rolling in Chicago recently and captured Chicago Teachers Union organizers finalizing plans for who in the crowd would be arrested. That’s right – it was staged.
    Comparing lists on clipboards, the footage shows two union organizers in CTU shirts questioning whether a man standing with them would be arrested or not.
    Organizer 1: “He said he’s not being arrested. He’s not on the list.”
    The intent is clear: Overwhelm the system. Occupy the police. Provoke confrontation. Produce beautiful footage for naïve local TV rubes reporters. Clog the courts. Gain sympathy from citizens.
    But it’s all just a game. And the media is continuing to fall for the ruse.
    As more fringe elements continue to emerge in the #OccupyWallStreet movement (the Nazis and Communists recently declared their support), these types of staged activities will continue. But as their actions continue and there is inaction on the part of President Obama and the Congress, look for things to take a turn for the worse.
    Sadly, I’m afraid, the teachers unions’ brothers and sisters in law enforcement will be the target.

  26. sarah says:

    You by asking this question are missing the point of “Occupy Detroit” Wall Street, etc..
    Instead of examining the issue which prompted the protest you would rather use the occasion to enflame racial and political divides.

    That tatic is weak, tired.

    However judging by the numerous responses you’ve recieved you have managed to accomplish your goal.

    Too many SE Michigan residents are scared,and unhappy looking for someone to blame.

    It’s not surprising Michigan has lost more residents than any other in the last few years. Sure most have left seeking upward mobility and employment. But relocation also brings freedom from the pervasive anger and depression that has engulfed the state’s residents.

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