During a recent interview on “Fox News’ On The Record with Greta Van Susteren” on Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh offered his take on the variables that have caused financial upheaval in the Motor City.
He boldly argued that Detroit’s first black mayor demonstrated poor spending habits and sparked racial riots that chased white people into the suburbs.
“You’ve had that — that town has been a petri dish of everything the Democrat Party stands for, everything the Democrat Party loves — massive unions, massive pensions, pay people pensions and health care long after they’ve stopped working,” he said
“You have massive welfare states where citizens are given things left and right in order to buy their votes. You have no opposition whatsoever.”
Limbaugh continued, “…You throw race into the mix and you bring on Mayor Coleman Young who causes riots in 1967 in Detroit and Mayor Young caused a white flight to suburbia, and Detroit is left with nothing but liberal Democrats running it. It is what it is. “…Any place in this country that has similar circumstances, the same fate is going to happen to them.
The problem is, as always, Limbaugh is full of it. As Think Progress points out …
Coleman Young, who Limbaugh claims caused the riots, wasn’t elected to the mayor’s office until six years after violence broke out, in 1973. The New York Times noted in his obituary that by that point, “Detroit had already been reeling from high unemployment in the automobile industry, a high crime rate and deteriorating housing.” Young also wasn’t a proponent of the kind of welfare policies and “massive pensions,” that Limbaugh attributes to Democrats. In the 1970s and early 1980s, he was actually credited with keeping Detroit financially afloat “by persuading city workers to accept cuts in salaries and fringe benefits and voters to approve a $96 million increase in income taxes.” In the late 1990s, the city, still under Democratic rule, even experienced a small revitalization. Household incomes rose, child poverty dropped “by a stunning 13 percentage points,” and homeownership grew.
As for the 1967 riots, they occurred in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement, when African Americans across the country were, as a study commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson put it, systematically excluded from the benefits of economic progress and faced “Pervasive discrimination and segregation in employment, education and housing.” The report, which focused on the causes of the violence, found that “white racism,” not Coleman Young, “is essentially responsible for the explosive mixture which has been accumulating in our cities since the end of World War II.”
Read/learn more at Think Progress.