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Are We Ever in Trouble!

Data from the Census of 2010 continues to trickle out, and this column from the WSJ has some figures on cities that have lost population.  New Orleans leads the list, for obvious reasons.  It lost 140,845 people, for a drop of 29.1% since the last Census ten years ago.  Next comes Detroit, which lost a whopping 25% of its population over the same period and without the excuse of a natural disaster.  Almost a quarter of a million people fled the motor city!   Chicago, Pittsburg, St. Louis, Santa Anna, and Baltimore are also on the list of the top ten losers, though with much smaller losses than Detroit.  But the real story is Ohio.  Cleveland is third on the list with a loss of 17.1%, which means that 81,558 people moved out in the last decade.  Then come Cincinnati and Toledo with losses of 10.4% and 8.4% respectively.   Ohio is the only state with more than one city among the top ten losers, and we have three in the top six!  That's a distinction we could do without.

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Discussions - 24 Comments

The link to the story was broken.

But I also wonder: does it say whether the people moved out of the state altogether or just out of those particular cities? In other words, is Ohio *losing* population or only dispersing its population? If the former, that's certainly not good. If the latter, I'm not sure that's a terrible thing.

Maybe with your new governor and GOP-led Assembly, you can market out this way for disaffected Californians?

The Atlantic has this map about what it calls "income inequality" but which also shows all sorts of social strata type issues and in color.

All blues states and blue cities losing population. Hmm... doesn't that send a message loud and clear. Buehler - anyone?

One person interviewed in a McPaper article about this issue made a spot-on and to-the-point observation: "They voted with their feet."

Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, if they are capable of leaving, why should your citizens stay? What's to draw people in to live there? A gleaming and well-regarded hospital system, state-of-the-art stadia, and cultural attractions don't make up for crumbling infrastructure, political corruption, failing schools, and high crime -- despite higher taxes than found in a suburban or rural area.

Kate's map link does address a bit of Julie's question. Where did the Clevelanders go? Those that could went to Lorain, Medina, Lake, and Geauga counties. Columbus and Cincinnati, similarly, are ringed by "monied 'burbs" Unlike, say, New York or Boston, there isn't enough offered by "the city" to encourage the middle and upper class to stay.

Next comes Detroit, which lost a whopping 25% of its population over the same period and without the excuse of a natural disaster.

I think I'd classify Kwame Kilpatrick as a natural disaster.

Look, Detroit has a long history of rank corruption at ever level of its governance. It's worse than Chicago in that at least Chicago is a nice city to visit.

Detroit's problems are like Stage IV cancer ... there comes a point in time when death is the preferable option.

By the way, I'm from Detroit ... born there in 1959. There was a time when it was a viable city albeit with problems all large cities face. Then along came Coleman Young who institutionalized overt racism as the governing rule of the city, and it's gone to hell since then.

Kill the cancer-ridden beast. I'm competely serious. It should be taken under state control, all its politicians fired, all its ranking administrators fired, and every single one of its teachers fired. Every single one.

Things should turn around very quickly. Ohio now has a GOP governor, as well as a GOP-led house (59.6%) and a GOP-led senate (69.7%), plus the US House has a GOP majority.

Here come the jobs!!!

Ohioans are all set. They know that it's the Republicans' top priority!

I think the key explanation to this can be found in the sage words of Joe Biden:

"I teach separation of powers and constitutional law. This is something I know. ...the president has no Constitutional authority to take this nation to war against a country ...unless we’re attacked, or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. If he does, I would move to impeach him. ...I don’t say it lightly."

Regarding Detroit, the gays will save the day! Well educated, dual incomes, no kids (GDINKs), and a seemingly freakish inclination towards gentrification will make Detroit one of the most happenin' places within 10-15 years. At some point, the gays saving Detroit will want to start to settle down and raise families, and they will dream of bucolic countryside inns, and watching their children frolic with sheep...and Ohio will be saved, too. Ah, the circle of life.

§ 1541. Purpose and policy

(a) Congressional declaration. It is the purpose of this joint resolution [50 USCS §§ 1541 et seq.] to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations.

(b) Congressional legislative power under necessary and proper clause. Under article I, section 8, of the Constitution, it is specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution, not only its own powers but also all other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

(c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation. The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

These population losses refer (for the most part) to the redistribution of persons between the administrative units of a given metropolitan settlement. A more valid indicator of the evolution of Detroit would be the sum of the population of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties (which would indicate something of trends in the comparative advantage accruing to various regions of the United States, not just something of the business climate generated by politicians).

Much of the source of the trouble for central cities is the responsibility of municipal administrations, but some of the drivers are factors they do not originate. For example, law enforcement is generally a function of municipal administrations in the Rust Belt. The thing is, there are jagged geographic variations in the utility of police patrols over the tapestry of the metropolitan area and the areas which benefit most from police patrols are those with the weakest tax base to pay for them. The creation of metropolitan police departments under the authority of county governments would be a sensible response, but suburban residents tend (at least in my home town) to refuse to even consider this, as if people living a few miles away in the central city were on the other side of the moon.

You also have the wretched condition of inner city schools. All manner of vested interests resist measures to repair these. Even if the municipal administrations of inner citites were to concede to a system of voucher-funded private schools which would sever the connection between residence and the locus of schooling, you would still be stuck with the teachers' unions, the teachers colleges, and the broad mass of the public who are generally hostile to both private schooling and the breaching of district boundaries.

It ain't just Kwame Kilpatrick who is the problem.

Article II, section 1: "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."

See Hamilton's Pacificus for an explanation.

See any honest American Government textbook for the fact that no President from Reagan on has regarded the War Powers Resolution (or which this is an echo) as truly binding.

But regardless of what any of us think on this issue, we can agree that Joe Biden must either a) admit he was wrong to say that, or b) demand Obama's impeachment.

There is no third possibility.

I love the way everyone is dancing around the elephant in the room. This is about race more than anything else. The schools are bad BECAUSE they are populated by poor minority groups (with corresponding violence/deviance), and so the question is: What relatively-affluent white family would subject their children to this? Even the inner-city liberals flee to charter schools and private schools to escape this.

Indeed, millions of (mostly white) people have voted with their feet lo these last four decades. We are a suburban nation now., and there is nothing new about declining cities. However, for some central cities a critical stage is being reached -- they are about to go belly-up.

Stand by. The next attempt to "save the day" may be court-ordered metropolitan consolidation (which may be attempted, but probably won't succeed). And of course there is always metropolitan-wide income tax, whereby the central city gets suburban money but returns very little in terms of services.

Redwald, read Thomas Sowell. Schools in Harlem and D.C. populated by the children of black laborers produced more than satisfactory results back in the day. You do not now have the intact and patriarchal families which were then the norm, but the frequency of those has dwindled on the other side of the color bar as well. You need to transfer the ownership of the schools to philanthropic corporations, and the mode of finance from public appropriations to vouchers expended by parents. Schools who continue to adhere to the fatuous dictum of 'teach every child' will be ruined by the market. The surviving schools will expel the hoodlums and let the penal system take care of them.

Metropolitan consolidation is sensible policy for a selection of services:

1. Police & courts; 2. Arterial roadways; 3. Mass transit;
4. Sewage treatment, waste dumps, &c.;
5. Foster care, public defender's office &c.; 6. Some portions of land-use planning.

Careful, Redwald: The folks leaving the city are black as well as white, the determining factor being their aspirations or their opportunity. Government support of too many people takes its toll on both incomes and living conditions, regardless of race. Moynihan was right when he wrote that blacks must move into the middle class if they are to take full advantage of their legal rights. But ethnicity triumped over good sense for too many, thanks to the bad teaching and bad example of our "intelligencia.".

Carl Scott sir, there is always a third and fourth and fifth possibility. All of this is quasi bad faith argument anyways, perhaps the only kind.

First of all the clip of Bidden was campaign "puffery", but it was also serious opinion.

The Vice President also has a different set of duties than the House or the Senate. In any case the Constitution is clear: Article 1 Section 8 says "The Congress shall have Power... to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States."

Article 1 Section 8 clearly refers to CONGRESS, and thus the necessary and proper clause, that Hamilton leaned on refers to CONGRESS. "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Article 1 Section 8 also gives congress the power: "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water."

I don't read american government text books, nor would I ever bother buying one. They are all simply scams playing fast and loose with "modicum of creativity" requirements of copyright.

They are about as binding as this blog post.

The fact that it is a U.N. "police action" basically gets you around the War Powers resolution.

In any case if Paul or Dennis want to persue impeachement they probably won't get far, but at least they have a colorable argument and the consitutional authority as members of the house to begin impeachment proceedings. Bidden is not entitled by Article 2 section 4 to bring impeachment proceedings against Obama.

As I find is the case especially in business associations, the various duties of loyalty, candor, obediance and care are in constant tension.

Bidden: Should I impeach myself?(of course not it is a UN police action, not a war, I can't impeach myself that is the job of Congress!)

Bidden: No I think not.

But say what you will about Bidden and his "gaffes" he is among the most Candid of politicians.

For various factors, I salute the wisdom and accumen of Obama in picking Bidden.

I doubt you find much about John Bradford in most american textbooks, but I am more interested in the "constitutional truth" of the sentiment attributed to him: "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

It is rather telling of how much interest I have in Biden, that I can misspell his name with such ease.
I actually agree with some of what Art Deco says, but I would suggest he might be smoking crack if he thinks the penal system can handle any more pressure. I also like some of what Chris says. I hope George is right, I think there is a grain of truth to what Redwald says, I like the map Kate gives us but I think it is flawed and somewhat forced. I certainly don't buy into the idea that Union County where I went to high school is now a "monied burb". I have views on Toledo, and on the actual subject of the post, but at the same time I am pretty sure there is no human being with a good comprehensive theory . Google Analytics maybe... some statisticians maybe, but then again all this is not human analysis. I kind of like Von Thunen and the transporation cost theory of urban economics. I am considerably more theory aware/knowledgable of the original topic.

I have a few points to make on various points and sub-points surrounding this topic:
a) Correct spelling please! It's Pittsburgh, not "Pittsburg" and Santa Ana not "Santa Anna".
b) Santa Ana by the way is not a northern industrial city but an Orange County, California suburb of Los Angeles. So population loss there has causes entirely different from the northern industrial cities.
c) Suburban flight has been going on since 1945 when war-weary soldiers and sailors returned to peacetime life to make babies and live the good life. Did northern cities lose 20% of their populations in the 1960 census? In the 1970 or 1980 censii? I don't think those declines were as drastic as we see in 2010.
d) In many cases the flight from the cities was not an actual "flight" away from city conditions but a migration to something perceived to be better -- a detached brick home on a bigger lot. A good example would be my own parents who were born in Pittsburgh, PA and then built a suburban house an a half-acre lot in 1955. So please temper your racial arguments accordingly.

John Lewis, does your suburb have much real poverty? My county, Geauga, is one of the "wealthy" counties, but while it has some very wealthy households, the main reason is that it has so few really poor ones.

Cleveland is hollow. There are some urban renewal or gentrification projects in it, but they are not very successful. Downtown has new construction, but it is either the two big hospitals doing the building, or the city. The problem is the crime rate. That has killed much of the night life of the city, except for a few well-policed enclaves. The hospitals have their own police forces, because Cleveland's is not effective enough to keep their blocks safe. You cannot really even go shopping downtown; there are a few specialty markets, but nothing simple where you can get a gallon of milk besides a fortified, windowless Aldi's or two.

No one talks about the crime problem, because that is considered racist talk. I don't think anyone really cares if the person mugging them is black or white. But the crime statistics are daunting for anyone who doesn't want to sound like a racist and polticians are unlikely to address the problems directly. It is sad to go downtown.

You mean we can afford the personnel, plant, and equipment to put hoodlums (sorry, persons with 'conduct disorders') in conventional primary and secondary schools (where they cause tremendous productivity losses for all other parties) but we cannot afford to police them and warehouse them.

It's true that even the black middle class is fleeing cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and St. Louis, but the predominate problem has typically been affluent white flight. There are exceptions, of course (e.g., whites seem to be moving back into Washington D.C. and pushing out poorer minority residents due to the higher housing values), but the problem remains the same: Inner cities have become reservations for poor minority groups. Since this is what mainstream America seems to want (given the various alternatives), I'm sure it's what we will be living with for several more decades (assuming the continued reliance on the automobile)

I think Americans have sensibly decided that big city problems aren't really their problems. They are the problems of the people who live there, and it is for those people to solve them. We have always been "locally" minded like this, despite our elite classes' desire to spread burdens (but not privileges). In essence, politically independent suburbanization has been our de facto defense against social parasitism, whether it's in the form of crime or taxes. Once upon a time the tables were reversed, when most suburbanites depended on the big city for employment, but that has long since ceased to be the case. We have indeed voted with our feet, and have forged the kind of communities that are more consistent with human nature and American sensibilities (small, more responsive, and more culturally/ethnically/racially homogeneous).

Prior to 1924 in New York, the municipal boundaries of incorporated cities were amended at intervals as tract development advanced through adjacent townships. This is still a practice common in the Southern United States. As it stands nowadays, the metropolitan settlement of my home town has a population in excess of 600,000. The central city, which retains its 1924 boundaries, has a population of 200,000. Those boundaries are an administrative and legal convention. They are not coterminous with the actual physical settlement. Even so, the distance from the city center to the city line is a mean of about 3.5 miles and can be traversed in an automobile in a matter of minutes. Why is that not 'local' enough for you?

In America today, 600,000 is a smallish metro area, but even then so many people make "localism" very hard. How may Chicagoans personally know their city councilmen? How many residents know how their taxes are being spent? You're damned right it's not "local" enough for me. The larger the municipality, the easier it is to turn me and mine into ignorant milk cows to keep the government and its unions in high cotton. Oh sure, it's more cost-effective (maybe) to have metro consolidation, but has that ever been proven?

Luckily, independent suburbanization has been upheld by the courts many times. So long as it is, metro living will be consistent with what most American's view as the 'American Dream'.

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