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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Netroots Nation Comes Home To Bankrupt Detroit

by AF "Tony" Branco
Bill Smith, ARRA News Editor: As the former Director of New Media at Americans For Prosperity, Eric Telford was the genius behind  the creation of  RightOnline which showcased conservative bloggers and activists against the backdrop of the progressive NetRoots Nation events.  Telford, now the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Communications at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, has an excellent article in the Detroit News on NetRoots Nation holding its 2013 gathering in in the bankrupt city of Detroit?  Wonder who the the NetRoots 2013 attendees will rage against since they are heavily financed by the unions this year?   As a juxtaposition, I and other liberty loving conservative free market bloggers will be enjoying RightOnline 2013 which will be meeting over 1000 miles south of Detroit in the prospering city of Orlando, Florida.

Eric Telford, Op-Ed, Detroit News: Detroit’s bankruptcy has shed light on the ugly face of progressive governance, and is a haunting indicator of what can happen when government lets public-sector unions bleed taxpayers dry.

As the city faces difficult decisions about its financial future, one would expect progressives and labor interests to divert attention from the fallout.

But instead, they’re bringing Netroots Nation, a conference of progressive activists, to Detroit next year to promote the same model of government at the national level.

Silicon Valley seemed like the perfect setting for the recently concluded 2013 edition of Netroots Nation, which purports to be a gathering of young, idealistic, tech-oriented activists, driving hybrids and using Tumblr to promote social progressivism. But beneath this hipster-centric veneer, Netroots is nothing more than a massive organizing and coalitions event staged by Big Labor, the conference’s primary sponsor.

However it may bill itself, Netroots Nation is at its core a labor showcase, bankrolled by the most powerful unions in America.

In fact, of the 2013 conference’s 19 high-dollar “Premier Sponsors,” 11 are unions, including eight of the 10 largest by membership in the country. Unions also filled the program with nine full pages of advertisements, and sponsored seemingly every panel and social event in sight.

Labor’s domination of Netroots speaks to its broader stranglehold on the progressive movement. Each of the other progressive groups at the conference spoke lovingly of labor, which provides these groups with manpower and organizational infrastructure. It was as if the unions had put on the entire conference to send a message — anything that happens on the left side of the aisle has to happen through us.

It was in this same spirit that the unions have conquered Detroit.

Once the Motor City, Labor City may now be the better moniker, as unions have a stranglehold on the city’s government and economy.

Detroit’s public departments employ up to twice as many union workers as other major cities, and its public employees are among the most generously compensated in America.

Since 1937, when the United Auto Workers labor union rose to power, Detroit has gracelessly fallen from the ranks of the world’s leading cities into crippling depression.

Over the seven decades since it became Labor City, Detroit’s population has been cut in half, and those who remain haven’t had much success. Over one-third of Detroiters live in poverty, and the city’s unemployment (18.6 percent) and violent crime rates are each the worst of any large American city.

The rise of the UAW and fall of Detroit are hardly unrelated. As the UAW’s demands placed a greater strain on the Big Three every year, foreign automakers set up shop in right-to-work states, bypassing unions to build vehicles at lower costs.

As Detroit’s automakers fell behind, a pipeline of jobs and capital flowed out of the city, leaving behind shuttered factories.

It’s no wonder that the Big Three, which once dominated the auto industry, have seen their market share fall to 46 percent, with foreign automakers now controlling a majority of the market and American union membership at an all-time low.

As Detroit’s industry crumbled and its tax base disintegrated, public sector unions continued to command lavish benefits and pensions that the city simply couldn’t afford to pay.

Detroit’s teachers pay only 10 percent of their insurance premiums and have a pension contract so unassailable that it is immune from cuts even during bankruptcy negotiations.

With the damage labor’s unreasonable demands have done to Detroit, you’d expect that unions would dissociate themselves from the barren city.

Yet, they’re doing the opposite — bringing their bought-and-paid-for convention to the scene of their worst crime.

Tags: Detroit, Michigan, NetRoots Nation, 2013, progressives, unions, Bankrupt Detroit, Eric Telford, op-ed, RightOnline, 2013, Orlando, Florida To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 10:04 AM - Post Link


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