Schultz One-ups Harris-Perry's Detroit Delusion: Motor City's Bankruptcy Is 'Thanks to a Lot of Republican Policies'

Earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry blamed Detroit's bankruptcy on "government (that) is small enough to drown in your bathtub," and claimed that it reflects “exactly the kind of thing that many Republicans would impose on us.”

Nothing can top that, right? Wrong. MSNBC's Ed Schultz did, by more directly blaming Republicans. With an accompanying graphic containing photos of current Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, former President Ronald Reagan, and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney above the words "Conservative Utopia," Schultz claimed that the city's failure is "thanks to a lot of Republican policies" and "is exactly what the Republicans want." The relevant transcript follows the jump (video is at RealClearPolitics; HT Hot Air; bolds are mine):

ED SCHULTZ: Michigan used to be a symbol of industrial strength in manufacturing in this country. But thanks to a lot of Republican policies, the city is now filing for bankruptcy. Now, it's the largest public sector bankruptcy in U.S. history, and the consequences could be devastating if you care about people. The already small force of police, firefighters and EMTs are in danger of future layoffs, that's only going to make it worse. Roughly 30,000 retired workers are concerned about their pensions. You know, what they're counting on.

Make no mistake, Detroit is exactly what the Republicans want. They outsourced manufacturing jobs, attack unions, cut public services, and this is the result. Now they can wipe the slate clean because now they can start privatizing city assets.

Schultz employed a fake southern accent when he said "privatizing."

Schultz also said: "The template I think is being set by the conservatives, that if they can get Detroit to go through this, it won't be as hard for other cities to do the same thing, and the road to privatization starts."

The nine-minute video at RCP -- not for the faint of heart -- includes a guest appearance by Vermont independent and declared socialist Bernie Sanders.

Sanders transitioned to discussing the state of the economy, including youth unemployment, without implicating the role which he and others on the left, certainly including the policies of the Obama administration, have had in making the situation so miserable. After complimenting Obama on his Trayvon Martin speech, he said:

I hope he now begins to talk about what's happening to millions of African-American kids and young people in general in this country who as a result of this disastrous economy are unable to even get entry-level jobs.

The problem, Bernie, in case you haven't noticed, is that Obama's Keynesian template has been in place for 4-1/2 years, we have what we have, and he has no intention of changing.

Naturally, Schultz and Sanders believe that yet another federal program to "put people back to work" would be a great answer. Sanders bragged that he's already done that, getting a $1.5 billion youth jobs program into the immigration bill the Senate recently passed. That's on top of the over 40 such highly duplicative federal job training programs the GAO found earlier this year.

It's never their fault, is it? And more of what hasn't worked always seems to be the answer.

I don't suppose it's worth pointing out that Ronald Reagan, one of the three "evil" conservatives pictured, against his better instincts, arguably saved the Big Three auto companies and the Metro Detroit economy in the early 1980s when he imposed quotas on imported autos. That's the good news. The bad news is that the quotas encouraged Japanese companies like Honda and Toyota, and then several others from Japan and elsewhere, to build autos here. As I wrote in 2005:

... the quotas ended up being a classic case of “be careful what you wish for.” Honda’s, Toyota’s, and then Subaru’s and Nissan’s decisions to build plants in the United States were direct results of those quotas, because those companies did not want to have their unit sales in the biggest vehicle market in the world constrained by quotas in the next domestic auto crisis (and you’ll note, they haven’t been). I believe the Japanese companies’ entry into American manufacturing would have come much later without the quotas, and conceivably may never have happened at all.

So in return for the breathing room, the Big Three eventually got fiery competitors right at their doorstep with huge built-in competitive advantages. The Japanese (and then the Germans) have been able to build brand-new ultra-efficient plants in relatively low-cost areas, hire fresh, young workers at near-UAW wages, provide very generous (but nowhere near UAW-level) benefits, and, perhaps most important, don’t have The Big Three’s UAW pension and retiree health-care baggage from the 1960s and 1970s or an aging workforce to worry about.

After their Reagan-driven reprieve, the Big Three and their unions returned to a modicum of sanity for a while, and then, especially at General Motors, fell back into their bad habits. Unfortunately, the City of Detroit never improved its governance.

Yet all of this is the fault of Republicans and conservatives, according to Ed Schultz and Bernie Sanders, and there actually people who take them seriously.

Cross-posted at

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