As you may have noticed, towns and cities across the nation have been dying slow deaths for a long time. They are decayed and blighted because the neighborhoods around them have been hit with decades of rough times going back to the 1960s and 1970s. This is not only inner city, but suburbs too. A lot of historic landmarks have been hit hard.
In the case of Detroit, hard times started when automakers began pulling up factories and sending jobs south to right-to-work states to pay lower wages. The effects cascaded locally from affecting the tax base to the loss of jobs. All that resulted in cuts for schools, an increase in poverty, more abandoned houses in neighborhoods, negative effects on local businesses leading many to close. People had less money to spend and the downward spiral started and grew. Communities suffered greatly.
In Detroit’s case, it ended with the city in bankruptcy.
Today, we have an epidemic of unemployment (both youth and adults), community decline, drug use, and numerous other problems as a result of these problems. Once it starts, it’s hard to stop.
What’s lost along with all this is the number of historic buildings that have declined over the years, and are shadows of their former selves.
Two websites that track some of these historic buildings are Art Deco Architecture and Historic Detroit. Recently, they focused on a formerly popular place called the Vanity Ballroom in Detroit. It was a spectacular place for music in its heyday and the Art Deco theme was amazing. You can read about it here and here. Here are some pictures of what it looked like back when it was the “go-to” place by local residents, and what it looks like now.
Vanity Ballroom, Detroit Michigan
By any stretch of the imagination, it begs an answer to the question why Detroit, and many other cities as well, have let this happen. Detroit has numerous historic buildings that are in the same shape.
These buildings and architecture are the cities’, states’, and nation’s heritage. And they’re just letting them go to ruin.
The NDP Proposal
The NDP will create 5.1 million new jobs (paying $52,000 per year) to help revitalize America’s cities. Part of these jobs will go to employing the nation’s youth (all races), while other jobs will be filled with experienced professionals as well as America’s veterans and the unemployed.
This plan will provide for:
- Community Revitalization Initiative (1 million jobs) including:
- clean up and building of parks & recreational areas
- clean up of neighborhoods and homes
- restoration and preservation of historic buldings
- restoration / building / maintenance of athletic fields
- building and maintenance of hiking trails
- building and maintenance of nature trails
- building and maintenance of bicycle paths & lanes
- clean up, building, and maintenance of zoos
- no-kill facilities for stray animals for pet adoption
- city planning with a focus on revitalizing downtown businesses and making it conducive to draw people downtown
- support for entrepreneurs and business startups
- help build local businesses
- help for existing local businesses
- increasing National Guard local preparedness
- Arts Initiative (1 million jobs)
- Community Libraries (400,000 jobs)
- Emergency preparedness (200,000 jobs)
- Green Energy jobs (400,000 jobs)
- High-Speed Transportation (2 million jobs)
- National Historic Preservation Initiative (100,000 jobs)
- whatever else deemed necessary and relevant
The money to pay for this will come from reducing the Defense budget, raising taxes on the wealthy and Big Business, a 4% transaction tax on Wall Street stock traders, increase the inheritance tax, recovering corporate welfare paid out, and recovering off-shore tax shelters of the tax dodging wealthy and Big Business.
Instead of wasteful tax breaks and subsidies for big corporations and millionaires and billionaires, we need to invest in rebuilding America, and it starts with our cities and towns and our people.
Today, the nation spends +/- $1.5 trillion on Defense annually ($800 billion on the books, $700 billion off the books). We spend more than the rest of the world combined. We can defend ourselves adequately without wasteful spending.
Right now, we need to spend it here at home on our own people and communities, and not on making war in far away places nor spying on our own citizens or other nations.