How much failure must there be before someone holds Democrats responsible?

September 29th, 2010

Democrats (or Socialists) have been running Milwaukee since 1908. How can they avoid responsibility for Milwaukee being the 4th poorest city after more than 100 years of running the place?

On a side note, viagra buy physician I’m pretty sure the other top-ten poorest cities are long-time Democratic bastions as well.

Entry Filed under: Milwaukee

41 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John Foust  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Fixated on the party names, are you? Why not question policies or demographic patterns. Milwaukee is a heavily segregated city, too.

    From this book description: “With the migration of African American sharecroppers to northern cities in the first half of the 20th century, the African American population of Milwaukee grew from fewer than 1,000 in 1900 to nearly 22,000 by 1950. Most settled around a 12-block area along Walnut Street that came to be known as Milwaukee’s Bronzeville, a thriving residential, business, and entertainment community.”

    So why’d they put the freeway there?

    So why did Southern blacks move north after WWII? Because they liked the Democrats down there so much?

  • 2. Dan  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Shoot, Democrats still don’t accept responsibiility for Jimmy Carter, why would think they would take responsibility now?
    They just cannot accept the fact that liberal policies, for the most part, don’t work. If they recognized this, then their whole belief in liberalism would be shot to hell.
    They just don’t know any better. It’s a disease.

  • 3. Elliot  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    All a side step, John. Democrats have had 100 years to solve Milwaukee’s problems, and yet somehow the city’s condition is still not their responsibility?

    When will it be their responsibility? In another 100 years? 200? Never? Or is leadership…like teaching…one of those professions where continued failure is always someone else’s fault?

  • 4. BobG  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Is this the part where we blame Bush?

  • 5. TerryN  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    So it was a freeway that caused the precipitous decline in employers in all the cities with solid Democrat leadership?

    Then I really wonder why cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, etc, have a ring of suburbs the major employers moved to.

  • 6. Debunked  |  September 29th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    So lower class income people vote Democrat. Wow, what a shocker.

    The huge gaping hole in your argument is your assumption that the city is poor because of Democratic mayors.

    The reality is Democrats tend to be elected because of the large number of poor.

    And wealthy don’t exactly want to move in with the poor. So poor areas stay poor.

  • 7. TerryN  |  September 29th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Business owners tend to like employing those who will work for lower wages. So why move their businesses out of the areas that elect Democrats?

  • 8. Elliot  |  September 29th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Debunked, I considered the correlation versus causation issue when making this post and decided it was irrelevant.

    Whether the Democrats’ policies caused the poverty or the poverty caused more Democrats to be elected doesn’t matter. Either way, the Democrats in charge have completed and demonstrably failed to mitigate Milwaukee’s descent. Shouldn’t there be some accountability?

  • 9. John Foust  |  September 29th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Y’all sayin’ there’s a correlation and that it’s causation. I’m asking for the evidence. What else did the Milwaukee leadership do for you in the last century? Nice parks, clean water, lots of sprawl and white-flight, imbalanced schools, friendly suburbs for the TEA partiers. What more do you want? You think urban impoverishment is somehow disconnected and independent from these other policies?

    Have you not read your Gurda? Those mayors of a hundred-plus years ago were fighting some very different battles. You think the populace is to blame for electing and re-electing them? Or is it just Nancy Pelosi who gets the blame today? Sheesh, it’s like the Democrats are boogey-men to you.

    I was in Detroit at the end of July for the Maker Faire. As part of my tourism efforts for the kids, I drove through some of the really burned-out areas that weren’t that far from downtown. They thought it was like some sort of apocalyptic movie set.

  • 10. John Foust  |  September 29th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    It’s people. Government is made out of people. They’re making our government out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them! Government is people! We’ve gotta stop them somehow!

  • 11. David Casper  |  September 29th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    If government is made out of people, then I for one welcome our robot overlords.

  • 12. John Michlig  |  September 29th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    “We wanted our workers to have pure air, we wanted them to have sunshine, we wanted planned homes, we wanted them to have living wages, we wanted recreation for young and old, we wanted vocational education, we wanted a chance for every human being to be strong and live a life of happiness. And we wanted everything that was necessary to give them that—playgrounds, parks, lakes, beaches, clean creeks and rivers, swimming and wading pools, social centers, reading rooms, clean fun, music, dance, song and joy for all.”

    – Emil Seidel, 1910-1912 Socialist Mayor of Milwaukee.

    Yeah – I can see why the right hates hints of socialism….

  • 13. TerryN  |  September 29th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    That was the dream, Detroit is the reality.

  • 14. Elliot  |  September 29th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    That’s what they wanted, John. And what they got was a welfare state, a permanent underclass, and the 4th poorest city in America.

    I’m not attacking you, but I’m sticking to my point. It’s not even a distant possibility that a Republican will be the next Mayor of Milwaukee. So what is the city getting for its continuing blind allegiance to the Democrats?

  • 15. John Michlig  |  September 29th, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    You draw a straight line between progressive policies and the current plight of the cities, specifically Milwaukee?

    Read your history: Socialist mayors saved Milwaukee from becoming Chicago North, corruption-wise. And I doubt we would have become a city of parks under Walker’s ideological forebearers.

  • 16. John Michlig  |  September 29th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I say “we” like I have any connection whatsoever with the city of Milwaukee. I don’t; I’m in the suburbs. We don’t really bother with parks out here because everyone is supposed to have a personal park in their back yard.

  • 17. Elliot  |  September 29th, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    No straight line, buddy. I think the causes are numerous and complex. (For example, white flight was certainly at least partially motivated by racism and I certainly wouldn’t hold those Democratic mayors responsible for racism.)

    But the question remains: Democrats have been in charge for 100 years. At what point should they be held responsible for the shape the city is in?

  • 18. TerryN  |  September 29th, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Amazing that people still do not hold Democrats, (Socialists) responsible for the poverty they created trying to make living standards “equal”.

    Those people all want to answer today’s problems with stories of past transgressions by people who grew up in a segregated society that does not compare to today’s society. (See the movie Titanic for an example of class differential among people of the same race that existed a century ago.) Understandable, I guess, if they grew up in homes where class bias was the norm.

    Not so surprising is that nobody will answer my question in #7. You would self incriminate if you answered correctly.

    p.s. I live in the ‘burbs and use the parks all seasons of the year. I just can’t seem to squeeze a swimming pool, sledding hill and miles of X-country skiing trails onto my massive, expansive, politically incorrect lot.

    Anybody who believes, “We don’t really bother with parks out here” needs to look at a map. There Is an app for that…

  • 19. John Foust  |  September 29th, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    For the sake of brevity, I’ll put aside the northern migration of undercapitalized blacks, the similar situation in other metropolises in the North, the inertia and momentum of poverty, the destruction of the richest black neighborhood in Milwaukee, the placing of blame on Socialist/Democrat mayors for policies that might’ve been implemented at the state or national level, and the slipshod conflation of Nancy Pelosi with Democrats of one hundred and two years ago. I’ll ignore for now the utter ridiculousness of statements like “It’s what they wanted, John.” Go ahead – tell me which policy of the Devil caused the poverty and unemployment we see today. It wasn’t the blacks who elected Seidel. You at least admit there was racism behind some white flight. So were those whites acting like Dems, Socialists or Republicans? I guess we could examine how they or their next generation votes today. Start with Ozaukee County.

    The answer to #7 is easy, Terry. Cheap land for plant expansion, cheap land for bigger homes. First came the highway subsidy to make it all possible. Thank you Republican President Eisenhower. When your managers move to the suburbs and tire of their commute, when your CEOs want the plant to be closer to their lake home, when your walk-to-work workforce diminishes in quality and education, it’s easy to move to the suburbs.

  • 20. Debunked  |  September 29th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Amazing that people still do not hold Democrats, (Socialists) responsible for the poverty they created trying to make living standards “equal”.

    Yes, because all Democrat run cities are impoverished.

    Why don’t we look at the richest cities too?

    *I’m skipping the ones I that a simple Google search does not turn up a quick list of Mayor’s and their political party

    * San Jose, CA – Democrat for past 40 years
    * Anchorage, AK – Republican last 40 years
    * San Francisco, CA – Democrat for past 50 years
    * San Diego, CA – Fairly evenly mixed for past 100 years
    * Seattle, WA – Democrat for past 50 years
    * Washington DC – Democrat for at least last 50 years, maybe more

    So out of the top 10 richest cities, I found a good list of mayors for six. One of those is solidly Republican, one is solidly mixed, and four have been solidly Democrat.

    So yes, those “liberal policies” must really be the culprit in Milwaukee.

    As I said earlier, it is no surprise that poor tend to vote Democratic. Correlation does not equal causation.

    That said, there is probably blame to be placed on the leadership of Milwaukee. But what blame, I can not say. A blanket statement as Elliot began with in this thread serves absolutely no purpose in giving any evidence or proof as to the quality of the leadership or the nearly limitless number of variables surrounding the economy in Milwaukee.

    Who’s to say that if Milwaukee had been governed using pure laissez-faire conservative wet-dream politics for the past 100 years, Milwaukee wouldn’t be #1 on the poorest list instead of #4? In that case, it seems that the Democratic leadership policies worked better than if Republicans had been running things. But again, there’s no way to prove or disprove what would have happened, which is why, again, this thread is completely meaningless.

  • 21. TerryN  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    “For the sake of brevity” I’ll try to keep this short. Milwaukee and Detroit were two of the richest cities of the early 20’th century.

    “under-capitalized blacks” came in droves searching to become capitalized. Some made it most kept trying until Mr. Lyndon Johnson declared his war on poverty. The net result being ~13% poverty in 1960 “improving” to ~13% today. That’s what I call, “looking out for the working people” billions of dollars at a time.

    The rest of John’s text doesn’t make much sense to me, as usual.

    I also can not believe that land was so cheap around major Democratic cities that business owners found moving millions of dollars of assets was more profitable than paying the higher taxes and submitting to the more stringent regulations. But if it was, what were they thinking? My grandparents swear they paid a lot of money for land in Brookfield. And the highways Eisenhower built? Commuting was second to national defense when it came to funding.

    Debunked has found the unsustainable key to prosperity. The economy of each city he lists depends on military installations.

    I’m not convinced that the Democratic Party has helped one single person except one of their own. Prove me wrong…

  • 22. John Foust  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Go ahead, Terry. Tell me the Dem/Soc mayoral-level policies over the last hundred years that caused Milwaukee’s current levels of unemployment, poverty, drop-outs, and single motherhood.

  • 23. John Michlig  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Can there be anything more ironic than effete knowledge workers with college degrees tucked under their arms arguing that progressive policies in the last century somehow led to overall negative consequences?

    Perhaps you yearn for the days when those on the lower decks of the Titanic STAYED THERE.

  • 24. John Michlig  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    “Anybody who believes, ‘We don’t really bother with parks out here’ needs to look at a map. There Is an app for that…”

    And with that statement, TerryN, you expose a gaping hole in your knowledge of what passes for modern suburban “planning” — perhaps congruent with your tenuous grasp of cause-and-effect when it comes to the fate of modern cities.

  • 25. Elliot  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I’m also interested in arguing about how many angels will fit on the head of a pin, John. ;)

  • 26. Debunked  |  September 29th, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    There are plenty of cities with military installations that are not on the “top 10 richest cities” list. And there are plenty of poor areas with large military installations. No, military installations are not what each of those cities is dependent on.

    What they are all dependent on (and what cities like Milwaukee and Detroit lack) is the influx of white collar high skilled jobs. Most of those cities are or are near technological hubs.

    If Milwaukee and Detroit were wealthy at the start of the 20th century, it’s because they large industrial manufacturing centers. As America’s white collar technology workforce and globalization came into play, manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas and many of the cities you find that are poor are those that were previously manufacturing hubs which were too slow or unable to shift focus fast enough.

    The large numbers of highly segregated and uneducated minorities, like you find in Milwaukee, definitely did not contribute to the capability to shift focus.

    And this is why a solid strong education system today is even more important than it was in the 50s. And it only becomes ever more important as more manufacturing jobs are lost. Anybody who claims we’ll bring them back is living in a pipe dream. They’re history. America has moved on. But our university system, albeit extremely good, is not accessible for a large fraction of our population.

    Parents who are uneducated tend to have children who are uneducated. And the poor cycle continues. But it’s simple to break this cycle. The corollary to this statement is obviously the inverse – parents who are educated tend to have children who are educated. Bring educated to the masses and you end up with a much higher educated and skilled workforce.

    And this is why we have to figure out some way to strongly educate the next generation of students who are children of impoverished minority families. You can not pull the proverbial rug out from under impoverished families and expect everything to just get better. You have to actively break the cycle and the safety net will become unnecessary over time.

  • 27. melinda  |  September 29th, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I see a lot of talking around the point in this thread.

    But – Elliot has a great point… And, it’s a very simple point.

    Democrats have had 100 years to solve Milwaukee’s problems. Either:
    • their policies have a negative impact on the city
    • their policies don’t help solve the problems

    It’s one of the other. Everything else just changes the topic.

    So – go on & talk about other things. But, the point is – It’s not getting any better.

    — Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results —

  • 28. John Michlig  |  September 29th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    “I see a lot of talking around the point in this thread.”

    Welcome to the Internet. :)

    I’m fascinated that you could come with only TWO bullet points, I.E. two possible — and possibly spouse-serving — scenarios (I understand the spouse-serving part and fully support your efforts).

    Can you not, Melinda, imagine a world – – another bullet point — where Republican mayors did indeed get to pursue their agenda and Milwaukee went the way of Detroit, only 20 years ago, due to their bowing to corporate interests? That would make the present situation preferable — well done, Democrats!

    Your two bullet points represent a fairly startling — if not binary — disregard for the complexity of the matter and the myriad alternate possibilities. Like a poorly written time travel story.

  • 29. Debunked  |  September 29th, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I made that very same point on comment #20. I’m guessing Melinda missed that obvious third point.

    Also, some things to keep in mind. A brief history of Milwaukee, if you will.

    Milwaukee hasn’t exactly been in downfall for 100 years. Milwaukee had economic growth up through the 1960s.

    It was in the late ’60s that the blue collar jobs were lost and the “white flight” degradation of the city began.

    We then have to look to the relatively recent (’90s+) history of Milwaukee. The Third War, Bay View, East Side and Riverwest areas are all areas of revitalization directly in Milwaukee city.

    Milwaukee has had a decline in the very recent years (if you read the original article linked, it has slipped from 11th to 4th in the poverty in less than two years) obviously due to the recession.

    The recession hit lower income workers (of which Milwaukee city is made up of a relatively large number of due to the manufacturing decline and white flight discussed above) proportionally much harder than middle and upper class individuals.

    So, the point being, the original post is misleading by making it appear as if Milwaukee has been in decline for the past 100 years. It has not.

    It had relatively good growth up until the late 60s (so the first 50 years of the 100 year time span). It then declined drastically as did all blue collar manufacturing economies in America from the 70s to the 90s when it slowly began a process of revitalization. The recession has then hit it hard in the past few years.

    Now I await for conservatives to herald all of the above as “excuses” or “shifting blame” for the state of Milwaukee when, actually, all it is doing is outlining the reality of the situation in an attempt to show that the real world is not, in fact, a black or white scenario that so many seem to think exists.

  • 30. TerryN  |  September 30th, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Debunked makes a good point about Milwaukee’s economic swings through the last century. It’s a stretch blaming going from #11 to #4 in two years on the recession alone. lots of factors are in play which would take paragraphs to sort out. Paragraphs that nobody but economists would bother to read.

    That’s why everybody here comments based on their experiences and opinions. I am of the opinion that high taxes and over regulation kill business and I can see it happening here, and in Detroit and other cities that have several things in common, including being run by Democrats.

    To John Foust’s point. The social decline in Americas urban neighborhoods can be directly attributed to Democratic legislation that believed you can elevate a group of people by taking money from those who earn it and giving that money to those who didn’t. Also in that legislation were provisions that made having kids out of wedlock more profitable than having a husband in the household.

    To the other John. You know all the answers and berate those who disagree with you. Why didn’t you support your statement about no parks in the suburbs? A gaping hole? A tenuous grasp?

    Suburban planning was no different than urban planning, parks, schools, shopping, police, fire, hospitals, etc, except that suburbs were originally planned around having an automobile, now planned around having two.

  • 31. John Michlig  |  September 30th, 2010 at 9:08 am

    TerryN, I did not intend to berate, but rather respond in kind with the tone conveyed by “there’s an app for that” vis-a-vis your mistaken view of suburban “planning”; and “doesn’t make much sense as usual” in reference to Foust’s post. We’re all pals here, right? (And I like to ration the usage of emoticons.)

    Preceding and immediately after WWII, “inner-ring suburbs” did indeed plan their communities to include parks, walkways, social junctions, and third places. Those days are long over. Developers are free to build in a manner which best enriches them for that particular fiscal year; there is no longer any sense of a unified city or community, and “silo living” is reflected in the increasingly bunker-like mentality pervading the suburban voting bloc.

    Come to Franklin. I’ll meet you downtown. Good luck finding it.

    Or we could go for a walk to discuss this. Good luck finding a stretch of walkway long enough to have a conversation.

    If I throw a baseball two times from my backyard, I can hit the playground of the Elementary school. Yet I had to drive her there every morning and pick her up every night. Take the bus? It would dump her on an arterial adjacent to my cul-de-sac with traffic that regularly travels 55 mph. It’s posted 35 — but in the suburbs, we engineer the roads for SPEED.

    The sheriff’s department has declared all of Franklin an exceptionally hazardous zone, there for EVERY CHILD IN FRANKLIN IS ELIGIBLE FOR BUS TRAVEL TO SCHOOL.


    I know of which I speak; I have made a close study of the consequences of “suburbs were originally planned around having an automobile, now planned around having two.” When you’re especially bored, visit my SPRAWLED OUT blog, and in a couple weeks read my article in Milwaukee Magazine about the hidden costs cul-de-sac development.

    “Suburban planning was no different than urban planning, parks, schools, shopping, police, fire, hospitals, etc,”?


  • 32. John Foust  |  September 30th, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Terry, I’m listening. Which Milwaukee mayoral-level policy gave money to poor people or made single motherhood “more profitable”?

    I’m still waiting for anyone to explain to me why a Democrat from 1909 can be conflated with a Democrat from today, or for that matter, why a Republican in 1909 is the same as one today. To make it a little easier, go ahead and tell me whether Nixon’s policies sound like today’s Democrats or Republicans.

  • 33. Elliot  |  September 30th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Debunked said,

    “And this is why we have to figure out some way to strongly educate the next generation of students who are children of impoverished minority families. You can not pull the proverbial rug out from under impoverished families and expect everything to just get better. You have to actively break the cycle and the safety net will become unnecessary over time.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Of course, that raises the problem that teachers unions, abetted by their allies in the Democratic party, have a choke hold on education.

  • 34. John Michlig  |  September 30th, 2010 at 9:26 am

    The Democratic Party was directly culpable in the creation of the Ku Klux Klan. So, there’s that.

    To Mr. Foust’s point: A Republican/Conservative from even as recent as 1980 would not recognize the ideology and temperment that has taken over the vast majority of the party and movement today. And on that you will find wide agreement from icons of the Right.

    Today, Eisenhower would be considered a “RINO” and run out of office. The center is disappearing quickly.

  • 35. Elliot  |  September 30th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I agree with Terry that Debunked has a great point about the ups and downs of the city. And certainly today’s Democrats have little in common with ones from 100 years ago, but the fact remains that it has been the Democrats in charge (for whatever timeframe you prefer). When do they get held responsible? At what degree of failure to they lose the privilege of running Milwaukee like their own fiefdom?

    We know it took the pension scandal to pry the County Executive position out of Democratic hands. (And if Scott Walker wins the governorship, I’m absolutely certain it will be a Democrat who succeeds him as Executive). Is there any failure big enough to wrench Milwaukee from the Democrats?

  • 36. Elliot  |  September 30th, 2010 at 9:41 am

    By the way, I’d just like to compliment everyone on a very reasoned and mild discussion. You all could have taken my intentionally provocative statement as an excuse for invective, but instead everyone has made some interesting points without any insulting asides.


    I’ve enjoyed the discussion.

  • 37. John Foust  |  September 30th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    If 1909 Dems aren’t similar to 1950 Dems and 2009 Dems, where’s the relevant “fact” in that?

    Yes, you might as well argue about what the angels are wearing while they’re dancing, and whether genderless angels dancing with each other violates Dad29’s Natural Law.

    Pick a year, pick a mayoral-driven policy, tell me what an anti-Dem/Soc would’ve done instead, and why it would’ve had any effect on today’s situation.

  • 38. Elliot  |  September 30th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Oops, sorry John. The burden isn’t on me to argue about some hypothetical alternate reality.

    We have a real reality to talk about. Dems in charge. City in disarray. Regardless of whether or not a Conservative Republican or benevolent dictator would have done better or worst, the facts remain: we have the city we have and the Democrats have basically always been in charge. Are they to blame or not?

  • 39. John Michlig  |  September 30th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    RE: “reality”

    A man crossed a lake in a rowboat. Halfway across it sprung a leak, but contained a patch kit that the man used to fix the problem.

    While patching the hole, he nicked his finger. The boat contained a first aid kit, which provided a bandage for the minor cut.

    Two-thirds of the way across, the man lost an oar. Fortunately, the boat contained a smaller spare.

    The man made it safely across the lake.

    His friend was there waiting and noted the boater’s shirt, which had gotten wet from use of the smaller oar. His friend also noted that his pants had gotten soaked from the temporary leak, and the fact that he had a band-aid on his finger.

    “That boat was full of failure,” the friend declared. “You are wet and disheveled. When will you admit that the boat was a failure? It’s time to abandon the boat for the failure that it is.”

    The friend then concluded: “So, we’ll use this bicycle to get back across.”

  • 40. John Foust  |  September 30th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    You continue to claim that merely changing the label on the mayor’s office would make some significant difference in today’s outcome. If you can’t point out what a past mayor did wrong, and if you don’t want to guess what a past imaginary Republican mayor would’ve done right, maybe you can tell us what a future Mayor Palin-Light would do differently, and why it would matter.

    Yes, you’re right – education is a similar morass. Lots of armchair quarterbacks. No easy solutions, anywhere, as far as I can tell. I guess the problem started with the state Constitution in 1848 that said they’d give a free education. Heaven forbid we recognize that our Constitutions could contain ticking time bombs…

  • 41. TerryN  |  October 1st, 2010 at 11:48 am

    John M. You make a good point about Franklin and suburbs of that era. I see a trend today to reverse that type of thinking but there are urban areas that defy any logical planning.

    Back to the original question. Democrats aren’t responsible. It’s that simple:-)

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