Detroit: A Vision of America’s Potential Future


Once the wealthiest city in America, known as the “arsenal of democracy,” Detroit was the fourth largest city in the U.S. in the 1960′s, with a population of two million. Now a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the American economy, Detroit has become nothing more than a devastated landscape of urban decay with a population of about 700,000.

Visiting Detroit is the closest Americans can come to viewing what appears to be a war-torn city without leaving the U.S. This former powerhouse is a barren stretch of land, devastated by looters and full of run-down, vacant houses. Row upon row of dilapidated structures line the streets; empty apartment buildings and factories consume the landscape. Almost a third of Detroit has been abandoned.

Unfortunately, Detroit is not alone. All across America, cities are being devastated by their own collapsed manufacturing bases. The U.S. government abandoned its manufacturing prowess when it pursued “free trade” deals that make it impossible for America to compete. The North American Free Trade Agreement all but eliminated manufacturing in the U.S., as American auto companies were forced to relocate their manufacturing south of the border in search of lower costs. Without moving to Mexico, the American automobile industry could not compete globally with the rest of the world’s lowered labor costs and lax environmental standards.

Now debt-ridden and forced to cut many of its beleaguered services like transportation and street lighting, Detroit has a jobless rate of 29 percent. As public services are shuttered, the poor continue to suffer. Gazing at the streets of Detroit today, where the average house price is only $7,500 (some houses sell for as little as a few hundred dollars), it is hard to imagine the Motor City’s glory days.

Free trade agreements have put the final nail in the coffin, making it too expensive for American auto companies to manufacture cars in the United States. Knowing they could no longer produce competitively, American automakers shipped their jobs to Canada and Mexico.

Free trade is uncontrolled, unrestricted access to our economy, tariff- and duty-free, with products produced at labor rates in foreign countries much lower than ours – sometimes as low as $4 per hour – that we cannot compete with. Free trade is forcing us to outsource most of our manufacturing, enriching the individuals and companies that outsource our manufacturing, turning more millionaires into billionaires while our own labor force – the middle class – evaporates.

America must end ALL free trade agreements before the fate of Detroit becomes the fate of the nation.

Send this letter to your congressional representative and to five of your friends and ask them to do the same!

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6 Responses to Detroit: A Vision of America’s Potential Future

  1. David L. Rood says:

    This is so sad. I wonder if everything is to far gone to get it back. I know we have to do something now but do we have the administration in place to make these changes. I think not when it seems that this president is trying to sign us up for more trade agreements. Would a conservative gov’t make the necessary changes? Well who was the president that signed the NAFTA agreement. I love America and want to see it changes but my hopes are dashed daily. We definitely need better leadership from the president, the Senate, and the House.

    • Clyde B says:

      David L. Rood – your concerns are well founded.

      As the most recent couple of elections have shown, we can not fix the problem at the ballot box. Look what we elected.

      Our efforts must be focused on the candidate selection process, which means “grass roots” recruiting of potential candidates who have sensible trade policy positions.

      Kenneth Davis and Will Wilkin have an on-going effort to work with an existing legislator with a plan for introducing their Balanced Trade Restoration Act of 2014, which would have the effect of limiting imports over time to a level comparable to exports. We all should do everything we can to help them.

  2. BIGuru says:

    A similar Bill of 2006 (s.3899) did not work then…let us see if this time it works…

  3. Will Wilkin says:

    As Clyde says above, Balanced Trade Associates, under the direction of Ken Davis, has drafted model legislation that would balance our trade, limiting our imports to the same value as our exports and creating over 8 million new US jobs in the process. We need all the help we can get to bring this to Congress. If interested, email me at for a copy of the draft legislation. Then send it to your Congressional Rep and Senators and ask them to introduce it in Congress. It would be really helpful if Economy In Crisis would publish the draft bill and write articles promoting it.

    • Clyde B says:

      Will, I completely agree. I too have appealed to the EIC community to demonstrate some level of support and cohesive agreement on a course of action but to no avail.
      It seems to be that writers feel the need to be “bashing” someone or proposing more taxation to gain attention. Maybe you can get some response.

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