Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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The bankruptcy of Detroit should serve as a wake-up call
for everyone who lives in a region dominated by a big city.
One of the lessons of Detroit is: We have been permitting
politicians to answer the wrong question. Politicians love to answer ‘why?'
Why is subjective. Why is easy - there are always good reasons to do
things. Why provides opportunities for high-sounding, yet utterly
meaningless, phrases like, "it's the right thing to do," "our
kids deserve better," "everyone deserves a fair chance,"
and blah, blah, blah.
The real lesson of Detroit is we should demand an answer
to ‘how?' How will you do this? How much will it cost? How
will you pay for it? How long will it take? How will it impact
other programs? How will you manage it? How will you judge its
And if we cannot get substantial answers to ‘how,' then
the next question should be, "How do you expect to be an effective mayor
when you cannot explain the basics of something you just said is going to be a
critical element of your administration?"
If we don't wake up today and ask ‘how,' then I fear we
will wake up later, like the people in Detroit are surely doing, and be asking
ourselves, "How did things get so bad?"