Monday, January 24, 2011


If you reside in one of the ten cities mentioned in the recent Newsweek article titled “America’s Dying Cities – Cities with Bleak Futures Ahead", you have probably seen reports in your local newspaper and/or television stations. That was certainly the case in Northern Indiana, because South Bend was listed as the #8 Dying City.

Your Commander took the time to read the entire article and frankly I was not surprised by the ten cities listed based upon the limited criteria. They are #1 thru #10 as follows:

1. New Orleans, LA
2. Vallejo, CA
3. Hialeah, FL
4. Rochester, NY
5. Cleveland, OH
6. Pittsburgh, PA
7. Detroit, MI
8. South Bend, IN
9. Flint, MI
10. Grand Rapids, MI

After reading the entire article, the thing that jumped off the page was the fact that the statistical findings were based solely on two factors: the decrease in the city’s total population and the decline in that population's residents under 18 from 2000-2009. Frankly, I believe that was a little thin on investigative journalism to draw the conclusions rendered.

The decline in population in New Orleans is obviously due to Katrina, and the loss of population in six of the other cities is primarily due to the economic collapse of the automobile industry and the inter-related manufacturing jobs. The article states that the South Bend economy never recovered from the closure of the Studebaker plant and associated businesses in the early 1960’s “plunging the area into a long and steep downturn that continues to today.” I think that fact is accurate. What is not noted is the growth of the other parts of South Bend's St. Joseph County, Indiana.

A glaring omission from Newsweek's inadequate piece of journalism was any mention of the political dominance of the Democrat Party machine in the preponderance of these ten cities. That and the influence of heavy union involvement in the work forces were factors that should have not been ignored or gone unconsidered by the authors, as well as the impact of the high levels of welfare in each of the listed cities.

Newsweek is a publication on the brink of extinction and in my opinion, although the general contention may be accurate for some of the cities, the core of their argument is thin at very best. No wonder the magazine is failing.


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