A very interesting article about the death of a great American city.
Insane rightwing assholes all over the Internet are linking to this article and calling it “the long-term consequences of liberalism.”
New Right and Alt Right idiots are leading the charge.
Here is what happened.
Camden was a great American industrial city, and then all the jobs packed up and left. At first it was corporations moving to non-union parts of the US. Rightwingers will idiotically blame unions for this, when really all it is is workers trying to earn a fair and decent wage for their labor. Of course conservatives have always opposed the idea that a working man should get a fair and decent wage for a day’s labor. Then the corporations started taking off for overseas. By the 1990′s, Campbell’s Soup Company was the last one left.
As factories shuttered their doors, poverty increased. Whites increasingly moved out and the city become much more Black and Hispanic. The unemployment rate skyrocketed. As there were no jobs, crime, gangs and drugs flourished. Much of the city became abandoned or even burnt out by arson. It began to take on the look of a bombed out World War 2 city. The police had their hands full, and they had a powerful police union. Camden police ended up receiving the highest salaries in New Jersey. In a way it made sense, because Camden cops had the toughest jobs of all and had the highest chances of getting killed or wounded on the job.
People in city government did their best, but what can you do?
Some fat sweaty hog named Chris Christie, a fake “moderate” Republican who was anything but, took power as Governor of New Jersey.
“Mr. Moderate Fat Pig” did something unexpected. He decided that the niggers and spics in Camden weren’t paying their way. They were takers not makers. The makers, the good, nice White taxpaying humans, were supporting the takers, the nigger and spic animals in places like Camden.
Christie said it’s time for Camden to pay its way and quit sucking off the state’s teat. Well it would be very nice if Camden could pay its own way, but guess what? The tax base of the city is just about zero. So if the city has to pay its own way out of the tax revenues the city generates, the city government is going to collapse because the place hardly generates any revenue.
Camden has no choice. It’s either be a parasite or die. Cities, like people, want to live.
So Christie completely cut off all state revenues to Camden and said, “You’re on your own!” like a father to his wayward 18 year old son. Then all Hell broke loose. For all intents and purposes, city government simply collapsed. The police force was slashed, and the cops abandoned much of the city to the criminals, gangs and dope. Crime went nuts, and violent crime went through the roof.
Camden had one of the highest homicide rates on Earth, almost like a war zone, up there with Mogadishu and Honduras. Gangs and dope dealers simply took over whole neighborhoods. Camden gained a reputation as one of the biggest dope markets in the US and a lot of high quality dope, especially heroin, started flowing into the city. Addicts from all over started moving to the area to follow the dope. Most of the addicts were White.
Arson spread through the city, and there were hardly any firefighters to fight the fires. Over a 3-year period, maybe half the city seemed to go up in flames at one time or another. The place had a burned out war zone feel about it.
Then Fat Pig Christie had another brilliant idea. He decided that the whole problem in New Jersey was government! The teaching profession needed to be cleaned out, as pubic schools were “failing.” They probably weren’t failing, but the public schools are always “failing” in the eyes of lying rightwingers. The way to fix the schools was to get rid of the teacher’s unions and slash the Hell out of their pay and benefits. The police unions were another problem. Those cops were making way too much money. The whole problem with crime-ridden cities was police unions and cops who got paid too much and got too many bennies.
How does that argument make sense?
According to this insane argument, the more money you pay a worker and the better benefits he gets, the less he works! Huh?
So if you want to get the most possible work out of a worker, you slash their pay in half, pay them a pittance, give them no bennies at all and let them fend their own in the cruel world. Just think, if everyone got paid the minimum wage, how productivity would soar!
The argument is completely irrational of course, but never mind. Tens of millions of conservative morons all over America actually believe this craziness. So Christie took on the teacher’s unions and the police unions.
Workers were making too much money! Oh no, we can’t have that!
In Camden, the police had their pay gutted, the force was cut in half and benefits were slashed. As one might expect, morale fell through the roof. Cops stopped doing their job and abandoned much of the city to the crooks. Officers called in sick in huge waves of sick-in’s. On many days, a lot of cops simply never showed up for work. Predictably, crime, gangs and dope exploded, just as any sane person might expect.
According to insane rightwing ideology, complex problems like crime, drugs, gangs, arson, poverty, failing schools and urban blight are all caused by government. Social spending especially is to blame. The more money a government spends on a city, the more people shoot each other, set stuff on fire, collapse into poverty, sell and shoot dope, join gangs and shoot up the streets. The more money you give people, the more they cause their dwellings to collapse. The more cash you spend on schools, the more they turn into blighted, violence ridden, failure factories.
The way to get people to act good and everything to fall into tip top shape is to cut off all the money.
Cut off the money and the schools will turn into mini-Oxfords overnight. Cut off the cash and the architecture will repair itself and rival Florence. Cut off the bucks and the gangsters will take off their boots and call it day. End the cash-flow and the drug dealers will abandon the streets and all become social workers and pediatricians. Cut off the income and arsonists will get Smokey the Bear religion and quit setting shit on fire. Cut off the paychecks and murderers will all become cringing pacifists and beat their guns into plowshares. Cut off the bucks and poverty will vanish as wealth explodes, tony neighborhoods creep across town and boutiques blossom on every corner.
Sound insane? Yeah.
You know what? Conservatives actually believe this bullshit. No, really, I am not kidding. This is their lunatic religion.
Well, obviously, none of Christie’s rightwing bullshit worked. In fact, it made all of the bad problems of Camden horrifically worse. After Christie’s conservative magic, the city was a horrorshow and every day was Halloween. It was a collapsed zone, a Dystopia out of a science fiction movie.
Then Fat Boy got another brilliant idea. He fired the entire city police force! Good show! And then he replaced them with “county police,” mostly from White cities surrounding Camden. He hired quite a few of the old city police back as “county police.” County police had radically slashed pay and their benefits were hacked to the bone. This was apparently done to make them work harder because, you know, when you cut someone’s pay in half, he works twice as hard, right?
Then Fat Man read an Aldous Huxley novel called Brave New World and decided to turn Camden into London 2450 A.F. He installed state of the art cameras all over the city, on every corner, in every nook and crevice. Even more creepily, he installed listening devices all over town so Fat Big Brother could not only see everything you did, but he could also hear everything you said. The listening devices were set up so they could pinpoint the location of a gunshot very accurately.
The Big Brother cops then sat back at headquarters and watched everyone’s smallest movements on gigantic TV screens that covered the walls of the police department. Every time a bird peeped or a pin dropped somewhere, the microphones strained to grab the tiniest hint of aural activity. At the same time, police got very aggressive about patrolling the city. In some areas, there was a cop on every corner, dressed like US troops in Iraq. Helicopters swept over the city, sometimes dropping cops down to rapell onto roofs in order to invade apartment blocks, once again reminiscent of a war zone. At first, it worked fairly well.
But after a while, even this started failing. Sure the cameras and the mikes worked just fine, but the population got mad. They stopped calling in crimes. Instead of getting reports of gunshots and screams, cops got a call about a dead body full of holes lying in a parking lot with no one else in sight. Residents also quit assisting the police. Nobody ever saw, heard or knew anything. It was if large sections of town had become deaf, blind and mute.
Cops would race to the scene of crimes only to find themselves surrounded by hostile crowds of up to 50-100 people. They could barely get out of their cars as the crowds pressed in. They would be just about to nab a suspect when a huge crowd would suddenly form and the suspect would melt in the glaring crowd, seeming to vanish off the face of the Earth. There was no pursuing them through the angry mobs.
The dope market continued to flourish. Many Whites in surrounding cities flooded into Camden every day to buy dope. You could sometimes see whole crowds of them walking into town over bridges in the morning. Camden started getting a reputation for having the best heroin in the US.
The work all shut down, and all the jobs vanished. The city degenerated into crime, dope, gangs, slaughter flames and decay, as one might expect.
All of this drove any remaining work further out in a nasty cycle.
Massive budget cuts made the situation surreally worse, as Camden started to resemble Iraq.
Cops outfitted like 21st century soldiers then occupied the city and helicopters swooped overhead. Cameras and microphones sprouted all over the city to keep the restless population in control, Big Brother style.
And even that didn’t seem to be working.
Whatever blew up Camden, it sure as Hell wasn’t liberalism. Blown up cities tend to stay blown up until some work comes back. They stay ruined under conservative or liberal city or state administrations alike. Neither conservative nor liberal policies tend to make cities implode in the first place (it’s economics) and neither conservative nor liberal governments seem to be able any Humpty Dumpty cities back together again when they fall off the wall (probably only economics can patch up a ruined city).
However, the limited available evidence does seem to show that rightwing policies of cutting off all the money to a ruined city makes things dramatically worse as a hellhole turns into a literal charnelhouse, and in that way, conservative policies fail badly, making bad things into even worse things.
Conservative policies of slashing police forces and teacher ranks and gutting the pay of teachers and cops seem to cause police departments to collapse, drive the morale of cops and teachers into the ground, and probably make failing schools fail worse than ever. So in that sense, too, conservative policies also seem to make a bad thing worse.
One thing is for sure. For the life of me, I can’t possibly see how liberalism turned Camden from a showcase city into scary, crumbling dystopia. How did liberalism ruin a great city? I don’t get it.
But hey, liars will always lie, won’t they?