Reason Saves Cleveland

If there’s one thing that can revitalize Cleveland, it’s some new, libertarian ideas. Cleveland, like many rust belt and New England cities, is dying because it’s a cesspool of bad ideas and corruption. I’d encourage you to watch this series as it comes out next month.

People wonder how I, a native son of ultra liberal Shaker Heights, could leave being a major Republican and free marketeer (no, we don’t have mouseketeer ears, even though some good economists wear them.) One hilarious video suggested that “Cleveland’s main export is crippling depression”. If it means the shitty Democratic ideas that have ruined Cleveland, then they’re right.

For every Republican in Shaker Heights, there are probably at least 23 Democrats. When people leave Shaker, odds are, they bring their horrible liberal ideas with them. I have great friends who are Democrats from Shaker. Most of them have left because they’re reasonable and have gone on to do better things. I’ll disagree with them on most issues, but I acknowledge if they ran Shaker and Cleveland, it would be a better place. Then again, maybe that’s the whole thing, smart people see the problems and leave, moving on to greener pastures. Former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell alluded to that in a speech to my high school at St. Ignatius. Not that she exactly practices what she preaches, because she and I currently work in the same place, but I think her point is right. Which is why I’d like to return to Cleveland some day and make a difference and see the Browns win a Superbowl (not that it will probably happen.)

The only reason Shaker survives is because it’s a safehaven for wealthy people. If you told somebody in Shaker they had to live 5 miles away but not in Shaker, Beachwood, Cleveland Heights, or University Heights, or leave Ohio entirely, I doubt 1/10 of them would stay. No way they’d live in Euclid, East Cleveland, North Randall, Warrensville or Cleveland itself. Shaker has high taxes, spends a boatload on education with decent, but not great, results, and has a police force second-to-none, so that everyone feels safe in the utopia of a community named for a practically dead religion that made nice furniture and didn’t believe in sex.

I came to be the way I am because I left Shaker, and saw that it is an exception. This city hates capitalism so much we don’t even have a McDonald’s. I learned to embrace capitalism in St. Louis, which has its faults too. By no means do I hate Shaker. I have amazingly great friends from there, and loved growing up there, but if that’s all you know, you don’t know much about the real world. Again, Shaker is the exception, because it’s a city of relative wealth fending itself from the problems of surrounding cities, built on the same shitty ideas.

Some fun facts about Cleveland, from a recent article from MSNBC, describing my home town as “The most miserable city in America“:

  • In 1978 it became the first U.S. city to default on its debts since the Great Depression. (Dennis Kucinich was mayor at the time, yet, people have been routinely sending that space cadet to the U.S. House of Representatives ever since — you’d think  people would realize a mayor who bankrupted the city would help lead the way in bankrupting the country. But no, Clevelanders haven’t.)
  • Cleveland secured the position thanks to its high unemployment, high taxes, lousy weather, corruption by public officials and crummy sports teams (Cavaliers of the NBA excepted). (Why do you think that many sunbelt cities thrive even though we’re in a prolonged recession? Low taxes and less regulation. Cleveland — Shaker especially — has horribly high taxes, and a bunch of corrupt Democratic politicians to boot.)
  • Northern Ohio has seen 309 public officials convicted of crimes over the past 10 years according to the Justice Department. A current FBI investigation of public officials in Cuyahoga County (where Cleveland is located) has ensnared more than two dozen government employees and businessmen on charges including bribery, fraud and tax evasion.
  • On the housing front Cleveland is dealing with thousands of abandoned homes. The city contributed to its foreclosure problem by providing down payments to many people that could not afford homes through the federally funded Afford-A-Home program. Cleveland led by Mayor Frank Jackson sued 21 large investment banks in 2008 who he felt were complicit in the subprime and foreclosure crisis that hit Cleveland hard. A federal judge dismissed the suit last year, but the city is appealing the ruling. (That’s right, the government is more to blame for housing woes than lenders. Even worse is our incompetent mayor. First the city puts people in homes they can’t afford, paying their down payments with local and federal tax dollars, and then sues when they get foreclosed on?  Newsflash: People who can’t afford 3-5% of a mortgage down payment will have an extremely hard time staying current on a mortgage. Way to go Cleveland, but you’re not alone there. It’s almost as if Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were in charge of housing…… Oh wait.)

The list goes on. Cleveland has had two Republican mayors since World War Two. Ralph Perk and George Voinovich, a retiring U.S. Senator. Drew Carey, if you bring The Price is Right back to Cleveland, I’ll move back there within one year and help you bring this city back to greatness. Heck, I’ll probably move back there someday anyway.

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