My letter to the Wall Street Journal re: Give Economic Freedom a Chance in Detroit

Re: Change of Heart Over Detroit

Market PlaceI’m sure that you have heard, as have I, people saying that the US economy has to get much, much worse before any real reforms will be allowed to cure it.  Well, we have before us the opportunity to give reforms a chance in a fairly controlled setting–the city of Detroit.  The problems of Detroit seem unsolvable, but all Detroit really needs is economic freedom.  Reduce local government to its primary function of providing public safety and honest courts only.  Leave the rest to the free market.  End all labor and workplace regulations, including minimum wages, mandatory insurance, equal opportunity rules, etc.  In other words, allow people to work together cooperatively.  End all red tape that thwarts business startups, such as licensing and public health regulations, zoning restrictions, etc.  You may be surprised to learn that business owners are not interested in harming their workers and customers!  If they do, then the normal civil and commercial law will suffice.  Privatize garbage pickup, water and sewage services, and allow for unbridled competition in these and other areas, even fire protection.  Sell off city property and give public housing to its current occupants, making them responsible for their own abodes.  You will be surprised how responsible people can be with their own property.  End public education and all its costs.  Allow the people to get the kind of education that they desire, whatever that may be.  Do you want a safe society?  Then let people arm themselves without any licensing requirements.  An armed society is a safe and polite society.  Above all end welfare.  End the destructive cycle of dependency that is driving American cities to the financial and cultural wall.  Don’t expect overnight success and don’t expect huge capital inflows.  But expect lots of mom and pop startups, sidewalk vendors, unlicensed and untaxed services such simple property repair, home schools, etc.   Allow Detroit to become a safe, cooperative, and, most importantly, a low-cost city.

Patrick Barron

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