March 20, 2019

The New Shame Of The Cities
Posted By: BullsEye on August 15, 2014 07:51 AM in MYTHS Published on August 15, 2014

"American politics is dominated by an enduring myth—that Democrats are the party of the common man; the voiceless, the powerless, the poor. That if you care about what happens to the least among us, you will cast your vote in the Democratic column.

But the reality is this: the vast majority of voiceless, powerless and poor people are concentrated in Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, and America’s other large urban centers. All of them are run by Democrats and have been for 50 to 100 years. On the Democrats’ watch, these cities have become the equivalent of holding cells for the poor and minorities. Everything that’s wrong with America’s cities that can be affected by policy, Democrats are responsible for. There are poor to be helped, but Democrats have buried them deeper in poverty and powerlessness. There are minorities who seek opportunities, but Democrats have kept them second-class citizens. Democrats have been the problem rather than the solution.

In 1904, Lincoln Steffens, a major figure in the group of journalists Teddy Roosevelt called “muckrakers,” published a groundbreaking book called Shame of the Cities. In it he examined the inner workings of America’s great urban centers and found them swarming with graft and corruption. In his searing portraits of these cities, Steffens documented the inner workings of political machines across the country which were then imitating the apparatus built a few decades earlier by Tammany Hall’s notorious Boss Tweed, first of this new breed of crooked backroom Democratic princes of the city. Steffens showed how these machines ran over and flattened the lives of ordinary working people. But even more than corruption itself, Steffens was incensed by the complicity of intellectuals and opinion makers—people who knew that the political machines mangled democracy but had nonetheless allowed them to make America’s cities cesspools of poverty and despair.

If Lincoln Steffens was alive today, he would feel even greater outrage at the current disastrous state of America’s cities, as documented by John Perrazo in The New Shame of the Cities. Steffens would see in Perrazo’s portraits of the present-day machines of the Democrat Party, which have ruled America’s cities for a generation, today’s equivalent of Tammany Hall. He would see their governance not simply as an expression of failed policies, but as a massive human rights violation that has delivered the poor and minorities into a state of hopelessness and made them a permanent underclass. And, as he did in his own time, Steffens would feel contempt for today’s political class that has stood by and watched this urban tragedy unfold and bought into the Democrats’ myth that they are actually protectors of the poor.

It didn’t have to turn out this way. In part because of the issues Steffens himself raised at the turn of the twentieth century, good government movements took hold with the goal of making municipal government responsible and efficient and the cities themselves livable. By the 1930s, the metropolises of the United States had become centers of enterprise, commerce, and culture—“big shouldered,” in the phrase Carl Sandburg used to describe bustling Chicago, one of the most industrious—as they integrated a generation of new immigrants into the national fabric and welcomed the businesses and corporations that provided paychecks for workers and prosperity for the nation.

To be sure, the great American cities of the early 20th century were run for the most part by politicians whose allegiance was to the New Deal, many of them autocrats who held office for decades. But these politicians were judged on how well their policies produced real-life solutions for the poor and how well they advanced the poor into the middle class. Voters and residents were interested only in one thing: whether or not the cities these politicians managed “worked.”

That was then and this is now. As John Perazzo shows in The New Shame of the Cities, over the last fifty years America’s urban centers have slid into violence, corruption and savage dysfunction that make the snapshots of despair Lincoln Steffens produced at the beginning of the 20th century seem mild by comparison. The cities that were once the engines powering the American Century have stopped functioning. Going back to the future, they are once again America’s shame.

From Atlanta to Newark and Washington, D.C. to St. Louis, Perazzo shows how contemporary urban life has become stuck in reverse, bankrupt in finance and in spirit. “Detroit, ruled by Democrats for nearly a half century, has hemorrhaged population, becoming a ghost town,” he writes, “as it has gone from being the automotive capital of America, producer of its dream machines, to the murder capital—according to Forbes magazine, the most dangerous city in the country.” About Baltimore, also governed by the Democratic Party for more than 50 years, the verdict is equally grim: “As a result of widespread political corruption, a damaged economy, astronomically high taxes, and escalating crime rates, population fell by 120,000 just in the 1990s, making the city blacker and poorer. Tens of thousands of homes were simply abandoned by residents desperate to escape.” The verdict on Chicago is rendered by its new street nickname “Chiraq,” a reference to the killings that have become commonplace and know no holiday truce: there were 45 shootings in the city on Easter weekend 2014 alone, six of the victims children.

Perrazo’s portraits of these once great American metropolises show how Democratic Party policies have made them into little more than holding cells for blacks and Hispanics and other minorities immiserated by the policies of their Democratic Party rulers. This urban tragedy isn’t the result of some impersonal historical process; nor is it, as the Democrats who have presided over the catastrophe like to claim, caused by racism or neglect by the federal government. The reasons for the decline of America’s cities are indeed complicated, but there should be no argument that it has occurred as a result of policies designed and implemented by the Democrats, or that this decline began in the 1960s, when the pragmatic centrists who had defined the Democratic Party for a generation and had built livable cities were defeated by “new politics” liberals, soon to label themselves “progressives,” who proceeded to make these cities into mad laboratories for their leftist ideological experiments.

Today’s Democrat power brokers have monopolized power even more ruthlessly than the bosses Lincoln Steffens targeted in his exposé over a hundred years ago (while piously claiming that they do so for “the people” in a way that even those otherwise shameless politicians would have considered hypocritical). They believe that the measure of a city’s administration is no longer whether it creates solutions that “work” or whether most of its residents’ lives are improving most of the time. Instead, success is now determined by the size of the municipal bureaucracy and the power it has over every aspect of individual lives; by scapegoating and stigmatization of the “greedy” businesses that had traditionally created the jobs providing each new American generation with greater social and financial opportunities than the previous one had enjoyed; by mortgaging the educational system, which once offered poor people their best opportunity to step out of caste, to the teachers’ unions which in return keep the political status quo in place with their money and votes.

The fiscal irresponsibility that has driven our cities to bankruptcy has daily, real-life, real-time consequences for citizens as budgets are slashed and first responders are cut back. “When Detroit residents place a call seeking help from the city’s understaffed police department,” Perazzo writes, “they must wait an average of 58 minutes for an officer to arrive at the scene.”

Today’s big-city Democrats, while utter failures at bettering the lives of their constituents, are very good at the class warfare rhetoric and conspiracy theories that make these constituents feel that the Party that has beaten them down is actually their last best hope. This is why Democrats routinely receive over 90% of the votes in elections whose nearly unanimous results call to mind those that once took place in the Soviet bloc.

In the background of Perazzo’s profiles of corruption and malfeasance that is literally criminal—America’s big-city mayors and administrators over the last several decades have gone to jail in astounding numbers—are national policies that have trickled down despair to the cities and to the African American and Hispanic poor, whom Democrats still cynically claim to protect. Welfare programs promoted since the 1960s by successive Democrat administrations in our urban centers have created the perverse incentives that lead to three quarters of black children being born out of wedlock and growing up in families without fathers; an outcome that haunts the community later on, since fatherless young black males commit crimes, most of them against other blacks, at astronomic rates. Access to subprime housing loans and lax lending standards promoted in the name of “social justice” during the 1990s by Democrat city and federal governments and by radical allies such as ACORN, caused the collapse of the national housing market that hit these minorities twice as hard as it hit whites and led to a huge reduction in family wealth among blacks and Hispanics.

The New Shame of the Cities shows the same grim picture in city after city, where the poor have gotten poorer and the whites have moved away over the last generation, creating ghost neighborhoods where abandoned homes stand like pulled teeth. But what has been a catastrophe for the people unfortunate enough to still have to live in such places (a recent poll by the Detroit Free Press found that 40% of the city’s population, drastically reduced over the last 50 years, planned to move as soon as possible) has been a godsend for the Democrats in charge. Forbes magazine summarizes the moral of the story: “A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.”[1] It is also a story with a cynical twist: most of these failing cities are now administered by black Democrats, which means that anyone criticizing their failed policies can be attacked as “racist.” Incompetent at everything else, these politicians have become adept at projecting blame onto the abstract other—Washington, exploitive businesses and businessmen, “white flight,” racism.

The statistics that Perrazo has assembled in this work, drearily similar in city after city, have the cumulative power of a punch in the face: Black unemployment at 16.3 percent (19.1 percent for young black males). Poverty rates of 37.5 percent and 35.5 percent, respectively, for Hispanic and black single parents. Sixty percent of rapists, 72 percent of adolescent murderers, and 70 percent of long-term prisoners, are men who grew up in fatherless families encouraged by Democratic welfare programs. And public school, once the way out, now a dead end with 45 percent and 43 percent of black and Hispanic students dropping out at a time when those who fail to graduate from high school in America earn only about half as much as those who do.

This urban chamber of horrors has been built on the watch of Democratic Party city governments, often with black mayors, who have helped turn our once-proud big cities into the equivalent of black reservations. African American sociologist Walter E. Williams had it exactly right when he once surveyed this urban wreckage and said, “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do, what Jim Crow couldn’t do, what the harshest racism couldn’t do. And that is to destroy the black family.”[2]

The New Shame of the Cities gives the lie to the liberal idea—never anything more than a power grab disguised as compassion—that it takes a government to elevate an individual. By documenting the ruinous state of our once great cities, this work illumines a darker truth: that it takes a government to destroy the communities that give individual life dignity and purpose.   –Peter Collier



Hard as it is to believe today—when Detroit has the desolate, bombed-out look of a conquered nation—fifty years ago there were few more exciting and attractive places for Americans, black and white, to live. As the social critic Matthew Josephson observed in the 1920s, when the city was on the move: “Nowhere in the world may the trend of the new industrial cycle be perceived more clearly than in Detroit. In this sense, it is the most modern city in the world, the city of tomorrow.”[3] University of Michigan historian Jeffrey Mirel puts it this way: “Throughout the 1920s, Detroit was the shining star of the new era, the very center of the American economic universe, where capitalism and technology combined to produce the greatest goods for the greatest numbers.”[4]

Detroit is best known as the home of the “Big Three” auto makers—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler—who made the U.S. and the rest of the world mobile and powered what at the time seemed an urban research-and-demonstration project. During the decades of the early to mid twentieth century, the auto industry’s need for massive quantities of steel, glass, copper, and (later) plastic gave rise to numerous enterprises related to car manufacture that employed hundreds of thousands of additional blue-collar workers in and around the city.[5] The assembly line was perfected here, and brought with it the idea that industrial workers could expect to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle.

During World War II, Detroit was a key part of the arsenal of democracy, producing tanks, jeeps and a host of other weapons that helped win the war. In the postwar years the city boomed, building the tail-finned, futuristic cars that in turn symbolized the American Dream—of mobility, financial stability, and success. By the 1950s, Detroit had become the fifth largest city in the United States, home to nearly two million residents.[6] By 1960, it had the highest per capita income of any city in the country.[7]

As the Sixties progressed, Motown Records—founded in Detroit by one of its native sons, Berry Gordy Jr.— produced such megastars as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson Five, the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Commodores, and Gladys Knight & the Pips, who made the music America hummed. The city school system, meanwhile, turned out capable graduates.

The Sixties was also the moment when Detroit began to experience its reversal of fortune. The city was hit particularly hard by the social turbulence of this revolutionary era, most notably a rising militancy among local community organizers angered by what they perceived to be the slow pace of civil-rights reforms[8]—although Detroit had a large and prosperous black middle class, higher-than-normal wages for unskilled black workers because of the auto industry, and two black U.S. congressmen. Moreover, Detroit had acquired millions in federal funds through President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and invested them almost exclusively in the inner city, where poverty and social problems were concentrated. The Washington Post claimed that Detroit’s inner-city schools were undergoing “the country’s leading and most forceful reforms in education.”[9] Housing conditions were not viewed as worse than those of other Northern cities. In 1965, the American Institute of Architects gave Detroit an award for urban redevelopment.[10]

Nonetheless, Rev. Albert Cleague and other Detroit-area activists openly called for black separatism and self-determination on the premise that whites would never voluntarily choose to share political power with blacks.[11] At a July 1967 Black Power rally in Detroit, the radical H. Rap Brown gave voice to the city’s growing unrest when he warned “Motown” that if it did not make sufficient reforms, “we are going to burn you down.”[12]

This inflammatory racial discontent grew at a time when the Democratic Party, claiming to be sensitive to the problems of minorities, was completing a takeover of city government. In 1961, the reins of political power in the city fell permanently into Democrats’ hands. In the 53 years that have passed since then, Detroit has not had a single Republican mayor. Indeed, it has elected only one Republican to its City Council since 1970.[13] As it was becoming a failed city, it was also becoming a political monoculture.

The first mayor of Detroit’s Democratic Party era, Jerome Cavanagh (1962-70), was a white liberal who greatly expanded the role of government in the city and took pains to appoint blacks to prominent positions in his administration.[14]

Cavanagh also served on the “Model Cities” task force that President Johnson launched in 1966 as part of his Great Society and War on Poverty programs. Although it distantly echoed Soviet efforts to rebuild urban areas in Eastern Europe, this centralized approach to urban development was seen in the ’60s as the hallmark of a new era. Along with United Auto Workers president Walter Reuther, Cavanagh persuaded President Johnson to designate a nine-square-mile section of Detroit—an area where 134,000 people (one-ninth of the city’s population) resided—as a pilot location for the Model Cities initiative.[15] The overriding objective of Model Cities was to demonstrate the amazing ability of federal grants to rehabilitate slums and replace them with publicly financed “affordable housing”; alleviate poverty by injecting rivers of taxpayer money into social programs; provide ghetto dwellers with federally funded jobs at municipal and nonprofit agencies; and create a host of job-training, healthcare, educational, and recreational facilities for the poor.[16] In just a few short years, $490 million in federal funds were poured into Detroit to bankroll these programs.[17] On top of this, Cavanaugh was able to get Michigan’s state legislature to pass new taxes that would help pay for the Model Cities program and would be borne entirely by “the rich.”[18]

The government giveaways not only failed in their immediate goals of creating changes that would lead to upward social mobility, but actually fostered resentment at the paternalism at the heart of the Model Cities program—the idea that “disadvantaged” people’s decisions about where they could live, where they could build businesses, and how they should run those enterprises should be micromanaged by a bureaucratic elite.[19]

In the final analysis, for all the hugger mugger at its launching, Detroit’s Model City program and the half-a-billion taxpayer dollars that funded it purchased very little in terms of urban regeneration. Some contend that the program “worked,” in the sense that it temporarily—albeit at an unsustainable cost—decreased poverty and unemployment slightly in the targeted communities. But instead of encouraging entrepreneurship and self-reliance, it mainly promoted dependence on government and thus led to no lasting gains for its “beneficiaries.” By 1990, Detroit’s Model City area had lost 63% of its population and 45% of its housing units, statistics that rendered a sobering verdict on the program.[20]

Mayor Cavanaugh’s political and economic policies not only failed to resuscitate Detroit’s blighted neighborhoods, but also intensified the percolating rage of local black militants. Every guilty gesture of appeasement and recompense made by the Democratic city administration only increased radicals’ indignation about the condescending inadequacy of those gestures and stoked the fires of a “revolution of rising expectations.” And then, in July 1967, H. Rap Brown’s threat became a reality as Detroit was set on fire by radicals, becoming the scene of the decade’s most horrific urban race riot—43 deaths, 1,200 injuries, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed.[21] This calamity would continue to resonate in the years to come as a massive “white flight” that led some 140,000 people to evacuate the central city within a mere 18 months. Detroit would never be the same again.[22]

By now the Democratic Party—increasingly radicalized by the growing influence of the New Left—was making the city into a laboratory experiment for destructive urban policies. In 1974, Democrat Coleman Young, a secret member of the Communist Party, began a 20-year stint as Detroit’s first black mayor. Scholar Steven Malanga writes that Young, from an economic standpoint, “lacked a plan except to go to war with the city’s major institutions and demand that the federal government save it with subsidies”—a strategy that critics referred to as “tin-cup urbanism.”[23] Under Young’s disastrous stewardship, Detroit’s debt rating reached junk status.[24] By 1987, 34% of Detroit residents were on welfare rolls—more than 4 times as many as in 1967.[25] During that same two-decade period, nearly 200,000 jobs were lost in the city.[26] The late political scientist James Q. Wilson wrote that by the end of Young’s mayoralty, Detroit was “a fiscal and social wreck.”[27]

Young also further poisoned the waters of black-white relations in Detroit, routinely playing the race card to maintain his hold on city hall by engaging in an “us-against-them” style of politics that essentially branded anyone who opposed him as a “racist.”[28] This tactic increased racial polarization, drove multitudes of whites out of the city, and helped plunge Detroit ever deeper into social and economic chaos.[29] TIME editor Daniel Okrent has portrayed Young’s mayoralty as the “corrosive two-decade rule of a black politician who cared more about retribution than about resurrection.”[30] The Washington Post, similarly, describes Young as someone who promoted “racial divisiveness” and “did little to try and mend fences broken down along racial lines.”[31]

Nowhere was this more apparent than in Young’s policies vis à vis law-enforcement. Dividing his city’s police department along racial lines, the mayor created separate layoff lists for white and black officers. Young made it clear, moreover, that policing practices which resulted in disproportionately high numbers of arrests or citations of African Americans, whether or not they committed the preponderance of crimes, would not be tolerated. As one black officer bluntly told journalist Tamar Jacoby: “I wouldn’t write tickets for black kids.”[32]

In 1976, Young cut the Detroit police force by 20% as a means of addressing the city’s budget deficit, and Detroit became one of the most violent cities in the United States.[33] By 1987, the city’s homicide rate was 3 times higher than it had been two decades earlier.[34] But when local residents complained about runaway crime, the mayor sneered that their calls for “law and order” were nothing more than “code” for “Keep the ni**ers in their place.”[35]

Young further debased Detroit law-enforcement by putting his own corrupt people in charge. He appointed as police chief his close friend William Hart,[36] who in 1992 was convicted of embezzling $1.3 million from a police undercover anti-drug fund—money which he then lavished on female paramours while lying repeatedly to cover up his crimes.[37] Hart was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison.[38]

For good measure, Young also appointed his business associate and former investment advisor Kenneth Weiner—who had no prior police experience—as Detroit’s civilian deputy police chief.[39] While in that post, Weiner conspired with William Hart to illegally divert another $1.3 million to phony corporations that Weiner controlled.[40] For this, Weiner would be incarcerated for five years.[41] In yet another matter, Weiner was convicted of all 40 counts against him for his role in a pyramid scheme through which he and Coleman Young had duped investors out of millions of dollars.[42]

Corruption by Democratic Party politicians has remained a hallmark of Detroit politics ever since Young’s tenure. Some lowlights:

In 2006, former Detroit City Council member Alonzo Bates was convicted of having improperly put one of his relatives on the city payroll, a transgression for which he was sentenced to 33 months in prison.[43]

In 2009, Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers, wife of U.S. House Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges and went on to serve 27 months in a federal penitentiary.[44]

In 2008, Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick agreed to resign from his office and spend four months in jail for two obstruction-of-justice felony counts.[45]

In 2010, Kilpatrick was sentenced to additional jail time for violating the terms of his probation related to the 2008 conviction.[46]

In March 2013, Kilpatrick was found guilty of 24 offenses including fraud, racketeering and extortion.[47]

In 2012, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. retired when it became publicly known that he was sexually involved with a female officer in the department.[48]

In 2013, two Detroit city officials—pension-fund lawyer Ronald Zajac and Police & Fire pension trustee Paul Stewart—were indicted in a bribery scandal.[49]

Under the unbroken chain of Democrats who have led the city ever since 1961, Detroit has taken on some of the characteristics of an experiment in how to create a social underclass. Its population today is 82.7% black and 10.6% white,[50] a generation of racial hostility having destroyed what was once a racially balanced population. Under this new regime, traditional nuclear families, once the norm in Detroit’s black community, are now a rarity. The city’s out-of-wedlock birth rate exceeds 75%, and married-parent families with children younger than 18 constitute only 9.2% of all residents.[51]

Ruled by a series of black mayors, the Motor City’s economic catastrophe is now both widespread and profound. Indeed, the population of Detroit has a per capita income of just $14,861 (scarcely half the national average), a median household income of $26,955 (about half the national median), and a poverty rate of 38.1% (about 2.5 times the U.S. average).[52] Since 1970, the number of Detroiters with jobs has dropped by more than 53%.[53]

Detroit’s economic malaise has been brought about by decades of Democratic governance and practices that sociologist Thomas Sowell has termed the “Detroit Pattern,” a reference to “increasing taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions.”[54] In any analysis of Detroit’s tragic decline, these three factors bear close examination:

(1) Taxes:

Because of the middle-class population exodus caused by policies that inflamed race relations, Detroit’s tax base has been in free fall, leading city leaders from the 1960s onward to try repeatedly to regain lost revenue through tax increases.[55] Today, Detroit’s property-tax rates are the highest in America and generally twice as high as the overall average nationwide,[56] establishing a vicious cycle that continues to drive businesses away and cause taxpayers to relocate to the suburbs in still-larger numbers. By 2012, Detroit’s tax revenues—notwithstanding the high rates—were 40% lower, in constant 2012 dollars, than they had been in 1962.[57]

Another reason why Detroit’s stratospheric tax rates have resulted in meager government revenues is because of the city’s rapidly declining property values. Over the past half-century, the total assessed value of property in Detroit has fallen (in inflation-adjusted dollars) by 77%.[58] The median home price in Motown is now just $40,000, and many dwellings in the city’s most blighted areas sell for less than $1,000.[59]

The non-payment of property taxes has also become a widespread phenomenon in Detroit. In 2012, for example, some 47% of all homeowners in the city elected not to pay their taxes — mainly because the city’s cash-strapped government had failed to provide most of the basic services normally funded by such revenues.[60]

(2) Harassing Businesses:

In recent decades, the Democrats in control of Detroit have cultivated an oppressive climate for small businesses by instituting a complex constellation of protectionist regulations.[61] In 2013, economist Dean Stansel conducted an “economic freedom” study that ranked the regulatory and tax climates of 384 U.S. metro areas, and found that Detroit placed 345th.[62] The Institute For Justice (IFJ) observes that the massive amounts of “time and money” that business owners must expend in order to comply with “all the regulatory requirements” of Detroit’s “stupefying bureaucracy” cause many aspiring entrepreneurs to “simply give up their business dreams.”[63]

Adds IFJ:

“Multiple inspections and inspection fees, incomprehensible building requirements, expensive, mandatory public hearings, arbitrary discretion by officials, and lengthy processing delays combine to discourage entrepreneurs from undertaking business ventures or improving existing ones. From sign taxes to restrictions on planting trees, the bureaucratic shuffle has gotten so out of hand that one business owner explained, ‘We operate on the basis that we just do what we want to do and the permits will catch up with us sometime.’”[64]

According to one survey, 56% of small-business owners in Detroit are unsure whether they are operating in full compliance with the law.[65]

(3) Pandering to Unions:

Detroit’s network of nearly incomprehensible business regulations is largely the creation of its vast public bureaucracy, which is dominated by approximately four-dozen labor unions. Over time, the long succession of Democratic political administrations that have run Detroit have lavished such high salaries and lucrative pensions and health-benefit packages on members of these unions (whom they regard as their core political constituency), that it is now virtually impossible for the city to balance its budget and meet its financial obligations.[66] One of the consequences of this unholy alliance between Democratic politicians and union bosses is that current employee contributions can’t keep pace with the needs of current pension recipients.

Today, Detroit’s government sends monthly checks (with an average value of $1,600 apiece) to some 21,000 public-sector retirees and their families. This is more than twice the number of workers (9,700) who are currently employed by the city.[67] The pension obligations that Detroit owes to its retirees account for about half of the city’s $18-to-$20 billion in long-term unfunded debt.[68]

By early 2013, Detroit’s finances had become so chaotic that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed attorney Kevyn Orr to serve as the city’s emergency financial manager in a last-resort effort to avoid the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. According to the New York Times, Orr was authorized “to cut city spending, change contracts with labor unions, merge or eliminate city departments, urge the sale of city assets and even, if all else fail[s], recommend bankruptcy proceedings.”[69] Orr attributed Detroit’s “dysfunctional and wasteful” operations to “years of budgetary restrictions, mismanagement, crippling operational practices and, in some cases, indifference or corruption.”[70] In May 2013, he issued a report stating that the city was “clearly insolvent on a cash flow basis,”[71] that its budget deficit was approaching $386 million,[72] and that fully one-third of its budget was being spent on retiree benefits for former public-sector employees.[73] It was clear that without judicious and substantial cuts to retiree benefits, there would be no stopping this runaway fiscal train. But in July 2013, Detroit’s two largest municipal pension funds filed suit in state court specifically to prevent Orr from instituting such cuts. Thus the city went ahead and filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.[74]

Another major financial drain on taxpayers has been the money that the city spends on its Detroit Public School (DPS) system—more than $15,500 per pupil, or nearly 50% more than the national average.[75] Notwithstanding these enormous outlays, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan characterized DPS as a “national disgrace” in 2009.[76]

That same year, DPS was put under the control of an emergency financial manager—the Washington, DC Board of Education’s former president, Robert Bobb—in an attempt to prevent bankruptcy. Bobb found that many of DPS’s financial problems stemmed from willful corruption.[77] For instance:

In June 2009, Bobb enlisted the services of a team of forensic accounting analysts who discovered that 257 “ghost” employees were illegally receiving paychecks from DPS.

Two months later, seven additional public officials were charged with felonies for operating an embezzlement scheme that siphoned tens of thousands of dollars out of the school system.[78]

It was also discovered that some 500 people who had been illegally enrolled as healthcare-plan dependents were costing the school district millions of dollars per year.

In 2012, a DPS contract accountant and her daughter, who was a schoolteacher, were indicted by the FBI on charges of fraud, conspiracy, and tax offenses.[79]

The appointment of DPS’s emergency manager did nothing to improve student performance. In the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a U.S. Department of Education standardized test, fourth- and eighth-graders in the city’s public schools currently read at a level that is 73% below the national average, and lower than that of students in any other urban school district in the country.[80] Similarly, the reading skills of Detroit’s eighth-graders are 60% below the national average, and their math scores in 2009 were the lowest ever recorded in the then-40-year history of the exam.[81]

The results of exams that the Michigan Educational Assessment Program administered in 2012-13 to measure students’ abilities in a variety of different subject areas provide further evidence of DPS’s failed track record:

The percentage of students whose scores indicated proficiency in math were: 15.7% of third-graders; 18.8% of fourth-graders; 17% of fifth-graders; 13.6% of sixth-graders; 13.2% of seventh-graders; and fewer than 11.1% of eighth-graders.

The percentage of students whose scores indicated proficiency in reading were: 42.7% of third-graders; 40.7% of fourth-graders; 44.5% of fifth-graders; 45.3% of sixth-graders; 33% of seventh-graders; and 45.8% of eighth-graders.

Only fifth- and eighth-graders were tested in science, and fewer than 10% of each group registered scores that indicated proficiency.

Only sixth- and ninth-graders were tested in social studies, and fewer than 10% of each group registered scores that indicated proficiency.

Only fourth- and seventh-graders were tested in writing, and just 19.5% of the former and 28% of the latter registered scores that indicated proficiency.[82]

In 1927, New Republic described the Detroit school system as “one of the finest in the world.”[83] Today, it is one of the worst in the country. It is little wonder that a recent survey of Detroit-area parents found that 79% of respondents did not want their children educated by the city’s public schools.[84]

Apart from its catastrophic fiscal and educational problems, Detroit has long ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the United States.[85] Each year from 2009 through 2013, for instance, Forbes magazine rated Detroit as America’s Most Dangerous City.[86] FBI data confirm that Detroit’s metro division has the highest violent-crime rate in the nation.[87] Indeed, the city’s homicide rate is now at its highest level in 40 years, and is more than 10 times greater than the national average.[88] In addition, the robbery rate in Detroit is about 6.1 times the national average; the assault rate is 5.5 times the national average; and property crimes like burglary and auto theft occur at rates that are 3 and 7 times higher, respectively, than the national average.[89]

The crime rates that plague Detroit are exacerbated by the fact that the city’s financial woes have necessitated budget (and manpower) cuts to the local police force. Thus, when Detroit residents place a phone call seeking help from the city’s understaffed police department, they must wait an average of 58 minutes for an officer to arrive on the scene (vs. a national average of 11 minutes).[90]

Given this brief profile of steep urban decline, it is hardly surprising that a 2013 Forbes magazine analysis named Detroit as America’s “most miserable” city.[91] Signs of this misery are everywhere visible in the city’s blighted landscape. For example, Detroit has been the site of 11,000 to 12,000 fires every year for the past decade; it currently has just 370 functioning street lights per square mile, compared to 812 for Cleveland and 785 for St. Louis; more than half of its parks have been closed down since 2008; and it has approximately 99,000 vacant housing units (out of a total of 363,000).[92]

As far as Detroit has fallen, the city’s future appears even bleaker than its present. The Democratic Party and the cadre of corrupt politicians it has empowered over the past fifty years have driven millions from this once-thriving metropolis and have left the remaining, largely black population to suffer in its ruins with little chance of escape. Yet they haven’t stopped thinking about it; a 2012 Detroit News poll found that 40% of the city’s residents hoped to leave Detroit within five years.[93]

Baltimore, MD:

In the 1950s and early ’60s, Baltimore was booming. Known for its thriving industries—particularly manufacturing and shipping—these large enterprises created some three-fourths of all the jobs held by people in its metropolitan region.[94] The city at that time had nearly a million residents, 23% of whom were black. The median family income was 7% higher than the national average; the percentage of Baltimore families earning middle-class wages was about one-fifth higher than in the U.S. as a whole; and the proportion of Baltimoreans living in poverty was roughly one-fifth lower than the corresponding national figure.[95]

In 1967, however, this prosperity began to vanish when the city government was taken over by a string of Democratic mayors, persisting into the present day, who have made Baltimore into the grim and dangerous urban environment portrayed so chillingly in the television series The Wire. As in the case of other big cities around the country, while the Democratic Party machine was taking control of the ballot box, the people were voting with their feet by leaving the city. Today Baltimore’s population has declined to 622,000, 64% of it black.[96]

William Donald Schaefer, Baltimore’s mayor from 1971-87, set the stage for economic decline in his city by championing an ever-expanding public sector as well as extensive government regulation of private business.[97] Further, he relied heavily on federal grants and city bonds to finance a host of development projects throughout Baltimore. As the City Journal reports: “[W]hen those monies proved insufficient, [Schaefer] … created his own city bank to seed development: the Loan and Guarantee Fund. The fund financed itself by selling city property and then leasing it back to itself, and by selling bonds that would stick future taxpayers with much of the bill.”[98]

Along with fiscal improvidence, Schaefer’s administration was replete with the corruption and cronyism that has become the hallmark of the Democrats’ big-city political machines over the last generation. For instance:

The mayor’s finance director, Charles Benton, once steered $5.6 million in public money to a repair project on an apartment building owned by a Schaefer political supporter.[99]

On another occasion, Benton directed more than $4 million in taxpayer funds to the refurbishing of a hotel owned by a longtime friend of the mayor. The hotel went bankrupt shortly after Schaefer’s mayoral tenure ended.[100]

In the 1970s, Schaefer’s deputy public works director was incarcerated for rigging bids on city contracts.[101]

In the ’80s, the federal government shut down Baltimore’s Urban Development Action Grants program due to its many abuses.[102]

In 1987, Schaefer was succeeded by Baltimore’s first elected black mayor, Kurt Schmoke, who, during his 12 years in office, continued his white predecessor’s policy of extracting as much taxpayer money as possible from Annapolis and Washington. By 2001, such state and federal subsidies accounted for 40% of Baltimore’s operating budget.[103]

Schmoke was a close friend of President Bill Clinton and had connections to a number of Clinton administration officials—most notably the disgraced Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo, both heads of the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)—ensuring that Baltimore’s city programs would continue to receive high levels of federal support.[104] One such initiative—bankrolled by a ten-year, $100 million federal grant—was the establishment of an Empowerment Zone whose goal was to transform “distressed” areas of the city into “neighborhoods of choice” by implementing a host of job-training, workforce-development, home-construction, and drug-treatment pro-grams.[105] All told, Baltimore’s Empowerment Zone (EZ) covered nearly 10% of the city’s total area.[106]

The results of this endeavor, though, were largely disappointing. As the Baltimore Sun reported in 2002, “the areas that make up the city’s federally funded empowerment zone remain deeply troubled.” Some specifics:

The poverty rate within the EZ had dropped slightly (from 41.9% to 35.6%), but was still about 50% higher than the corresponding rate citywide.

Median household income had risen in slightly more than half of the EZ area, but had declined in the rest and was below the citywide median in 92% of the EZ area.

Homeownership rates in the EZ had increased modestly, from 30% to 35%—but not nearly as much as officials had predicted; moreover, homeownership in the EZ was still 15 percentage points lower than the citywide rate.

Unemployment in the EZ had increased from 14.9% to 16.5%, and was about 50% higher than Baltimore’s overall rate.

And perhaps most tellingly, the EZ region had lost population at more than double the rate of the city as a whole.[107]

Like Schaefer’s, the Schmoke administration was scarred by corruption. In the mid-1990s, for instance, federal officials were alerted to the fact that the mayor’s Housing Authority had squandered—via no-bid contracts, massive cost overruns, and blatant cronyism—some $25.6 million in Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funds that had been earmarked for housing repairs. Ultimately, the scandal resulted in federal convictions against 13 contractors.[108]

For awhile it appeared that even Schmoke himself might find his political career in jeopardy when, in 1998, HUD’s inspector general announced a probe of the mayor’s handling of federal housing aid. However, both Schmoke and his housing chief, Dan Henson, were able to disarm investigators by playing the race card. At their instigation, West Baltimore black Congressman Elijah Cummings demanded that the White House launch a special investigation into the inspector general’s investigation. In the end, Schmoke escaped unscathed when HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo quashed the probe.[109]

America as a whole may have flourished in the 1990s, but Baltimore’s economy foundered under Democrats’ stewardship. Contributing to this state of affairs was the fact that in the preceding decades, Baltimore’s property taxes, the highest in all of Maryland, had been repeatedly raised. Businesses, in turn, voted with their feet and many of the city’s leading private-sector firms, in search of a more business-friendly climate, relocated to the suburbs during the Nineties. Thus, between 1990 and 1999, Baltimore lost some 58,000 jobs. These included approximately 13,000 in the manufacturing sector; another 12,300 in the finance, insurance, and real-estate industries; and 23,400 in retail and wholesale businesses. During the worst of times on Mayor Schmoke’s watch, Baltimore’s overall work force shrank by an average of 722 people per month. The city’s unemployment rate during the ’90s was twice that of the rest of Maryland.[110]

While Baltimore’s industry and finance were in steep decline, crime was on the rise—thanks, in large measure, to Schmoke’s decision to focus the city’s policing strategy on decriminalizing drugs rather than on tackling violent crime. As a result, by the end of the 1990s, the murder rate in Baltimore was six times higher than in New York[111] (where a variety of proactive policing practices instituted by mayor Rudy Guiliani had dramatically reduced serious crime.)[112] Throughout the Nineties, Baltimore was the scene of more than 300 murders every year, prompting locals to nickname their city—which had become the second-deadliest in the nation—“Bodymore, Murderland.” Approx-imately 75% of Baltimore’s killings were drug-related—symptoms of an ongoing, brutal drug-turf war that was allowed to engulf many black neighborhoods. Police, meanwhile, were frustrated by the fact that those drug dealers they arrested were routinely released a short time later, as a result of Schmoke’s “philosophy,” free to resume their criminal activities on the streets. One police sergeant lamented that under Schmoke’s leadership, Baltimore had become a city “in love with its own victimhood.”[113]

The casual attitude on the part of Baltimore’s leadership toward drug crimes may have pleased the city’s liberal elites, but it devastated the minority community, whose champion it otherwise pretended to be. As of 2000, only 23 detectives in the entire city were actively investigating narcotics cases—even while epidemics of heroin and cocaine abuse, particularly among black males, reached levels unmatched in virtually any other American city. Further, just four officers in all of Baltimore were tasked with tracking down the suspects who had been named in some 54,000 open arrest warrants—250 of them for murder or attempted murder.[114]

Baltimore’s widespread political corruption, failing economy, high taxes, and escalating crime rates, caused its population to fall by more than 120,000 during the 1990s, making the city blacker and poorer.[115] Tens of thousands of homes were simply abandoned by residents desperate to leave town.

In 1999, Democratic city councilman Martin O’Malley won Baltimore’s mayoral race by campaigning on a law-and-order platform, but in part because of the legacy he inherited, he was ultimately unable to fulfill his crime-reduction pledges. In 2005, when his tenure was nearing its end, criminal-justice statistics for Baltimore indicated that 17.6 violent crimes were committed for every 1,000 residents—a figure almost 80% higher than America’s big-city average. Baltimore’s murder rate, meanwhile, was nearly three times higher than the big-city average—just as it had been when O’Malley first took office in 2000. Robberies and aggravated assaults (including nonfatal shootings) had dropped slightly since 2000, but were still more than twice as prevalent as in other large American cities.[116]

Meanwhile, Baltimore’s anemic economy lagged even further under O’Malley’s stewardship. Between 2001 and 2004, the city lost nearly 5% of all its remaining jobs, including a quarter of its manufacturing jobs, 15% of its banking and finance jobs, and 5% of its retail jobs.[117] From 2000 to 2007, private-sector employment in Baltimore shrank by 10.4%—a loss of approximately 33,600 jobs. During that same seven-year period, employment in the areas immediately outside of Baltimore grew by 13.9%—after having grown by 25.1% during the 1990s.[118]

In 2007, O’Malley was succeeded as mayor by fellow Democrat Sheila Dixon, who was forced to resign three years later when convicted of embezzlement and perjury.[119] Replacing Dixon was another black Democrat, city council president Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Today, Baltimore’s residents have a median household income of $38,721 (about 45% below Maryland’s state average) and a poverty rate of 25.1% (about 1.7 times the national average).[120] Among America’s 100 most populous cities, Baltimore ranks 87th in median household income.[121]

The violent crime rate in Baltimore is currently 3.7 times higher than the national average. This figure includes astronomical rates of murder (6.6 times the national average), rape (twice the national average), robbery (4.8 times the national average), and assault (3.2 times the national average).[122]

Once Baltimore’s public schools were racially balanced; today 84% of the students are black and another 6% are Hispanic.[123] Baltimore’s Democratic leaders claim to be looking out for the welfare of the city’s minorities, yet find its minority students easy to ignore.

Funding is not a problem. The Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) spend, on average, $15,483 for each K-12 student in their jurisdiction—almost 50% more than the national average.[124] But achievement is paltry. Baltimore’s students perform near the bottom on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a standardized test that measures the academic abilities of children in elementary and junior high school. In 2013, for example, NAEP results indicated that only 14% of Baltimore’s fourth-graders, and 16% of its eighth-graders, were able to read proficiently. In math, the corresponding proficiency figures for fourth- and eighth-graders were 19% and 13%.[125]

Notwithstanding this abysmal track record, the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU), which is a reliable bulwark for Democratic Party causes and candidates in the city, has successfully opposed any calls for a voucher program that would enable low-income parents to take their children out of the city’s failing public schools and send them instead—for a fraction of the cost—to a private or parochial school.[126] And of course Baltimore Democrats, knowing that a substantial portion of BTU union dues are funneled directly into their party’s coffers, likewise abjure voucher proposals—just as Democrats have done in city after city across the United States. Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, once explained candidly: “[P]oliticians—especially Democratic politicians—generally do what the unions want. And the unions, in turn, are very clear about what that is. They want, first, happy members, so that those who run the unions get reelected; and, second, more members, so their power, money, and influence grow.”[127]

This educational train wreck is largely funded by Baltimore’s stratospheric property taxes, twice as high as those of any other jurisdiction in Maryland or the District of Columbia.[128] The city’s residents have become accustomed not only to high taxation, but to the use of taxes as a weapon in a war of divide-and-conquer. As economists Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University and Stephen Walters of Loyola University write: “In modern Baltimore, the [political] machine has exploited class divisions, not ethnic ones. Officials raised property taxes 21 times between 1950 and 1985 … causing many homeowners and entrepreneurs—disproportionately Republicans—to flee.”[129]

But just as high taxes have failed to buy a decent education for Baltimore’s schoolchildren, so have they failed to cover the costs of runaway government spending under a long succession of fiscally irresponsible Democrats in high office. By December 2012, the unfunded pension liabilities that Baltimore owed to its retired police and firefighters had reached an unprecedented $765 million.[130]

As a result of Baltimore’s multiple social, economic, and educational problems, some 47,000 abandoned houses and 16,000 vacant buildings now stand like pulled teeth in Baltimore’s once vibrant but now depleted and depressed neighborhoods.[131]

Washington, DC:

Founded in 1790 and named after the first President, Washington, DC was established by the U.S. Constitution to serve as the seat of America’s federal government.[132] Between 1800 and 1820, DC’s population grew from about 5,000 to more than 13,200, making it the country’s ninth largest city.[133] By 1840, that figure had mushroomed to 23,364, and two decades later it stood at 61,122.[134]

As a Southern city, DC, from its earliest days, always had a substantial African American population that included a growing number of free blacks who worked as craftsmen, hack drivers, businessmen and laborers. Slavery was abolished in the capital on April 16, 1862—about eight months before President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.[135]

Beginning in 1871, DC was governed by a three-member Board of Commissioners, two of whom were appointed by the U.S. President after approval by the Senate, and a third who was selected from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The city would retain this political arrangement for nearly a century, until 1967 when Congress passed a law eliminating the three-commissioner form of government and replacing it with a single commissioner and a nine-member city council, all appointed by the President.

During the latter decades of the 19th century, DC continued to grow at a brisk pace; by 1900 its population had reached 278,718.[136] Many new roads were built in the city at that time, so as to extend, like an ever-expanding network, to its remotest reaches. And in 1900, Congress formed the Senate Park Improvement Commission which drew up an architectural plan for the redevelopment of the National Mall—with an eye toward emulating the grandeur of European capitals such as Paris, London, and Rome.

After World War II, Washington was a destination for large numbers of Southern blacks emigrating to Northern cities in pursuit of job opportunities. By 1957, DC had become the first major American city with a majority-black population.[137] Six years later, Washington took center stage in the American Civil Rights Movement when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Following King’s assassination in Memphis in April 1968, DC was devastated by four days of race riots that resulted in 10 deaths, at least 1,200 fires, more than 7,600 arrests, and over $13 million in property damage. The violence had a profound effect on the people of DC, causing many whites, middle-class blacks, and business owners to flee the city and resettle elsewhere.[138]

In 1973, Congress passed the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, which for the first time placed the city under the governance of a directly elected mayor and a Council. The first elected mayor under this new arrangement was Walter Washington. And every DC mayor since then has been, like Mr. Washington, a Democrat.

Mayor Washington opposed the increasing tendency of his party to pit blacks and whites against one another for their own political advantage—“playing the race card,” it would later be called. The Washington Post once quoted him as saying, “This city is already too much divided along race and income lines. We have got to take the lead and set the example in bringing this city together. We’ve got to become just one Washington.” He was also an effective administrator; by the time he left office in 1978, DC’s city government was running a $40 million yearly surplus.[139] But Mayor Washington’s successor, Marion Barry, was a master at racial division, and also incompetent and crooked. During his administration, the nation’s capital became a center of scandal and something of a national joke.

In the 1970s, Barry, who had worked for the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as a young man, served as president of the DC Board of Education and as a member of the DC Council.[140] He won his first mayoral race in 1978 and was subsequently reelected by wide margins in 1982 and 1986. “During his tenure in the 1980s,” reports the City Journal, “unchecked corruption, ineptly delivered city services, soaring crime, horrendous public schools, financial chaos, and racial tensions made the city a byword for dysfunction nationally.”[141] By the early 1990s, DC was the site of several hundred homicides per year and was dubbed the “murder capital” of the nation (a dubious honor that would rotate among almost all of the country’s big cities in the years to come.)[142] The city’s economy, meanwhile, was in shambles—notwithstanding the $400 million in federal aid it received each year.[143]

Throughout his years as mayor, Barry worked hard to expand the rolls of Washington’s public employees. Indeed, even as the District’s population fell by nearly 30,000 during Barry’s three terms (1979-1991), the number of public-sector bureaucrats in the city increased by some 10,000.[144] By 1992, an astonishing 52,000 people—one in twelve city residents—were on DC’s municipal payroll. Los Angeles—a city whose population was five times larger than DC’s—had 14,000 fewer taxpayer-funded workers.[145]

Despite the massive number of public employees in DC, vital city services were hopelessly inefficient and chaotic. As a 1990 Los Angeles Times piece stated: “The city is under court order to correct prison and mental health facilities. Nearly half of all public housing sits idle for lack of repairs. Bureaucrats are so incompetent, arrogant and slothful, critics say, that even 9-1-1 calls go unanswered and ambulances may not arrive until tomorrow.”[146] On seven separate occasions between 1987 and 1990, judges cited DC for the systematic mistreatment of juvenile delinquents, prison inmates, and mentally handicapped residents in its custody in specialized facilities.[147] In 1989, the Washington Monthly characterized Barry’s administration as “the worst city government in America.”[148] The mayor, unfazed by such assessments, routinely chalked them up to racism on the part of his critics.[149]

Barry’s mayoralty was infamous not only for its gross incompetence but also for the magnitude of its corruption. One of his appointments that drew attention was that of Ivanhoe Donaldson, his longtime friend and ally from SNCC, whom he appointed deputy mayor for economic development. In 1985, Donaldson pled guilty to stealing $190,000 from the city, and eventually wound up in prison for his crime. For good measure, Donaldson also obstructed justice by attempting to persuade four individuals to submit false affidavits to DC inspectors.[150]

After Barry’s 1986 reelection, two more DC deputy mayors and ten additional city officials were charged with corruption.[151] One of these, deputy mayor for finance Alphonse G. Hill, was indicted on eleven counts of extortion, income tax evasion, and defrauding the District government—charges to which he eventually pled guilty.[152]

Standing behind the corruption was Barry himself and his personal problems. Throughout the ’80s, rumors circulated about his frequent cocaine use. Though the evidence to that effect was highly credible, Barry for years managed to elude the grip of law-enforcement authorities—thanks, in large part, to friends and supporters who helped him stonewall investigations. One such ally, Karen K. Johnson, was paid $25,000 to keep silent regarding the cocaine allegations and was cited for contempt of court when she refused to testify before a federal grand jury that was probing the matter. The truth was finally revealed, however, in a January 18, 1990 sting operation, when Barry—lured to a Washington hotel room by a former girlfriend-turned-FBI-informant—was secretly filmed smoking a crack pipe.[153]

At his subsequent indictment, Barry once again raised the specter of race, lamenting that he was the victim of a “political lynching.”[154] The charge of racism was picked up by civil rights professionals such as NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks, who denounced Barry’s prosecution as “Nazilike,” charging that “overzealous, hostile—if not openly racist—district and U.S. attorneys will bring a black official to trial on the flimsiest of evidence.”[155]

When Barry was tried for 14 counts of cocaine possession and lying to a grand jury, a jury of ten blacks and two whites convicted him of only a single cocaine-possession charge, for which he was sentenced to six months in prison.[156] Black columnist Carl Rowan put the Barry case in perspective: “These jurors were saying: The mayor may be a cocaine junkie, a crack addict, a sexual scoundrel, but he is our junkie, our addict, our scoundrel, and we aren’t going to let you white folks put him in jail.”[157]

Just two months after his release from prison in 1992, Barry—disgraced but not chastened—filed papers to run for DC’s Ward 8 Council seat in that year’s upcoming election. Campaigning under the slogan, “He May Not Be Perfect, But He’s Perfect for DC,” Barry won the race easily.[158] Two years after that, he decided to set his political sights higher and was elected to a fourth term (1995-99) as mayor.

After taking some time away from politics, Barry won election to the DC Council in 2004 with 95% of the vote and continues in that office.[159]

A mainstay of the Democratic Party, Marion Barry has been a larger-than-life figure in Washington DC politics in terms of his corruption, criminality and race-baiting. But those who followed him in city leadership have come close to matching his sordid record. Indeed, half of DC’s top government officials, at one time or another, were under investigation by either federal authorities or the city’s board of elections in the period 2008-2012.[160]

The following snapshots from recent DC politics give a sense of the corruption presided over by the Democratic Party, corruption that has become standard operating procedure:

In October 2005, the Washington Post reported that DC Councilman Jack Evans had used money from a political action committee to cover personal expenses, including sporting-event tickets and a friend’s trip to China.[161]

In November 2007, Harriette Walters, manager of the DC Real Property Tax Administration Adjustments Unit, was one of 11 people arrested for her role in the largest fraud scheme in the history of DC’s city government. As The New York Times reports, “Walters used her job as a tax manager for the district treasury to issue $48 million in bogus property tax refunds for herself and her co-conspirators, who included family, friends and a bank manager.” The refunds—which amounted, on average, to  $388,000 per month—were used to purchase such items as clothing, jewelry, other luxury goods, and even homes. Walters was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for her crimes.[162]

In January 2011, DC’s newly elected mayor, Vince Gray, was accused of improperly hiring relatives of his supporters and staffers for city jobs.[163]

In February 2011, while DC was facing a projected annual budget deficit of $400 million, it was learned that city taxpayers were making lease payments on two luxury automobiles—each in the amount of approximately $1,900 per month—for Council chairman Kwame Brown. Brown had initially requested a fully loaded, extended-wheelbase Lincoln Navigator with a black interior. When he instead received a Navigator with a gray interior, he defiantly ordered the second vehicle—and had the city pay an additional $1,500 for its expedited shipping.[164]

In June 2011, a video surfaced of Ted Loza, former chief of staff to DC Councilman Jim Graham, accepting a $1,500 bribe from an FBI informant in return for pushing legislation that was beneficial to some in the taxi-cab industry through the DC Council. Loza was eventually sentenced to eight months in prison.[165]

In July 2011, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics referred, to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, allegations that DC Council chairman Kwame Brown’s 2008 reelection campaign had failed to report more than $170,000 in contributions while inaccurately reporting almost $350,000 in spending. In 2012, Brown pled guilty to bank fraud and resigned from his post.[166]

In January 2012, Ward 5 councilman Harry Thomas Jr. pled guilty to the felony of embezzling some $353,000 in public funds that had been intended mostly for a youth baseball program. Thomas used the money instead to purchase for himself such items as designer shoes, a $58,000 luxury automobile, a $23,000 motorcycle, and lavish vacations. He was sentenced to 38 months in prison.[167]

In June 2013, DC Council member Michael Brown pled guilty to accepting $55,000 in cash bribes from undercover agents posing as businessmen seeking city contracts.[168]

In March 2014, businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson pled guilty to conspiring to break federal and local campaign-finance laws. At issue was more than $668,000 in illegal donations he had given to the Vince Gray mayoral campaign, with Gray’s full knowledge. Moreover, Thompson had secretly spent $812,146 in support of seven other candidates for mayor and DC Council.[169]

In addition to becoming America’s urban capital of political corruption, the District of Columbia has also become a synonym for criminality and violence. Though the city’s crime rates today are below the stratospheric levels which they reached during Marion Barry’s heyday, DC remains an unsafe place by any measure. Today it is America’s 5th most dangerous city among those with populations of more than 500,000, and the 21st most dangerous city overall.[170] Indeed, 95% of all urban areas in the U.S. are statistically safer than Washington,[171] whose rates of homicide and robbery are, respectively, 3 and 5 times higher than the national average.[172] In 2012 alone, there were 7,448 violent crimes and 29,264 property crimes reported in DC.[173]

Yet another major problem area for the nation’s capital is its public school system. As bad as many of them are, no other system in America has a more glaring record of failure. When the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests were administered, most recently, to fourth- and eigth-grade students in 2013:

Just 25% of DC fourth-graders performed well enough to be classified as “proficient” in grade-level reading.[174]

Only 30% of DC fourth-graders performed well enough to be classified as “proficient” in grade-level math.[175]

A paltry 17% of DC eighth-graders performed well enough to be categorized as “proficient” in grade-level reading.[176]

And a mere 16% of DC eighth-graders performed well enough to be deemed “proficient” in grade-level math.[177]

When Adrian Fenty became mayor in 2007, the teacher-to-pupil ratio in Washington’s public school classrooms was approximately 12-to-1, while taxpayers provided nearly $29,000 per year to educate each child therein. This massive sum was equivalent to the cost of tuition at the most elite private schools in the country, where children received the best education that money could buy.[178] A contrarian Democrat, Fenty tried to do something about this outrage. He hired Michelle Rhee, an education reformer, as the new school chancellor. He closed dangerous and underused schools and laid off incompetent teachers. He waged a successful two-year battle to get a new union contract, which ended lifetime tenure and connected financial reward to teacher performance. Michelle Rhee fired 241 incompetent teachers and put another 737 on notice for being rated “minimally effective.”[179]

The results were dramatic. At Sousa Middle School—located in one of the district’s most impoverished neighborhoods—84% of the students had math and reading scores below the minimal standards when Fenty and Rhee took charge. In just one year of the Fenty-Rhee reform administration, students at Sousa gained 17 points in reading proficiency and 25 in math, meeting the federal benchmarks for progress for the first time in the history of the school.[180]

But the teachers’ unions struck back in 2012, supporting another Democrat, Vincent Gray, who would turn back the clock on Fenty’s reforms. The party backed Gray, and the head of the AFL-CIO himself came to town to campaign against Fenty and seal his defeat. In the process, he also sealed the fate of the many students, most of them black, who were stuck in the city’s atrocious public schools.


Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling …

This is how Carl Sandberg saw Chicago in his famous poem about the city published in 1914.[181] He was right to use the language of enterprise and simple hard work, since the Windy City, standing at the crossroads of the United States, was so intimately associated with the nation-building epic. Chicago was the site of stockyards for the livestock that fed the country . It was the home of such technological and commercial innovations as the first refrigerated railroad car (1878), the first mail-order retailing corporations (Sears-Roebuck in 1893 and Montgomery Ward in 1872), and the first car radio manufacture (1920s).[182] Also during the Twenties, new construction boomed throughout the city, punctuated by the completion in 1930 of such landmarks as the Chicago Board of Trade Building and the famed Merchandise Mart (whose 4 million square feet of office space made it the world’s largest building at the time). The fact that it was also the home turf of gangsters like Al Capone and the G-men like Elliot Ness who hunted him down only added to the legendary status it acquired in the nation’s imagination.

“Chicagoland,” as the city is now sometimes called, is meant to conjure a zesty sense of urban uniqueness, but the term has instead become a synonym for corrupt power politics and urban malaise in what has become the murder capital of the United States. Chicago has been led exclusively by Democratic mayors since 1931. Under the administrations of Richard J. Daley (1955-76), Michael Bilandic (1976-79), Jane Byrne (1979-83), and Harold Washington (1983-87), the city’s economic and social fabric deteriorated markedly. Chicago lost its power and romance.[183] According to urban analyst Aaron Renn, by 1976 Chicago was “a grim, decaying city” that “was failing on nearly every measure.” Renn elaborates: “The city was losing people, losing businesses, and losing jobs…. Manufacturing was collapsing and the middle class was fleeing, leading to neighborhood decline and eroding the city’s tax base, which in turn degraded the city services residents had come to expect and demand. The decline in services and neighborhoods drove more people away, which led to further declines, perpetuating a vicious cycle.”[184]

In a similar vein, Chicago Tribune correspondent Richard Longworth, author of a powerful front-page series in 1981 titled “A City on the Brink,” concluded: “Chicago has become an economic invalid. The situation may be permanent.” University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Pierre de Vise, for his part, saw “very little hope for locating economic activities here again.” And a local business executive asked, “Is the city being anni-hilated? It’s probably inevitable.”[185] The economic malaise that plagued Chicago during this period was accompanied by a steep decline in the city’s population, which fell from 3.62 million in 1950 to 2.78 million by 1990.[186]

Harold Washington, an African American who served as Chicago’s mayor from 1983-87, was an icon of the progressive left that now dominates the city’s politics. Washington’s election represented a break from the postwar Democratic Party machine whose symbolic figure was the first Mayor Richard Daley (Daley’s son by the same name also became mayor of Chicago). Daley was one of the last of the big-city “bosses” who angered the left—especially with his zero-tolerance policy toward demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Party convention—but his critics admitted that he presided over “a city that worked.” Harold Washington was in effect the anti-Daley—an influence on the rising young local activist Barack Obama and on Obama’s pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright, who mobilized black and Hispanic voters in support of Washington’s electoral campaigns.

Close to the Chicago contingent of the Democratic Socialists of America, Washington calculated that he could most effectively advance his leftist agendas by calling himself a “liberal” and working within the Democratic Party. Unlike the first Mayor Daley, who used his immense power to make the machinery of city government run smoothly, Washington prioritized ideology. Stanley Kurtz, author and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who has closely followed Chicago politics, explains that Washington rose to political prominence by assembling “a ‘rainbow’ coalition of blacks, Hispanics, and left-leaning whites” whose ultimate aim was to “pus[h] the Democrats to the left by polarizing the country along class lines.”[187]

During his 1983 campaign, Washington vowed to reduce regressive local taxes and rely more heavily on money from the State of Illinois. Once elected, however, he raised taxes on Chicagoans by hundreds of millions of dollars.[188] As one of his constituents later said, “All he did was tax, tax, tax.”[189] Through a 1985 executive order, Washington enacted one of his major priorities as mayor: the implementation of an aggressive affirmative action program setting aside at least 25% of all city contracts for minority-owned business enterprises and another 5% for women-owned businesses.[190]

Under Washington, whose mayoralty ended suddenly in November 1987 when he died of a heart attack just a few months into his second term, Chicago’s civic life deteriorated rapidly. One clear example involved the Chicago Housing Authority—a massive municipal agency that had been created to own and operate public housing built by the federal government—which was brought to the brink of insolvency by Washington’s appointees.[191] The U.S. Secretary of Education in 1987 described the city’s school system—where students were mostly poor and nonwhite—as the very worst in America.[192] Also during Mayor Washington’s tenure, crime rates in the city exploded: Between 1982 and 1987, the annual incidence of robbery rose by 44%, while the corresponding increases for other crimes included 37% for burglary, more than 20% for both larceny-theft and auto theft, over 40% for arson, and at least 300% for aggravated assault.[193] Because this violent environment was toxic to local retail and service establishments, many business owners simply pulled up their roots and relocated to more welcoming places. All told, Chicago suffered a net loss of 45,000+ jobs during the ’80s—a period of great economic prosperity and employment growth for most of the country—and many of the Windy City’s job losses occurred on Mayor Washington’s watch.[194] Likewise, Chicago’s overall population declined, on average, by more than 20,000 residents per year.[195]

Under Mayor Richard M. Daley (1989-2011), son and namesake of Mayor Richard J. Daley, Chicago rebounded a bit in the 1990s when it enjoyed a lower unemployment rate and stronger per-capita income growth than either New York or Los Angeles. It also added some 560,000 new jobs and gained more than 100,000 residents. During that same period, Chicago spent billions of dollars on a host of development projects including the construction of an elevated train line to Midway Airport, a wide-ranging street-beautification initiative, and the creation of impressive cultural facilities such as the $450 million Millennium Park.[196]

But in the first decade of the 21st century, these successes faded. Fiscal mismanagement by the Daley administration began to manifest itself in Chicago’s economy, causing 7.1% of the city’s jobs to dry up and disappear. Chicago’s famous Loop, the second-largest central business district in the nation, was especially hard hit—losing 18.6% of its private-sector jobs. The city government, meanwhile, began incurring massive levels of debt, running an annual budget deficit of approximately $650 million.[197]

Contributing heavily to these shortfalls were ever-escalating expenditures on lavish benefits and pensions for Chicago’s public-sector union employees, whose political support had been decisive in the succession of Democrat mayoral administrations. The employee pensions were, by mandate of the Illinois state constitution, permanently immune to cutbacks.[198] According to the Washington Post, Chicago today owes nearly $14 billion in outstanding General Obligation bond debt,[199] and the city’s pension funds owe $27 billion in unfunded obligations to police, firefighters, teachers, and municipal employees who have been courted—and rewarded—by administrations since the time of the first Mayor Daley. This shortfall amounts to more than $9,900 per city resident.[200]?In Chicago’s fire department alone, unfunded liabilities exceed 650% of payroll, meaning that they total more than 6.5 times what the city spends each year to pay all of its active firefighters. Similarly, the Chicago police department’s unfunded liabilities amount to just above 600% of payroll.[201]

In 2008, Mayor Richard M. Daley sought to address his city’s budget deficit, in part, by means of his now-infamous parking-meter lease, whereby—in exchange for $1.1 billion up front—the city sold its right to 75 years worth of parking revenues to the private company Chicago Parking Meters LLC. Just two years into the deal, the city had already spent 84% of that $1.1 billion and was looking at the loss of countless billions in revenue over the next seven decades.[202]

Also in typical Democrat fashion, Chicago politicos have repeatedly sought to balance their budgets by raising local property and sales taxes. Today Chicago has the nation’s highest sales tax rate, whose impact on the city is amplified by Illinois’ already-high state taxes.[203] According to a March 2013 Wall Street Journal report, the state and local taxes currently paid by Chicagoans are higher than those paid by their counterparts in all but four other American cities.[204] This oppressive tax climate has dealt a painful blow to Chicago’s residents and business owners alike.

In July 2013, Moody’s Investors Service—citing Chicago’s “very large and growing pension liabilities and accelerating budget pressures associated with those liabilities”—downgraded the city’s General Obligation (GO) and sales-tax ratings from AA3 to A3.[205] Four months later, another major ratings agency—Fitch Ratings, Inc.—likewise downgraded Chicago’s debt worthiness after the Illinois legislature failed to pass a budget fix.[206]

Another factor harming small businesses in Chicago is the system of “aldermanic privilege” that dominates the city’s politics and serves as a fertile breeding ground for corruption. As urban-affairs analyst Aaron Renn explains, Chicago’s aldermen—i.e., city council members—have “nearly dictatorial control over what happens in their wards, from zoning changes to sidewalk café permits.” As Renn notes, “This dumps political risk onto the shoulders of every would-be entrepreneur, who knows that he must stay on the alderman’s good side to be in business. It’s also a recipe for sleaze: 31 aldermen have been convicted of corruption since 1970.”[207] According to a University of Illinois report issued in 2012, Chicago is the most politically corrupt city in the United States, having averaged 51 public corruption convictions annually since 1976.[208]

Chicago’s entrepreneurs are further handicapped by the byzantine regulations and red tape that make it prohibitively expensive and complicated to run a business within the city’s confines. According to Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Roper, such “unnecessary and burdensome regulation” has placed Chicago “at a competitive disadvantage with other cities.”[209] The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for its part, has described the litigation environment of Cook County—where Chicago is located—as the most unfair and unreasonable of any jurisdiction in the United States.[210]

Yet another reality that has had a severely negative impact on life in Chicago is violent crime. Since the mid-1970s, the annual homicide tally within the Windy City has ranged between 435 and 970, with the trends and fluctuations more-or-less mirroring those observable nationwide.[211] In 2012 and 2013, Chicago led all U.S. cities in homicides, with a combined total of 931 during that two-year period—far more than any other American city. In 2012, approximately one in every 1,000 Chicagoans was shot (either fatally or non-fatally) at some point during that year—a rate 6 times higher than in New York City.[212]

Whites, who constitute roughly 28% of Chicago’s population, commit about 4% of all homicides in the city. African Americans, who are 35% of the population, are responsible for three-fourths of the homicides. The statistics for Chicago’s black youth, many of whom have become involved in a culture of gang violence, are paricularly grim. Between 2003 and 2008, black youngsters accounted for 78% of all juvenile arrests in the city.[213]

Driving the trend of stratospheric crime rates in Chicago’s black community is a high incidence of single motherhood. Between 75% and 80% of the city’s black children are born out-of-wedlock.[214] For decades, empirical research has demonstrated conclusively that growing up without a father is a far better forecaster of a boy’s future criminality than either race or poverty. Indeed, regardless of race, 70% of all young people in state reform institutions were raised in fatherless homes, as were 60% of rapists, 72% of adolescent murderers, and 70% of long-term prison inmates.[215]

In recent years, Chicago has been the scene of dozens of violent, black-on-white “flash mob” attacks, as documented by author Colin Flaherty. One of the most recent, high-profile incidents occurred at the end of March 2013, when some 500 blacks stormed the so-called Magnificent Mile, an upscale shopping area, randomly assaulting innocent people and destroying property.[216]

The response of Chicago’s leadership to this type of criminality has been far less assertive than that of New York, for instance, where Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Chief William Bratton in the 1990s instituted a proactive, aggressive, and highly successful anti-crime strategy that incorporated “stop-and-frisk” policies and so-called “broken windows” law-enforcement philosophy. Their approach—which was subsequently continued, to similar effect, by Giuliani’s Republican successor Michael Bloomberg—reversed a long trend of escalating criminality that had plagued New York City in the pre-Giuliani years.[217]

By contrast, Chicago’s politicians, community activists, and religious leaders alike have largely turned their backs on such policing philosophies. As a former Chicago deputy superintendent of police once observed: “Mayor Daley [who served from 1989-2011] is not a cop supporter.”[218] Chicago’s failure to establish control over either its economy or its crime problem is mirrored by the persistent inability of its lavishly funded public-school system to educate the city’s children. There is little to show for the more than $13,000 spent annually on the education-related expenses of each K-12 student in the city.[219] In the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), stand-ardized exams designed to measure students’ academic abilities:

Just 21% of Chicago fourth-graders performed well enough to be classified as “proficient” or better in grade-level reading—vs. 34% of fourth-graders nationally.[220]

Only 27% of Chicago fourth-graders performed well enough to be classified as “proficient” or better in grade-level math—vs. 42% of fourth-graders nationally.[221]

A mere 20% of Chicago eighth-graders performed well enough to be categorized as “proficient” or better in grade-level reading, vs. 35% of eighth-graders nationally.[222]

Just 20% of Chicago eighth-graders performed well enough to be deemed “proficient” or better in grade-level math, vs. 34% of eighth-graders nationally.[223]

Moreover, only 63% of Chicago’s public high-school students graduate on time (within four years)—well below the national average of 78%.[224]

In June 2013, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, a Democrat, attributed the failures of the Chicago Public Schools not to any shortcomings in the city’s educational apparatus, but rather to the “fact that rich white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African-Americans and Latinos, no matter what the parents’ income or education level.” She elaborated on this charge that racism caused educational failure: “If you look at the majority of the tax base for property taxes in Chicago, they’re mostly white, who don’t have a real interest in paying for the education of poor black and brown children.”[225]

Following a pattern that is seen repeatedly in Democrat-controlled cities across the United States, Chicago’s toxic brew of high taxes, out-of-control crime rates, failing schools, mounting public debt, and anti-business economic climate has driven away massive numbers of residents and entrepreneurs. After the city’s population peaked at 3.62 million in 1950,[226] it underwent a half-century of decline that leveled off only temporarily in the 1990s. In the first decade of the 21st century, some 200,000 people (including 175,000 African Americans) moved out of Chicago during—an exodus exceeded in magnitude only in Detroit.[227] According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau Report, Chicago’s population was 2,695,598 and falling.[228]

Milwaukee, WI:

For years it was the world’s foremost beer-producing city, home to four of the largest breweries in the world (Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst, and Miller). Almost every major American brewery, in fact, had at least one factory in Milwaukee. These employed thousands of local residents in jobs that formed the foundation of the city’s solid middle class.[229] Other major corporations in the city during the first half of the twentieth century included the A. F. Gallun & Sons leather tanning company; the machinery manufacturer Allis-Chalmers; the heavy-mining equipment producer Bucyrus Erie Company; the Falk Corporation, producer of industrial power transmission products; the electrical component maker Cutler-Hammer; and the A.O. Smith Corporation, a major manufacturer of automotive frames.[230]

Most of them are gone now and Milwaukee is a different place.

Every Milwaukee mayor of the past 106 years has been a Democrat—with the exception of three who were Socialists. The first of the Socialists—in fact the first Socialist mayor of any major American city—was Emil Seidel, who held office from 1910-12. Next came Daniel Webster Hoan in 1916, whose 24-year tenure in office

was the longest continuous Socialist administration in American history. The city’s third Socialist mayor was Frank Paul Zeidler, who served three terms from 1948-60 and whose administration oversaw the large-scale construction of public housing as a means of promoting racial and economic justice.[231]

Zeidler spoke out forcefully in favor of what he termed “public enterprise,” the notion that government could improve the condition of the poor via the efficient dispensation of taxpayer-funded public services.[232] But demographic trends capsized this theory. During Zeidler’s time in office, Milwaukee’s black population nearly quintupled, from 13,000 in 1945 to more than 62,000 in 1960, as Southern blacks began their northward migration away from segregation and toward jobs. They were packed into a few areas as a result of “de facto” segregation.[233]

Local black radicals, allied ideologically with the black militancy that was sweeping many American cities in the Sixties, were dissatisfied with what they viewed as the inadequate pace of racial reforms. And in the summer of 1967, the race riots that rocked Detroit and Newark sparked a similar—though less devastating—outburst in Milwaukee which resulted in 3 deaths, about 100 injuries, and 1,740 arrests.[234]

In response to the rioting, Democrat Henry Maier, who served as mayor of Milwaukee from 1960-88, swiftly unveiled a “39-Point Program” designed to address the inner-city problems of poverty and racism that liberal Democrats widely cited as the causes of the riots. This program was based on pouring massive amounts of local, state, and federal money into initiatives like housing construction, youth programs, and “community renewal” to pacify an angry populace.[235] But in the eyes of local black leftists, it was too little, too late. As Mrs. Vel Phillips, a black member of Milwaukee’s Common Council, said in April 1968, the mayor’s 39-point program had failed to demonstrate any “visible effect on the root causes” of ghetto unrest: “I don’t believe in violence, and I hope we don’t have any more. But we’d all better realize that many young Negroes have reached the point where they’re ready and willing to die because they figure they have nothing to lose.”[236]

As of 1970, seven of Milwaukee’s top ten companies were engaged in manufacturing and employed nearly 47,000 people.[237] But as the cost of manufacturing in the U.S. skyrocketed in subsequent decades and the city became fiscally inhospitable many of these businesses moved their operations. Between 1970 and 2011, Milwaukee lost no fewer than 40% of its manufacturing jobs—a severe economic blow to the entire city. From 1970 to 2007, the percentage of families in the Milwaukee metro area that were middle-class declined from 37% to 24%, while the percentage of households that were poor spiked from 23% to 31%.[238]

Today, per capita income in Milwaukee is $19,199 (32% below the national average); median household income is $35,823 (33% below the national average); and the poverty rate is 28.3% (nearly double the national average).[239]

While joblessness and poverty plague many Milwaukeeans, crime may be an even larger affliction in their lives. Milwaukee today has a violent crime rate that is 2.6 times greater than the national average, including a robbery rate of 4.4 times the national average and a murder rate that is triple the national average.[240] In 2012, 80% of all homicide victims in the city were black, as were three-fourths of the known suspects in these crimes.[241]

Though the city’s public school system annually spends some $14,200 (about one-third more than the national average) in taxpayer funds on the education of each K-12 student in its jurisdiction,[242] the overall high-school graduation rate in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is a paltry 62.8%—far below Wisconsin’s 87% statewide average.[243] On standardized National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests administered in 2013 to measure students’ academic abilities:

Only 18% of Milwaukee’s fourth-graders scored as proficient or better in math.[244]

Just 11% of Milwaukee’s eighth-graders scored as proficient or better in math.[245]

A mere 16% of Milwaukee’s fourth-graders scored as proficient or better in reading.[246]

Only 13% of Milwaukee’s eighth-graders scored as proficient or better in reading.[247]

But unlike their counterparts in other cities, some Milwaukee students, thanks to a handful of civic leaders and activists as well as vital funding from the Bradley Foundation, have access to a school voucher program. In response to a long effort by this group of advocates, in 1990 the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a bill creating the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), the first publicly funded voucher initiative in the United States.[248] Though lawmakers initially restricted it to just 1,000 low-income public school students within the city, MPCP has since grown, largely as a result of private fundraising, to become the largest voucher program in America, serving more than 20,000 students.[249] A 2011 study published by School Choice Wisconsin indicated that students in the MPCP had a graduation rate 18% higher than their counterparts in the Milwaukee Public Schools.[250] Showing also that the massive per-pupil outlays championed by teachers’ unions are unnecessary to increase achievement, the MPCP spends $6,442 per scholarship to educate its students—less than half of what the non-voucher public schools spend.[251]

The Democrat-controlled teachers’ unions have fought the MPCP tooth-and-nail.[252] So has a group called the Educators’ Network for Social Justice (ENSJ), a leftist alliance of classroom teachers and post-secondary instructors who have allied themselves with the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County and a number of local Democrat politicians. Committed to “promoting pro-justice curricula and policies so that all students in the Milwaukee area are better served,” ENSJ also opposes the use of standardized tests to measure student achievement and aptitude.[253]

The poverty, crime, unemployment, and dysfunctional school system that have become the hallmarks of life in Milwaukee have led the city’s population to decline markedly in recent decades, from 741,000 in 1960 to just 599,000 today.[254] An estimated 5,000 houses—mostly in impoverished neighborhoods—stand vacant and abandoned, a mute testament to peoples’ desire to get out of town.[255]

Newark, NJ:

The city of Newark, New Jersey has been led exclusively by Democrat mayors for the past 81 years. The entrenched power of the Democratic Party is reflected in the near-unanimous support its candidates receive from Newark voters in political elections on every level. For example, in the 2009 gubernatorial race, Newark voters cast 90.2% of their ballots for Democrat Jon Corzine, vs. just 8.3% for Republican Chris Christie, the ultimate winner.[256] And in the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama captured 90.8% of the Newark vote, vs. 7.0% for Republican John McCain.[257]

At one time, Newark was bustling and prosperous. As of 1922, it had 63 live theaters and 46 movie theaters, and its so-called “Four Corners”—where Market and Broad Streets intersected—was widely considered the busiest intersection in the country. In 1927, a prominent businessman observed: “Great is Newark’s vitality. It is the red blood in its veins—this basic strength that is going to carry it over whatever hurdles it may encounter, enable it to recover from whatever losses it may suffer and battle its way to still higher achievement industrially and financially, making it eventually perhaps the greatest industrial center in the world.”[258] The realities of Newark today make these words sound like they were written in a foreign language.

Between 1950 and 1967, Newark’s black population rose from 70,000 to 220,000, largely as a result of the arrival of African Americans leaving the segregated south for northern job opportunities. Newark educator Nathan Wright Jr. noted that “no typical American city has as yet experienced such a precipitous change from a white to a black majority.”[259]

In response to the influx, the city’s Democratic leadership launched major urban-renewal initiatives during the 1960s, persuading the federal government to cover 100% of the costs associated with constructing new public housing projects. Eventually, Newark had a higher percentage of its residents living in public housing than any other city in the United States.[260]

Black militants in the city, however, derided this and other costly programs that displaced some black residential neighborhoods as “Negro removal.” The militants were angered by plans to build superhighways that would bisect the city’s black community. They likewise condemned a proposal in early 1967 for the “clearance” of 150 acres of predominantly black “slum” land on which a medical school/hospital complex would be built.[261]In 1967, the rage of Newark’s black militants exploded in the form of devastating race riots. The incident precipitating the violence was the police beating of a black cabbie on the night of July 12, 1967. The rioting persisted for six days and resulted in 23 deaths, 725 injuries, nearly 1,500 arrests, $10 million in property damage, and the destruction of approximately 1,000 stores and business establishments.[262] As was the case in other cities that experienced similar violence during this era, Newark never really recovered from these riots.

In addition to the race problem, Newark was also struggling with political corruption. The city’s politics have been plagued by Mob influence for generations. According to the City Journal, for instance, the bootlegger Abner “Longy” Zwillman, who smuggled through Newark nearly 40% of all the liquor sold on the East Coast during Prohibition, “bought off enough local officials to take control of the city’s politics from the late 1920s until his death in 1959.”[263] In 1962, Angelo “Ray” DeCarlo, a capo in New York’s Genovese crime family, helped fix the Newark mayoral election for Democrat Hugh Addonizio. “Federal investigations into Addonizio’s sleazy administration later revealed that almost every aspect of Newark’s government operated like a racket,” writes Manhattan Institute scholar Steven Malanga. “Officials fattened the cost of contracts by 10 percent for kickbacks, and city government even used the same bought-and-paid-for auditors as the mob did. Every Newark citizen and firm paid a corruption tax.” Partly because of this, Newark at that time had the most expensive government of any midsize American city—spending almost twice as much per capita as the average urban area.[264] By 1967, Newark’s property tax rate was $7.75 per $100 of assessed value, the highest in America. As the Newark Star-Ledger notes: “If taxed at that rate today, an average home in New Jersey—valued at $350,000—would owe more than $27,000 a year in property taxes.”[265]

Lawlessness in high places, in conjunction with escalating costs and a volatile racial atmosphere, made Newark an increasingly undesirable place to live. “Fearful and without faith in Newark’s blatantly crooked government,” writes Steven Malanga, “the middle class fled. The city’s population shrank to just 270,000 mostly low-income residents—a 40 percent decline.”[266] Throughout the 1950s and ’60s, manufacturers and entrepreneurs in Newark pulled up their roots and sought out other locations that were less expensive, more business-friendly, and less socially combustible. Between 1950 and 1960, the city’s white population fell by nearly a third, from 363,000 to 265,000.[267]

Addonizio’s successor was Kenneth Gibson, the city’s first black mayor. Amiri Baraka—the black nationalist, anti-Semitic poet/playwright, and self-avowed Marxist-Leninist—played a key role in galvanizing black voters to support Gibson at the polls. “We will nationalize the city’s institutions, as if it were liberated territory in Zimbabwe or Angola,” Baraka declared at the time.[268]

Upon his election, Gibson boldly proclaimed: “Wherever American cities are going, Newark will get there first.”[269]   Gibson was right: Newark would lead the rush toward insolvency, corruption and racial conflict that marked America’s future urban reality. Contradicting the expectations of Baraka and other radical intellectuals who had supported him, the new mayor inaugurated policies that had a strong negative impact on blacks and the poor in Newark. The city continued to hemorrhage industrial jobs, as employment rates declined and the welfare rolls swelled. As more and more factories were abandoned, the number of taxable properties in the city decreased, cutting sharply into the city’s income and bringing it to the threshold of bankruptcy several times. Neighborhood programs and services—including trash collection—were cut repeatedly throughout the ’70s. Indeed, massive, stinking piles of uncollected garbage became a dismaying symbol of life in Newark during the decade.[270]

Gibson’s administration was also afflicted by significant corruption. In 1982, investigators jailed numerous city officials for various infractions. Gibson himself faced state charges of having conspired to create a no-show job specifically for a former Newark official but was acquitted in 1982.[271] By 1986, Gibson’s last year in office, the city’s unemployment rate was nearly 50% higher than it had been at the start of his mayoralty. A Manhattan Institute report states that by the end of Gibson’s tenure in office, “failed government policies and middle-class flight had weakened much of Newark, except for a few corporate-supported blocks downtown and a few enclaves….”[272]

Every Newark mayor since Gibson has also been African American. His successor in 1986 was Democrat Sharpe James, who went on to hold office for two decades. Conditions in James’s own neighborhood, the South Ward, were particularly grim—replete with decrepit, crime-infested public housing projects and hundreds of vacant lots.[273]

The James administration became infamous for its corruption. In 1996, for instance, Newark’s police commissioner pled guilty to stealing money that had been intended to finance local undercover narcotics investigations.[274] The following year, the mayor’s chief of staff, Jackie Mattison, was convicted of taking bribes to help steer city contracts to a particular insurance broker.[275] And during his final term in office, James himself sold a number of the city’s publicly owned vacant lots to his friends and supporters—for pennies on the dollar. One of the buyers was James’s mistress, Tamika Riley, who between 2001 and 2005 spent a grand total of $46,000 to purchase nine tracts of land from the city, which in each instance she promptly resold for a large profit. All told, Ms. Riley collected $665,000 from these sales.[276] For his involvement in this scam, James was convicted in 2008 on five counts of fraud and conspiracy charges; he subsequently spent 27 months in prison and was fined $100,000. Prosecutors dropped additional charges that James had billed the city for a host of personal expenses including meals, pornography, and body lotions, when they concluded that convictions for these items would not add any time to his prison sentence.[277]

Mayor James’s ethical failure became standard operating procedure in Newark politics. Since 1962, every mayor of Newark except Cory Booker (2006- 2013) has been indicted for crimes committed while in office.[278]

Newark’s woes are exacerbated by the fact that it is currently the second most highly taxed city in the United States. One study in 2013 estimated that the average three-person family with $50,000 in annual income owed $8,327 per year in local school and property taxes alone.[279]

Newark’s unemployment rate is approximately two-thirds higher than that of New Jersey as a whole, and more than twice the national average.[280] Per capita income in Newark is just $17,161 per year (38% below the national average and less than half the New Jersey average), and median household income is $34,387 (about 36% below the national average).[281] The poverty rate citywide is 31%, and the child-advocacy organization New Jersey Kids Count estimates that about a quarter of Newark children under age 5 live in “extreme poverty.”[282]

The city’s disastrously ineffective public education system spends an astronomical $23,000 on each K-12 pupil in its jurisdiction.[283] But in tests that were administered to elementary through junior-high-school students in 2013, just 19% of Newark’s third-graders registered scores indicating that they were “proficient” in English; the corresponding figure in math was 21%. The numbers were similar for students in grades 4 through 8.[284]

According to the New Jersey Department of Education, the dropout rate for Newark’s high-school students is nearly 40%.[285] Among those who do manage to graduate, only about 3-in-10 are able to pass a state proficiency exam indicating that they are qualified for college-level work. Dan Gaby, executive director of the education-reform group E3, puts these numbers in perspective by estimating that Newark taxpayers spend approximately $1.3 million on the education-related expenses of each qualified student who earns a diploma from one of the city’s public high schools.[286]

Compounding the academic decline in Newark is the fact that the city’s school district has been mismanaged into a state of financial chaos. At the start of the 2013-14 school year, the district faced a projected budget shortfall of $57 million.[287]

Perhaps the biggest drain on Newark’s quality of life, however, is the city’s high rate of violent crime—including a murder rate that is roughly 7.2 times the national average and a robbery rate of 6.2 times the national average.[288] Newark’s criminal element has long understood that it can break the law with virtual impunity. As of 2007, the county prosecutor’s office responsible for Newark had the worst conviction rate of any county in New Jersey—in part because, as the City Journal notes, it has been “a haven for political appointees who aren’t necessarily qualified investigators or prosecutors.”[289]

In September 2011, the combination of high taxes and intolerable crime rates led a large group of angry residents, predominantly black, of Newark’s East Ward, to stage a protest demonstration at city hall.[290] Many others, meanwhile, have protested with their feet. Newark’s population, which stood at 429,760 in 1940, is just 77,000 today.[291]

St. Louis:

During World War II, St. Louis, Missouri was a bustling place replete with factories that produced such necessities as ammunition, uniforms and footwear, K-rations, chemicals and medicines, and even aircraft. Soon after the war, in 1949, an era of Democratic rule began that continues in the city to this day. Indeed, it has been 65 years since a Republican was elected mayor of St. Louis. This entrenched Democratic dominance is reflected in the fact that in each of the past three U.S. presidential elections, voters in St. Louis cast between 80 and 84 percent of their ballots for the Democrat candidate.[292]

Between 1940 and 1970, St. Louis was one of the major destinations for the millions of blacks who migrated away from the rural South to take advantage of newly available job opportunities in Northern cities. During this 30-year period, St. Louis’s black population nearly tripled, from approximately 108,000 to more than 317,000.[293] By 1970, it was a majority-black city—a fact that, in light of theoverwhelming degree to which African Americans identify as Democrats, would have immense political implications for the city and its future.

The start of St. Louis’s Democratic era, which began with the mayoralty of Joseph Darst, coincided with President Harry Truman’s signing of the American Housing Act of 1949. This legislation greatly expanded the role of federal funds in the construction of public housing, and kick-started the “urban redevelopment” (also known as “urban renewal”) programs that would reshape a host of American cities. Darst, like so many Democrats, was a strong proponent of such federal intervention in local affairs.[294] By the end of his four-year term as mayor, approximately 700 public housing units had been completed citywide, with an additional 17,000 under construction and 4,000 in the planning stages.

Darst’s successor was Raymond Tucker, a longtime professor of mechanical engineering at Washington University, who went on to serve three terms as St. Louis mayor from 1953-65. The early part of his tenure coincided with the passage of the Housing Act of 1954, which, under the authority of the Federal Housing Administration, was initially drafted to create 140,000 public housing units in cities across the U.S., including St. Louis. Like Darst before him, Tucker was a staunch believer in the transformative powers of urban renewal—a strategy that, in the words of University of Illinois political science professor Dennis Judd, “was now the big game in town.”[295]

Amid this wave of optimism, St. Louis issued bonds in 1953 to finance the completion of the St. Louis Gateway Mall and a number of high-rise housing projects. The most famous of these was the federally funded Pruitt-Igoe housing project which consisted of 33 eleven-story buildings with nearly 3,000 units in total. But showering the local population with federal cash—a longstanding Democrat tradition—was not the recipe for lasting success its proponents hoped. Indeed, just a few years after Pruitt-Igoe first opened its doors in 1956, it fell into disrepair and became a hotbed of crime and vandalism. As Alexander von Hoffman of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies writes: “Large numbers of vacancies indicated that even poor people preferred to live anywhere but Pruitt-Igoe. In 1972, after spending more than $5 million in vain to cure the problems at Pruitt-Igoe, the St. Louis Housing Authority, in a highly publicized event, demolished three of the high-rise buildings. A year later, in concert with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, it declared Pruitt-Igoe unsalvageable and razed the remaining buildings.”[296]

The Pruitt-Igoe experience was typical of urban renewal endeavors across the United States. By the time the urban renewal era ended in 1973, it was widely regarded as a colossal failure.[297]

During 1950-70, a period which coincided with the era of urban renewal, close to 60% of St. Louis’s white residents relocated to other towns and cities.[298] According to University of Iowa history professor Colin Gordon, who authored the 2008 book Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City, St. Louis during this period became “the poster child of white flight.”[299]

But this was not simply a case of racial phobia. Gordon also notes that whites were not alone in their eagerness to escape St. Louis’s crime-infested streets. “White flight in St. Louis was followed closely by black flight,” he explains, “leaving large tracts of the North Side virtually vacant and much of the ‘urban crisis’ now located in North County’s inner suburbs.”[300] Between 1970 and 1980, as St. Louis’s overall population fell from about 622,000 to just 453,000, the city’s black population likewise declined from 317,000 to about 206,000.[301]

In 1993, St. Louis elected its first black mayor, Democrat Freeman Bosley Jr., whose four years in office were marked by a failure to deal with an exploding crime problem. From the beginning of his tenure in office, Bosley tried quixotically to arrange friendly meetings between himself and local gang members, urging them to stay in school and assuring them that he was “committed to finding you jobs.” He convinced a number of corporate sponsors to offer 500 paying jobs to city students in the summer of 2004; he established eight community schools with recreation centers open until 10 p.m. each night, in an effort to help keep young people out of trouble; and city corporations bankrolled a Midnight Basketball League for similar purposes.[302] Notwithstanding all these efforts, Bosley’s first year in office was the bloodiest in city history, with 267 homicides.[303]

By the end of the Nineties, social and economic decay were evident throughout much of St. Louis, as evidenced by the following excerpt from the 1999 St. Louis City Plan:

“[A] visual survey of the neighborhood reveals a tree-lined block of stable, well-kept, two- and four-family homes followed by a block of overgrown board-ups on a one-to-one ratio with intact housing…. Two blocks later, a once commercial area of St. Louis Avenue is now totally empty with vacated lots and derelict buildings. This trend is not specific to St. Louis Avenue; the same can be said of Taylor, Greer, Labadie, and most other neighborhood streets. For businesses, the situation appears even worse. Signs of life are few and far between the corner store board-ups and chain-link-fence-covered storefronts.”[304]

By the year 2000, the total population of St. Louis—which had peaked at about 857,000 in 1950—had fallen to 348,000.[305] Remarkably, this figure was smaller than that which had been recorded in the city’s census 120 years earlier.[306] According to New “Among the world’s municipalities that have ever achieved 500,000 population, none have lost so much as the city of St. Louis.”[307]

After decades of Democratic leadership, St. Louis today is a city facing severe economic challenges. It has a per capita income of just $22,551 (about 20% below the national average), a median household income of $34,384 (some 35% below the national median), and a poverty rate of 27% (nearly twice the national average).[308]

According to CQ Press, which annually publishes crime rankings that compare cities across the United States in terms of their respective incidences of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft, St. Louis was “America’s Most Dangerous City” in 2006 and 2010, while in other recent years it has ranked consistently near the top of that same list.[309]

Closely analyzing St. Louis’s crime statistics can be a dispiriting experience. The city’s incidence (per 100,000 residents) of violent crime is more than 4.5 times higher than the national average—including 7.5 times the national average for murder, 5.8 times the national average for robberies, 2.2 times the national average for rapes, and 4.6 times the national average for assaults.[310] The vast majority of St. Louis residents victimized by these crimes in any given year are African Americans. Indeed, blacks were victims in 502 of the 567 homicides that occurred in the city between 2008 and 2011. Virtually all of the killers, as well, were black.[311]

In 2008, Charles Quincy Troupe, alderman of one crime-infested ward in North St. Louis, openly advised his constituents to arm themselves because criminality in the area had become so rampant that the police force would be unable to keep it in check. “The community has to be ready to defend itself,” Troupe said, “because it’s clear the economy is going to get worse, and criminals are getting more bold.”[312] In a November 2013 story about life in St. Louis, the New York Times interviewed one longtime black resident who, fearful of the ubiquitous violence that surrounded him, avoided going outdoors after dark and regularly slept with a shotgun by his bed. “There’s a sense of hopelessness on behalf of a lot of people,” the man lamented. Another St. Louis resident told the Times: “It’s scary, man. Whoever tells you they ain’t scared of this life, they [sic] lying to you.”[313]

St. Louis’s decay is evident also in its woeful public education system. Though the city’s Public School District annually spends over $15,000 per K-12 pupil—at least 40% more than the national average—the children (and the taxpayers) of St. Louis get very little in return.[314] The high-school graduation rates of St. Louis students range between about 46% and 60% in any given year—a far cry from Missouri’s overall figure of approximately 85%.[315]

According to Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which publishes an Annual Performance Report evaluating every school district in the state, the St. Louis Public Schools in 2013 scored a meager 24.6% on a scale of zero to 100%.[316] Further, students in the vast majority of the city’s public schools performed poorly on Missouri Assessment Program tests designed to measure proficiency in English, math and science. For example:

In 87% of St. Louis public schools, fewer than half of all students registered scores high enough to qualify them as “proficient” in English. In 37% of the schools, fewer than one-fifth of students were proficient in English.[317]

In 92% of St. Louis public schools, fewer than half of all students registered scores high enough to qualify them as “proficient” in math. In 39% of the schools, fewer than one-fifth of students were proficient in math.[318]

In 85% of St. Louis public schools, fewer than half of all students registered scores high enough to qualify them as “proficient” in science. In an astonishing 62% of the schools, fewer than one-fifth of students were proficient in science. In fact, in 31 separate schools the proficiency rate was below 10%, and in 7 schools the figure was a flat 0%.[319]


The city of Atlanta, Georgia has not been governed by a Republican mayor since 1879, the era of Reconstruction. Since the 1960s and early ’70s, Atlanta’s mayors have not only been Democrats, but “progressives” as well.

Because it is home to the prestigious historically black colleges Morehouse and Spelman, Atlanta has often been seen as the intellectual capital of black America, and the black Democrat mayors it has elected over the past four decades have automatically become important national figures.

Maynard Jackson was the first; he was elected in 1974 and went on to hold the mayor’s office for three (non-consecutive) four-year terms: 1974-78, 1978–82, and 1990–94. He is often credited with improving race relations in Atlanta as the city moved away from its segregated past and into its role as capital of the New South that emerged after the civil rights era. Yet he was also a divisive figure who ran Atlanta in the dictatorial manner of the big-city bosses of the American past. In May 1974, soon after first taking office, Jackson stoked racial tensions in Atlanta when he attempted, over the strong objections of the city’s white police officers, to fire the incumbent (white) police chief, John Inman. A Fulton County court judge upheld Inman’s right to retain his job, but a few months later the Georgia Supreme Court upheld a new city charter authorizing Mayor Jackson and Atlanta’s City Council to reorganize their city’s police department in any way they wished. This enabled Jackson to undermine Inman’s authority and turn him into a figurehead subservient to the newly created “public safety commissioner” authorized to oversee the police, fire, and civil defense departments.[320]

To fill the role of public safety commissioner, Jackson appointed his former college classmate, black activist Reginald Eaves, who had no safety experience. Eaves’ attitude toward his new role was symbolized by his defiant use of public money to purchase extra options on his fully loaded city vehicle. When criticized, he said defiantly: “If I can’t ride in a little bit of comfort, to hell with it.”[321]

Eaves sparked further controversy when he appointed an ex-convict as his personal secretary and instituted a quota system that gave preference to African Americans for hirings and promotions within the police department. Eventually, in 1978, Mayor Jackson was forced to fire Eaves for his role in a scandal in which certain police officers were allowed to cheat on promotions exams. (Eaves’ unethical conduct continued later on when he became a member of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and took bribes from local businessmen in exchange for ensuring that their projects were approved.)[322]

Between 1978 and 1979 alone, Atlanta experienced a 69% increase in homicides and now had the highest murder rate—and overall crime rate—of any city in the United States. But while crime was exploding, Jackson reduced the police force by 25% between 1975 and 1979.[323]

Jackson effectively presented himself as an advocate for poor blacks throughout his political career, in large part by pressing for affirmative action and set asides for blacks in public works projects and municipal contracts.[324] But in January 1994, as his third and final term as mayor was winding down, a federal court jury cast a shadow over his repeated use of these strategies. In one of the most politically explosive trials in Atlanta history—centered on an affirmative action program by which Jackson’s administration had tried to increase the presence of black-owned shops and businesses at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport—the jury convicted a former airport commissioner and councilman on 83 counts of mail fraud, 4 counts of tax evasion, and 43 counts of accepting bribes from an airport concessionaire in return for favorable treatment, such as reduced rent at the airport.[325]

These proceedings did considerable damage to Jackson’s legacy, leaving the impression that the mayor’s affirmative action program had been, as the New York Times described it, little more than “a scheme to benefit white businessmen, politically connected blacks, and black political leaders.”[326] Bob Holmes, a Democratic State Representative from Atlanta and director of Atlanta University’s Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy, put it this way in a 1994 interview: “People are going to ask if other minority participation arrangements were really fronts and whether Atlanta’s business is conducted on the basis of political payoff rather than competency and efficiency. It casts the image of impropriety and suggests a 20-year relationship where folks were rewarded merely for supporting Maynard.”[327]Holmes’s words proved prophetic. In 2002, when an investigation by the Atlanta Journal Constitution found that friends of Jackson and his successor as Atlanta mayor, Bill Campbell (1994-2002), had for years received “the vast majority” of contracts awarded by the Atlanta airport which were supposed to go to the black community generally. In at least 80 of the 100 contracts reviewed during the probe, one or more of the business partners involved had cultivated a relationship with either Jackson, Campbell, or both. Further, most of those partners had contributed money to the Jackson and/or Campbell mayoral campaigns.[328]

As for Campbell, this was by no means his only brush with political scandal. Indeed, a seven-year federal corruption probe resulted in the 2006 convictions of 10 city officials tied to his administration. Also in 2006, prosecutors charged Campbell with personally accepting more than $160,000 worth of illegal campaign contributions, cash payments, junkets, and home improvements from city contractors during his years as mayor. Ultimately, he was convicted only of three counts of federal tax evasion.[329]

For many years Atlanta’s political leaders—in exchange for the slavish political support of unionized public-sector workers—promised an unending array of unsustainable pension benefits to those employees. Consequently, by 2011 Atlanta’s city government owed no less than $1.5 billion in unfunded liabilities on the pensions of its public-sector workers—an ominous figure that forced the Atlanta City Council to restructure the city’s pension system so that all police officers, firefighters and city employees must now contribute an additional 5% of their wages to the pension system to keep it solvent.[330]

Political mismanagement and incompetence have had serious consequences for Atlanta’s residents, more than 26% of whom currently live in poverty.[331] As with other urban centers led by Democrats, blacks are hit hardest. Among the nation’s 40 largest urban areas, Atlanta has the fifth-highest black poverty rate.[332] And according to a study released by the Brookings Institution in February 2014, Atlanta has a greater disparity between rich and poor than any other urban area in America.[333]

As in so many Democrat-run U.S. cities, Atlanta’s public-school system has grown, over time, into a bureaucratic monstrosity of waste and ineptitude. Every year the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) system gobbles up some 15,000 taxpayer dollars—nearly 50% more than the national average—for the education-related expenses of each K-12 pupil in its jurisdiction.[334] Despite this investment, proficiency rates for APS eighth-graders in 2013 were a meager 22% in reading and 17% in math.[335]For about a decade, a cabal of Atlanta educators and school administrators carefully orchestrated a secret campaign to conceal this woeful educational track record—and to enrich themselves in the process. The roots of that campaign go back to 1999, when black educator Beverly L. Hall, who had just finished serving four years as superintendent of the Newark Public Schools, was hired as APS superintendent and hailed as a highly innovative reformer—even as she remained the target of a New Jersey State Senate probe examining a $58 million deficit that had accrued under her watch in Newark.[336]

Under the leadership of Hall who aligns herself with Democratic Party causes[337] and donated money to the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, the standardized test scores of Atlanta students began to rise—inexplicably to some observers of the troubled school system. In 2008, according to standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind law, every elementary school in Atlanta demonstrated “adequate yearly progress” as measured by student scores.[338] More noticeably, in many cases, Atlanta pupils from poor and minority backgrounds were outperforming their white peers from wealthier suburban districts on the exams.[339] In recognition of this rather startling trend, the American Association of School Administrators in 2009 gave Hall its coveted National Superintendent of the Year award, crediting her “leadership” with having “turned Atlanta into a model of urban school reform.”[340] That same year, President Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan invited Hall to be recognized at the White House.[341]

But then, soon after, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined closely the large gains that APS students had been making in their Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) scores, and published a series of articles reporting that some of those scores were statistically improbable.[342] A subsequent probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation—the results of which were made public in July 2011—found that a significant number of teachers and principals at 58 Atlanta schools had secretly corrected and/or fabricated many of the answers on the CRCT tests, so as to give the false impression of improving student performance.[343] All told, the investigation implicated 38 principals and 140 teachers, making it the most extensive cheating scandal in the history of American education.[344]

Prior to these revelations, many of the educators involved in the scandal had been handsomely rewarded for their malfeasance. Indeed, Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News reported that teachers at 13 schools in particular had received a combined $500,000 in merit-pay bonuses in 2009 alone.[345] And Beverly Hall, for her part, had raked in approximately $580,000 in “performance” bonuses.[346] This self-enrichment took place at the same time that the APS was racking up a budget deficit that, by 2014, amounted to no less than $45 million.[347] Following Georgia’s investigation into the APS cheating scandal, Superintendent Hall was allowed to resign without penalty in 2010 but was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury in 2013.[348]

Administrators such as Hall have come and gone in Atlanta, but the children remain behind to pay the price for their malfeasance. According to Binghamton University Professor Lawrence C. Stedman, APS students lag one to two years behind national averages on the NAEP. “At current rates,” Stedman writes, “it will take from 50 to 110 years to bring all students to proficiency.”[349]

No profile of Atlanta would be complete without mentioning the crime rates that plagued the city at least since the mayorship of Maynard Jackson. Today, the city’s rates of murder, robbery, and auto theft exceed the corresponding national averages by 300%, 360%, and 410%, respectively.[350] In 2012, Atlanta ranked, as the ninth most dangerous U.S. city with a population of 200,000 or more.[351] The incidence of murders in Atlanta is about the same as in South Africa, a nation infamous for its exceedingly high homicide rate.[352]--

Footnotes: August 15, 2014

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  • "The only thing worse than suffering an injustice is committing an injustice"


  • "How the media reports what they report (their bias) is important. What they choose to report (or not report) is equally important"


  • “Bureaucracy -- the organizational weaknesses that cause smart people to make dumb decisions”

  • "A free nation is armed with a free press."

  • "A bad day on the lake is better than a good day at the office"

  • "Never spend your money before you have it"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "The more I know, the more I realize how much I don’t know."

  • "Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them"

    Bill Vaughan

  • "Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin"

    Charles Haddon Spurgeon

  • “No republic has long outlived the discovery by a majority of its people that they could vote themselves largesse from the public treasury”

    Alexander Tytler

  • "Half the people you know are below average"

  • "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

    Winston Churchill

  • "The only real power comes out of a long rifle"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence"

  • “The American people are the passengers aboard the Titanic… And Obama is at the helm.”

    Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt

  • "When you give a monkey the choice between an addictive drug and food, it will starve to death."

    Rick Perry

  • "For a representative republic to prosper, much less survive, its citizens must be both informed and engaged."


  • “I fear not the individual who occupies the Oval Office, but the people who elected him to that office.”

  • "Tell me and I forget - Teach me and I remember - Involve me and I learn"

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar"

    Robert Brault

  • Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

    William Pitt

  • "Truth has no agenda"

  • "There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings"

    Hodding Carter, J.R.

  • "Debt is the slavery of the free."

    Publilius Syrus

  • “Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong”

    Ronald Reagan

  • "God made man before woman so as to give him time to think of an answer for her first question."

  • "I don’t know what my future holds, but have faith in whose hands it’s held."

  • “May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past”

  • "Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • “You learn a lot about people not just by what they say, but by what they don't say”

  • "A lie is not a lie if you call it the truth."

  • ''Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.''


  • "A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "Gray hair is God's graffiti"

    Bill Cosby

  • "Rather than being a selfless act of service, becoming a politician is now about enriching oneself"


  • "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people"

    Victor Borge

  • "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations -- entangling alliances with none"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Failure is success if we learn from it"

    Malcolm S. Forbes

  • "Parents can tell but never teach, unless they practice what they preach"

  • “To anger a conservative, tell him a lie. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth”

  • "I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine"

    Ayn Rand

  • "Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents... pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan."

    Abraham Lincoln

  • "We are fast approaching a time when the majority sign the back of the check, rather than the front"

  • "What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us"

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • "No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent"

    Abraham Lincoln

  • “Truth is like poetry, and most people hate poetry”

  • "I sincerely believe ... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been more effective than that which deludes them with paper money."

    Daniel Webster

  • “A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "A man of quality is never threatened by a woman of equality"

  • "The goal of socialism is communism."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • “Perception is today’s reality”

  • "Ignorance is the seed of APATHY"


  • “Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.”

    Bertrand Russell

  • "A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain top"

  • “A country that can't control its borders isn't really a country anymore”

    Ronald Reagan

  • "A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "I am an American voter, ignorant of my ignorance."

  • “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery”

    Winston Churchill

  • "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "Influence peddling and corruption are bipartisan sins: those out of power allege them, those in power commit them"

  • "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect"

    Mark Twain

  • “Society was cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy; those who had anything united in common terror.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • Thinking is hard work – that is why so few engage in it”

    Mark Twain

  • “When the desire for success, overcomes the fear of failure, great things can be achieved”


  • “Accept the past, look to the future, live in the present”

  • "If voting made a difference, it would be illegal"

  • “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

    Lou Holtz

  • "Feed a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime"

  • "Without rest, a man cannot work; without work, the rest does not give you any benefit."

    Abkhasian Proverb

  • “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "Irony is the hygiene of the mind."

    Elizabeth Bibesco

  • "Reputation is what others perceive you to be. Character is what you are"

    John Wooden

  • "Show me your friends I'll show you your future"

  • "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

    Abraham Lincoln

  • "The measure of a man’s character is how he treats another who can do nothing for him"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time"

    Mark Twain

  • “I am proud of my country, yet ashamed of my government”

  • "Ignorance is the truest form of freedom"

  • "If we agreed 100 percent of the time, one of us wouldn't be necessary"

  • "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth."

    George Washington

  • "All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures"

    Julius Caesar

  • "I am a simple man who happens to still possess what at one time was all too common….. A thing called sense."

  • "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "When the Federal Reserve cites statistics to claim that there is not much evidence of inflation, we need to keep in mind that the statistics they rely on exclude food and energy prices. The cost of living is no sweat if you can do without electricity and food."

    Thomas Sowell

  • “Don't ever argue with an idiot.... they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"


  • "Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”

    Kenneth Boulding (economist)

  • “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

    James Madison

  • "Go often to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke off the unused path"

  • "It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them"

    Mark Twain

  • "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it"

    Upton Sinclair

  • “It is not heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes.”

    Joseph Stalin

  • “In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of citizens to give to the other”

    Voltaire (1764)

  • "If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something"

  • "A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks"

    Charles Gordy

  • "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Life without GOD is like an unsharpened pencil – it has no point"

  • "Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of faith."

  • "Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce."

    James A. Garfield

  • "Republicans in Washington have shown that the word ‘cave’ is a noun in places like Afghanistan, but it’s a verb in places like Congress"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”

    Winston Churchill

  • "Every member of the State ought diligently to read and to study the Constitution [the documents] of this country...By knowing their rights they will sooner perceive when they are violated and be the better prepared to defend and assert them."

    John Jay, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

  • "Sometimes, it's what you do not do, that makes you who you are"

  • "Thinking was OUTLAWED in the 1980's. The first time you think is the last time you are a Democrat.”

    Evan Sayet

  • "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead"

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "The great ignorant failure of the left: Though it has learned how to get elected, it has not learned how to govern."

    Daniel Greenfield

  • "There are times in one’s life, and in a nation’s life, where siting on the sidelines just isn’t an option."


  • "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad"

  • "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."

    Ronald Reagan

  • "Freedom is never won in a single battle - It must be fought for every day"

  • “Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.”

    Otto von Bismarck

  • "I owe nothing to Women’s Lib.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • “It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”

    Patrick Henry

  • “Truth is Treason to an Empire Built of Lies.”

  • "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil"

    Ephesians 6:11

  • Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off”

    Ayn Rand

  • "In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned in life. It goes on."

    Robert Frost

  • "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

    George Santayana

  • "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in time of great moral crisis"

    Dante Alighieri

  • "Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind"

    Hugo Black

  • "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

    James Madison

  • "In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man - if you want anything done, ask a woman"

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it"

    William Arthur Ward

  • "Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy"

    Winston Churchill

  • “Fathom the hypocrisy of a Government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured.... but not everyone must prove they are a citizen.”

  • “The satisfaction acquired through giving surpasses those pleasures attained from receiving”


  • "One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician's objective - election and power are"

    Cal Thomas

  • “If you voted for Obama to prove that you were not a racist - Who will you vote for in 2012 to prove that you are not an idiot?”

  • "Try not to become a man of success, but rather, try to become a man of value"

    Albert Einstein

  • “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation”

    James Madison

  • "Find something that you love, and you will never work a day in your life"

  • "Ignorance truly is a choice…….. in this age of information."


  • “A person who lives by logic and studies history and tries to implement the lessons learned by history cannot begin to rationally explain the conduct of this president or his attorney general or this administration,” Nugent said. “It is psychotic, it is crazy, it is illogical.”

    Ted Nugent

  • "The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”

    Ronald Reagan

  • I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."

    Alexander the Great

  • "Europe will never be like America. Europe is a product of history. America is a product of philosophy.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits."

    Albert Einstein

  • “You cannot strengthen the weak, by weakening the strong.”

    Abraham Lincoln

  • “Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith

  • "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value"

    Albert Einstein

  • "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter"

    Mark Twain

  • "It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare"

    Mark Twain

  • “Worse than evil is the apathy that allows it”

  • "The lesson of history is that people never learn the lessons of history."

  • “I know enough to know, there is so much that I do not know”

  • "The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope"

    Karl Marx

  • "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

    John F. Kennedy

  • “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”

    John Adams (1826)

  • "Friends, like life itself, should be cherished ALWAYS!"


  • "Communism is the corruption of a dream of justice"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "The Second Amendment has never been about hunting or crime prevention; it’s about keeping our government in check."

    Patrice Lewis

  • "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see"

    Mark Twain

  • “To possess a memory is to be blessed with a priceless good. It is our link to the past, our guidepost to the present and our passport to the future”

  • "In faith and hope the world will disagree, but all mankind’s concern is charity"

    Alexander Pope

  • "Tis curious that we only believe as deeply as we live."

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • "Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief"

    Joseph Addison

  • “The very people, who will go to the ends of the earth to defend the most heinous of murderers, do not give a second thought to the taking of an innocent life”


  • “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy”

    James Madison

  • "The idea of war is not to die for your country. It's to make the other poor S.O.B. die for his"

    General George Patton

  • "Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "The day that you are born is the day that you begin to die"

    William Faulkner

  • "We provide Americans an education in exchange for their commitment to serve in our armed forces, while at the same time, we offer amnesty to illegal immigrants in exchange for their commitment to vote Democrat for life."


  • "In politics, stupidity is not a handicap"

    Napoleon Bonaparte

  • "If most thinking people supported me it still wouldn't be enough. Because in America, you need a majority."

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "You can not raise the weak, by holding down the strong"

    Abraham Lincoln

  • "Mama used to say, dig faster, you’ll get to the bottom sooner (rather than later)."

  • "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter"

    Mark Twain

  • "The truth is usually pretty simple, but as I’m sure you would agree, finding it in the mainstream media is next to impossible"

    Ann Coulter

  • "Banning gun shows to reduce violent crime will work about as well as banning auto shows to reduce drunken driving"

    Bill McIntire - NRA Spokesman (1992)

  • "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't"

    Mark Twain

  • "Bureaucracy is nothing more than the hardening of an organization's arteries"

    William P. Anthony

  • "Our political parties are broken and have failed miserably. They stand for nothing and will compromise everything”

    David Stockman

  • “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • “I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said."

    William F. Buckley Jr.

  • "Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerly exercised for the good of its victims may be the most opressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

    C. S. Lewis

  • "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "There’s no such thing as the future, just history that hasn’t happened yet."

    Harry Truman

  • "One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives"

    Mark Twain

  • "We are great because we are good"

  • “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

    George Orwell

  • Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”

    Robert Green Ingersoll

  • "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."

    Paul Horning

  • "The progressive mind is as deep as the pavement puddle"


  • "When GOD fights for Israel, Israel wins"

  • "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing"

    Albert Einstein

  • “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic”

  • "Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals"

  • "Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party"

    Winston Churchill

  • "Those who have been intoxicated with power... can never willingly abandon it"

    Edmund Burke

  • "In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

    George Orwell

  • "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

    Winston Churchill

  • "In America today, it's considered anti-American to be pro-American"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work."

    Thomas Edison

  • "Why is it that so many individuals place their trust in people to solve the very problems which those people created in the first place?"


  • "Every morning is the dawn of a new error."

  • "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated"

    Mohandas Gandhi

  • "Debt is the fatal disease of republics, the first thing and the mightiest to undermine governments and corrupt the people."

    Wendell Phillips

  • “When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already....”

    Adolph Hitler

  • "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”


  • "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”

    Benjamin Franklin

  • “There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.”

    Winston Churchill

  • "It is so much more difficult to manipulate people when they are educated and enlightened"


  • "Eternity Voter Card……. Don’t leave this life without it"

  • "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

    Vince Lombardi

  • Nothing could be more dangerous to the existence of this Republic than to introduce religion into politics”

    Robert Green Ingersoll

  • "Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises"


  • "What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle"

    Winston Churchill

  • "Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get"

    Mark Twain

  • "The woman’s mission is not to enhance the masculine spirit, but to express the feminine; hers is not to preserve a man-made world, but to create a human world by the infusion of the feminine element into all of its activities.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step"

    Dr. Martin Luther King

  • "Great men do not set out to be great, they set out to do great things"

  • "Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.”


  • "A good day is when no one shows up and you don't have to go anywhere."

    Burt Shavitz (Burt's Buzz)

  • "Should FDR have warned us about Pearl Harbor?"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning"

    Albert Einstein

  • "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese"

  • Use truth as your anvil, nonviolence as your hammer and anything that does not stand the test when it is brought to the anvil of truth and hammered with nonviolence, reject it.”

    Mohandas K. Gandhi

  • "Everything the Democrats do is the result of a political calculation designed to take advantage of something going wrong"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "When you find you are digging yourself into a hole, dig faster, you’ll get to your destination sooner”


  • “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.”

    James Madison

  • “Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer”

    Ludwig von Mises

  • "We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."

    George Orwell

  • “So far consumers are worried about the future. Once they start worrying about the present, we’re in trouble.”

  • "I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure"

  • "Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one"

    Mark Twain

  • “You don’t marry someone you can live with; you marry the person who you cannot live without”

  • “Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society.”


  • "I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • "Reason often makes mistakes but conscience never does"

    Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw)

  • "Profanity is the act of a feeble mind attempting to express itself forcibly"

  • "Knowledge is power."

    Sir Francis Bacon

  • "A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again."

  • "Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it."

    Samuel Johnson

  • "The last time France needed more proof it rolled through the streets of Paris in the form of a German tank"

    David Letterman

  • "Corrupt government is host to many ironies, but three are paramount: SUCCESS is a liability, FAILURE is an asset, and as long as the INTENTIONS are pure in the public mind, better funding follows failure, not success."

  • "Someone who does not know the difference between good and evil is worth nothing"

    Miecyslaw Kasprzyk

  • "Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones"

    Phillip Brooks

  • "Knowledge is a powerful tool. Without it, a powerful tool one becomes."


  • "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" .

    Martin Luther King, Jr

  • "Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”

    Aaron Levenstein

  • "Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens at the White House, but what happens inside your house"

    Barbara Bush

  • "A woman who demands further gun control legislation is like a chicken who roots for Colonel Sanders"

    Larry Elder

  • "24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not."

    H.L. Mencken

  • "Nothing is more destructive to a democracy than ignorance and an uniformed citizenry"

  • "Abortion is not a woman’s rights issue but a human rights issue"

    Kathy Ireland

  • "Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace"

    Rod Serling

  • "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself."

    Tullius Cicero

  • "Remove one freedom per generation, and soon you will have no freedom and no one would have noticed."

    Karl Marx

  • "BEER: "I" before "E," except in Budweiser."

    Professor Irwin Corey

  • "We are one justice away from the Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. Constitution is unconstitutional."


  • “The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”

  • "Borrow money from pessimists - they don't expect it back"

    Steven Wright

  • “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get."

    Dave Gardner

  • Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it; and this I know, my lords, that where laws end, tyranny begins”

    William Pitt

  • “Finding your purpose in life begins with Faith, Hope, and Charity”

  • "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • “In a free country the monetary unit rests upon a fixed foundation of gold or gold and silver, independent of the ruling politicians.”

    Howard Buffett

  • "Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward"

  • "A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it"

    Bob Hope

  • "The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes"

    Thomas Paine

  • "Uncommon valor was a common virtue." - Iwo Jima

  • "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."

    Josef Stalin

  • “American consumers have no problem with carcinogens, but they will not purchase any product, including floor wax, that has fat in it”

    Dave Barry

  • "A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give."


  • "When you find you’re digging yourself into a hole, I always say dig faster, you’ll get to the bottom sooner."


  • "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "If it ain't broken, fix it until it is"

    Government Motto

  • "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied"

    Mark Twain

  • "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear"

    Mark Twain

  • Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

    George Washington

  • "For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know."

  • "Law, once a shield of the innocent, is now a weapon in the hands of government"

    Paul Craig Roberts

  • "Government can solve nearly any problem. After all, they created most of them."


  • "Governments have killed more innocent people than all the wars combined. 170 MILLION in the 20th Century alone."

  • "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes"

    Mark Twain

  • "Rights are granted by the individual, or governmental agency, that signs your welfare check"


  • "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

    George Washington

  • "Sports do not build character, they reveal it."

  • “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil...”

    Isaiah 5:20

  • “If government didn’t create problems they’d be left will none to solve”


  • “An individual who believes their lies cannot be considered a liar.”

    Progressive apologist

  • “Always love your country — but never trust your government”

    Robert Novak

  • "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • “Always speak the truth, and you will never be concerned with your memory”

  • "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents"

    James Madison

  • “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

    James Madison

  • “There are no easy answers' but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

    Ronald Reagan

  • "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance."

    Cicero, 55 BC

  • Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.”


  • “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.”

    Orison S. Marden

  • "I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you"

  • “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them"

    George Mason

  • “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all"

    John F. Kennedy

  • “Everybody feels the evil, but no one has courage or energy enough to seek the cure”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery."

    George Washington

  • "There are lies, damned lies and statistics"

    Mark Twain

  • "Lies serve to influence the ignorant"


  • “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."


  • "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

    Ian Fleming

  • "I love my job, I love fighting for what I believe in, I love having fun while I am doing it, I love reporting stories that the complex refuses to report, I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and famously I enjoy enemies."

    Andrew Breitbart

  • "Though something may be true, if not widely known, it cannot be considered fact."

    Liberal Logic

  • “Gold is important, but so are guns and ammunition, and it’s the guys with the guns and ammunition that’ll get the gold in the end”

  • "That to which we aspire, though cannot attain, we often tear down"


  • “If you don't have the law, you argue the facts; if you don't have the facts, you argue the law; if you have neither the facts nor the law, then you argue the Constitution”

  • “We always have enough time to do a job a second time – and never enough time to do it right the first time”

  • "Statistics are not intended to enlighten, but instead to deceive"


  • "When in doubt tell the truth"

    Mark Twain

  • "Nothing beats a failure but the failure to try"

  • "We don't let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns"

    Joseph Stalin

  • “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to be stupid.”

    Benjamin Franklin

  • “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith"

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "Don’t tell me how ruff the water is – just bring in the ship."

  • "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • “Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror"

    Byrd Baggett

  • "All the perplexities, confusion and distresses in America arise not from defects in the constitution or confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, as much from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation."

    John Adams

  • "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity"

    Albert Einstein

  • "Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself"

    Ronald Reagan

  • "The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."

    Patrick Henry

  • "For when democracy becomes tyranny, those of us with rifles still get to vote"

  • “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it”

    Henry David Thoreau

  • "In politics, never let facts get in the way of a good story"


  • “When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right of the majority to command, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station"

  • "The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese"

  • "it is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority."

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "For the saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished freedom is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while there was still time."

    George Sutherland

  • "Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical"

    Yogi Berra

  • “The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it”

    Ayn Rand

  • “Better to deny a child some of life’s wants and pleasures, than to deny them a brother or sister.”

    Pope Saint John Paul II

  • "One man practicing good sportsmanship is far better than 50 others preaching it"

    Knute Rockne

  • "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"


  • "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty"

    John F. Kennedy

  • "If you want to protect vital national security secrets from WikiLeaks, just put them in the same vault as Obama's birth certificate"

    Mike Huckabee (a.k.a The Guv)

  • "Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "Comedy brings out laughter, tragedy fear. Hopelessness leads to despair, sadness a tear. It takes a unique individual who can elicit all of these emotions by the mere mention of their name – Obama is a unique individual"


  • You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in their struggle for independence"

    C. A. Beard

  • "Knowledge is the source of Wealth. Applied to tasks we already know, it becomes Productivity. Applied to tasks that are new, it becomes Innovation"

    Peter Drucker

  • "It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Modern day liberalism is a disease that literally has the power to poison the character of those who fall under its spell"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity"

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder"

    George Washington

  • "If you tell a lie, but have a good reason for telling that lie, then it really is not a lie."


  • “There is only one way to succeed in anything and that is to give it everything”

    Vince Lombardi

  • “The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith

  • "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws"

    Ayn Rand

  • “One man with courage is a majority”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "I'll bet you never dreamed you'd look back at Jimmy Carter as the good old days."

    Mitt Romney

  • "The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard"

  • "Greed, is a great motivator, yet a powerful destroyer."

  • “It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.”

    Martin Van Buren

  • “The news is not about news anymore. It’s about protecting some people, destroying others and shoving a socialist agenda down the collective throats of America.”

    Charlie Daniels

  • "The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is opened"

  • Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred."

    Jacques Barzun

  • “There's nothing better than a friend ... unless it's a friend with chocolate.”

    Charles Dickens

  • "All men by nature desire knowledge."


  • "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

    Mahatma Ghandi

  • "The more comfortable you make welfare recipients, the more welfare recipients you will have."


  • "It’s not the votes that count. It’s who counts the votes"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "Security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God"

  • "If only the Nazis and Soviets had been as merciful to the innocent as America is to the guilty"

    Senator Jim Talent

  • When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Welfare is mistrusted by those who pay for it, and held in contempt by those who receive it"

  • "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy"

    Ernest Benn

  • "A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar"

    Mark Twain

  • "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one"

    Alexander Hamilton

  • “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains”

    Winston Churchill

  • "Funny term “progressive” – oxymoron if ever I heard one when used to describe an ideology so destructive to the liberties and freedoms of the individual."


  • "The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think"

  • "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session"

    Mark Twain

  • “If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves”

    Thomas Sowell (1992)

  • “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

    Aldous Huxley

  • "May your troubles be less, may your blessings be more, and may nothing but happiness come through your door"

  • "Something that can’t go on forever, won’t."

    Herb Stein (Economist)

  • "Disobedience to tyrants is Obedience to God"

    Benjamin Franklin

  • “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”

    Mark Twain

  • "A memorandum is written to protect the writer -- not to inform the reader"

    Dean Acheson

  • "Destroy the family, you destroy the country."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • “The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction. The chief purpose of government is to protect life. Abandon that and you have abandoned all.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Let it never be said that failure arose from lack of effort"

  • “Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency: their sole object is gain”

    Napoleon Bonaparte

  • "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members."

    Mahatma Ghandi

  • "A joy shared is doubled, a sorrow shared is halved"

  • "Agenda 21 is not a "conspiracy theory", it is an Action Plan."

  • "Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent"

    Ayn Rand

  • “To be fair, we should all be allowed our own set of facts, truth be dammed”


  • "It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."

    Samuel Adams

  • "Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force"

    Ayn Rand

  • "The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "Make sure the government treats others the same, as you would want the government to treat you. … Once you consent to the government ignoring the Constitution, you deny yourself the protection of the Constitution”

    Charley Reese

  • "That which we call sin in others is experiment for us."

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • "Ignorance is the lifeblood of every politician"


  • “No matter how fast a lie is, the truth will catch up with her.”

    Dutch Proverb

  • "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow"

    Mark Twain

  • "A liberal is a person whose interests aren't at stake, at the moment"

    Willis Player

  • "TRUTH is a hard, and often bitter, pill to swallow."


  • “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets”

    Will Rogers

  • "It is far easier to keep the law abiding in line, than those who disregard the law altogether."


  • “The same administration that can’t build a web site, just took over the internet.”

    Brad Thor

  • "We consume our tomorrows fretting about our yesterdays."

    Aulus Persius Flaccus

  • “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so"

    Mark Twain

  • "Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms."


  • "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • “It is not enough to merely be enlightened, one must also be engaged.”


  • "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation"

  • “The tragedy in life is not reaching your goals, it is to have no goals to achieve”

  • If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate” Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Oliver Wendell Holmes

  • "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian."

    Henry Ford

  • "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant."

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • “Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed”

    Robert A. Heinlein

  • "The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office"

    Will Rogers

  • "Look to Government to solve most problems. Often going to the source is the best solution"


  • "Democracy is indispensable to socialism."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "It took Teddy Kennedy longer to call the police after his Oldsmobile sunk at Chappaquiddick, than it took the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge."

    Benjamin Disraeli

  • "I could give up chocolate but I'm no quitter!"

  • "Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often, and for the same reason."

    Mark Twain

  • “To be clever enough to get all that money, you must be stupid enough to want it”

    G. K. Chesterton

  • "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Politics is the only field in which the more experience you have, the worse you get”

    Kinky Friedman

  • "Before you open your mouth to speak, please make sure it's an improvement upon the silence"

  • "You piss off a conservative by lying. You piss off a liberal by telling the truth."

  • "Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "He who would give up a little liberty in return for a little security deserves neither liberty nor security"

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable"

    Mark Twain

  • "Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were"

  • "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"

    Edmund Burke

  • "Luck is at the intersection of preparation and opportunity."


  • "Life is but an experiment, and we are all lab rats."


  • "The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself."

    St. Augustine

  • "He does not believe who does not live according to his belief."

    Thomas Fuller

  • "It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

    Thomas Paine

  • "To delve inside the liberal progressive mind, one must endure a dark and errie place, absent all logic and devoid all reason and common sense"


  • "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times"

    Niccolo Machiavelli

  • "The man that sets out to change the world without first changing himself is a fool"

  • “It is not the responsibility of parents to pave the road for their children, but to provide them a road map”

  • “Man is not free unless government is limited … As government expands, liberty contracts”

    Ronald Reagan

  • "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval"

    Mark Twain

  • "We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality"

    Ayn Rand

  • "If you can’t explain what you're doing in simple English, you’re probably doing something wrong"

    Alfred Kazin

  • “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it”

    Margaret Sanger (Founder of Planned Parenthood)

  • "Government Integrity: An Oxymoron"

  • "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

    John Jay

  • "The experiment of self-government can't work where people do not govern themselves"

    James Madison

  • "Tolerance is the virtue of believing in nothing"

  • "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”

    Saul Bellow

  • "This is like deja vu all over again"

    Yogi Berra

  • "Innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does"

    Whittaker Chambers

  • “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years you would have a shortage of sand.”

    Milton Friedman

  • "A great man never ignores the simplicity of a child"

    Chinese fortune cookie

  • "True friendship is like sound health, the value of it is seldom known until it be lost"

    Charles Caleb Colton

  • “The naked truth is always better than the best dressed lie”

    Ann Landers

  • "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"

  • “The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life."

    Ronald Reagan

  • “One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”

    Antonio Porchia

  • "If you choose public service, choose it to serve the public, not your bank account. When you're done serving, go home. Get a real job."

    Jack Abramoff

  • "If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn’t swim.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • Yesterday is history; Tomorrow is a mystery: Today is a gift, that’s why we call it the Present"

    Winnie the Pooh

  • The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.


  • “There’s only one kind of patriotism, and that’s the kind that loves and supports – not loathes and fears – America”

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "An armed society is a polite society"

    Robert A. Heinlein

  • "A lie is an untruth told with intent to deceive."

  • "Laws were most numerous when the state was most corrupt"

    Tacitus, The Annals III.27

  • "Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand"

    Mark Twain

  • "Golf scores are directly proportional to the number of witnesses"

  • “Liberalism is not really a political philosophy. Instead, it is a state of arrested emotional development. It is a way of thinking, which leads to no place in the real world. It is a place existing only in the imagination”

    Mike S. Adams

  • "One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results."

    Milton Friedman

  • "A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour"

  • "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience"

  • "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"

    John Adams

  • At that point when we put America first, will be the time that this nation begins to heal itself”


  • "A nation of sheep will get a government of wolves"

    Edward R. Murrow

  • “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away”

    Philip K. Dick

  • "A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory"

  • “It’s a funny thing about free speech: It can’t be just for your political friends. If freedom means anything, it is the one valuable gift you have to give to your worst enemies, in order to keep it for yourself”

    Doug Christie

  • “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it and them misapplying the wrong remedies”

    Groucho Marx

  • “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go"

  • "This year will go down in history; for the first time a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"

    Adolph Hitler (1935)

  • "At least the federal governments is there to hand you a crutch after it breaks your leg, right?"

  • "Wings on a Pig Don't Make It an Eagle."

  • "When people fear government, there is tyranny – When government fears the people, there is liberty"

    Thomas Paine

  • “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.”

    Napoléon Bonaparte

  • "If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War."

    George Washington

  • "If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong"

  • "You're never too old to learn something stupid"

  • "Liberals have two sets of rules – one for the average Joe, the ordinary American who they have contempt for and don’t have much faith in, and another set of rules for themselves"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.”

    Pietro Aretino

  • "The US dollar is backed by little more than confidence. Confidence in people's lack of understanding of how America's monetary system functions."

  • "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research"

  • “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.”

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court Justice)

  • "Terrorism is the weapon of the weak, against the strong"

  • "It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read"

    Mark Twain

  • "If voting made a difference they wouldn't let us do it."

    Mark Twain

  • "To some it's a six-pack, to me it's Support Group Salvation in a can"

    Leo Durocher

  • "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

    Ronald Reagan

  • “When the truth hurts, or is otherwise offensive, it is inappropriate.”


  • "Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back"

  • "One man with courage is a majority"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense"

    Mark Twain

  • "Winners make things happen - Losers let things happen"

  • "Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done"

    George W. Bush

  • "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."

  • "Inflation rewards debt – and erodes savings. It is legalized counterfeiting, the deliberate creation of money with nothing to back it up."

  • "A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain"

    Robert Frost

  • "Happiness is good health and a bad memory"

    Ingrid Bergman

  • "That government governs best that governs least"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed”

    Joseph Stalin

  • “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • “If you tax something more, you get less of it. If you subsidize something you get more of it”

  • “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end.”

  • "Don't let yesterday use up too much of today"

    Cherokee proverb

  • "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds"

    Francis Bacon

  • "No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • May Americans' thirst for the truth, never be quenched."


  • "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."

    Alexander Hamilton

  • “The more alike men are, the weaker each feels in the face of all.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "If we're dealing with Islamic nations, the suspects are Middle Eastern. Some people call that profiling. Law enforcement people would call it a clue."

    Wayne LaPierre

  • "A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan."

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • "He who fails to prepare, prepares for failure"

  • "Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow."

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see"

    Ayn Rand

  • "Golf is a good walk spoiled"

    Mark Twain

  • “The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates"


  • "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts"

    Abraham Lincoln

  • "There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt."

    John Adams

  • “What matters is not the truth, but what we choose (are told) to believe.”


  • "The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little"

    Mark Twain

  • "Blaming guns for spree killings is like blaming short skirts for rape."

  • "The less a man thinks or knows about his virtues, the better we like him"

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • “Every time government attempts to handle our affairs, it costs more and the results are worse than if we had handled them ourselves”

    Benjamin Constant, Brazilian statesman

  • "Truth Does Not Fear Knowledge"

  • "Never trust a government that doesn't trust its own citizens with guns"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results."

    Milton Friedman

  • "Facts are not liberals' strong suit. Rhetoric is."

    Thomas Sowell

  • The most aggravating thing about the younger generation is that I no longer belong to it"

    Albert Einstein

  • "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them."

    Isaac Asimov

  • “Government is not the answer to our problems -- government is the problem"

    Ronald Reagan

  • “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them...”

    Arthur C. Clarke

  • "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me"

    Erma Bombeck

  • "Laughing at oneself is often the best source of humor"


  • "We have our theory; don't confuse me with the facts"

  • "Wise men learn by other men's mistakes, fools by their own"

  • “Paper money is founded upon fraud and knavery”

    George Mason (letter to George Washington)

  • "Socialism needs two legs on which to stand; a right and a left. While appearing to be in complete opposition to one another, they both march in the same direction"

    Paul Proctor

  • “The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive.”

    John F. Kennedy - special message to Congress on tax reduction and reform (1/24/63)

  • "I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty"

    Strom Thurmond

  • "Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other."

    James Madison

  • “The reason the charge of having a double standard never sticks against liberal/progressives, is because they have no standards to begin with.”


  • "May the thirst for truth never be quenched."


  • "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail"

    Benjamin Franklin

  • "Ignorance is a choice one makes, often with happiness being the desired outcome. They are however mutually exclusive.”


  • "The road to success is littered with many setbacks, never failures."


  • "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free"

    P.J. O'Rourke

  • “Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom."

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • “It isn't what people think that is important, but the reason they think what they think."

    Eugene Ionesco

  • “I am an ignorant American and proud to be in the majority.”

  • "The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money"

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "Life's about the journey, not a destination."

    Anne Coleman

  • “If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."

    Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil”

    Ayn Rand

  • "Adversity makes a good man better"

  • "Better a broken promise than none at all"

    Mark Twain

  • "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain"

  • "Don't steal - The government hates competition"

  • "The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas"

  • “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."

    Patrick Henry

  • "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."

    John F. Kennedy

  • "Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting."

  • "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program"

    Milton Friedman

  • "Beer: helping ugly people have sex since 3000 B.C."

    W. C. Fields

  • "How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think"

    Adolf Hitler

  • “If you have truth on your side, you really don't need to lie”

    Paul Jacob

  • “I may be ignorant, but I’m in the majority”

    American Citizen

  • "Just because someone says something that’s not factual, does not mean it’s not truthful, if they believe what they are saying."

    Liberal Logic

  • "They keep saying, 'A school is supposed to be a safe place!' Yeah well so is a womb."

    Pastor John MacArthur

  • "Japan would never invade the United States. We would find a rifle behind every blade of grass."

    Isoroku Yamamoto

  • It's not that liberals are ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so"

    Ronald Reagan

  • "As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do."

    Andrew Carnegie

  • "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it"

    Mark Twain

  • “First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    Pastor Martin Niemöller

  • "Irony differentiates. Cynicism never does."

    Paul Horgan

  • "Who better to solve a problem then the people responsible for creating it in the first place."


  • "The more one worries, the older one gets; the more one laughs, the younger one feels"

    Chinese proverb

  • “If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

    James Madison

  • "What this country needs are more unemployed politicians."

    Edward Langley (artist)

  • "One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors."


  • "A free people ought to be armed"

    George Washington

  • “Do you think you would ever have heard of Christianity if the Apostles had gone out and said, ‘I believe in consensus?’”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax"

    Albert Einstein

  • Scheme: “To be shady or otherwise use intellectual power to deceive or carry out a plan for a personal interest. To plan to do something to get someone’s money, most often by cheating.”

  • "One man with a gun can control 100 without one"

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it."

  • "No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women."

    Ronald Reagan

  • "A sincere diplomat is like dry water or wooden iron"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.”

  • "To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target"

  • “A lie has speed, but truth has endurance.”

    Edgar J. Mohn

  • “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress”

    Mark Twain

  • "There is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the world"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • “The University campus is the only place where everything that a parent has taught a young person for 18 years is completely undermined in one semester of their freshman year"

    Kevin McCullough

  • "To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."

    Richard Henry Lee (1787)

  • "Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries."

    Douglas Casey

  • "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water"

  • “The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith

  • "An ignorant electorate, every politician's lifeblood."

  • "Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity - in short, of tyranny - and it is committed to making tyranny universal"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them"

    Alfred Adler

  • "Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."

    John Adams

  • “The Constitution does not grant rights, it recognizes them”

    Jason Laumark

  • "Plan ahead, Noah didn’t build the Ark in a storm"

  • “About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation”

    Will Rogers

  • "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its trouble - it empties today of its strength"

  • "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."

    Lyndon B. Johnson

  • "Money is like manure; If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell"

    Clint Murchison

  • “Wisdom is the chief element of happiness”


  • "When we lose GOD, it is not GOD who is lost"

  • "Be good, stay healthy, and laugh often."


  • "No Man is a Failure who has Friends"

    It's A Wonderful Life

  • “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him”

    Robert A. Heinlein

  • "How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire"

  • “If a man doesn’t find something he is willing to die for, he isn’t fit to live”

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • "Better to die on your feet, than live on your knees."

    American Patriot

  • "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it"

    Mark Twain

  • "In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "Humor is mankind's greatest blessing"

    Mark Twain

  • "It is far easier to introduce a government program than to get rid of it"

    Milton Friedman

  • "Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together"

  • "I'd rather die on my feet, than live on my knees."

    American Patriot

  • "Does reality influence the news, or is it the news that influences reality?"


  • "A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims”

    Ayn Rand

  • "The optimist simply does not have all the facts."


  • "The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread"

  • "The main thing in one’s own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry"

    Maya Angelou

  • "Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen"

    Mark Twain

  • “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there”

    John Wooden

  • "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted"

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "Go put your creed into your deed."

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”

    Abraham Lincoln

  • "Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.”

    John Wayne

  • "I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. ... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution"

    Grover Cleveland

  • "It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man."

    Psalm 118:8

  • "Example isn't another way to teach, it is the only way to teach"

    Albert Einstein

  • "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest"

    Mark Twain

  • "Political correctness is tyranny with manners."

    Charlton Heston

  • "The primary objects of government are the peace, order, and prosperity of society. . . . To the promotion of these objects, particularly in a republican government, good morals are essential."

    Oliver Ellsworth (Supreme Court Chief Justice)

  • "Few men think, yet all will have opinions"

    George Berkeley

  • “Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half”

  • "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car"

  • ”In war there is no substitute for victory”

    General Douglas MacArthur

  • "Silence is foolish if we are wise, but it is wise if we are foolish"

  • "Aspire to inspire before you expire."

  • "Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel"

    Mark Twain

  • “The one (a president) can confer no privileges whatever; the other (the king) can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies.”

    Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 69

  • “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves”

    Winston Churchill

  • "An armed man is a citizen; a disarmed man is a subject"

  • "Saying a gun shoots people is like saying a pencil makes mistakes, or a spoon makes people fat."

  • "An informed public is essential to a democracy"

    Thomas Jefferson

  • “Every library is an arsenal”

    Robert Green Ingersoll

  • "If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed"

    Mark Twain

  • “My greatest thought is my accountability to God”

    Daniel Webster

  • "He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses more; He who loses faith, loses all."

  • “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”

    Mark Twain

  • "Knowledge is power yes, and often a burden as well"


  • "When you vote to allow the taking of another life, you are complicit in the taking of that life."

  • “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • "It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."

    George Washington

  • “I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”

    Thomas Paine (December 23, 1776)

  • "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily"

    George Washington

  • "There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice."

    Charles de Montesquieu

  • “I used to pray for somebody to speak out, to stand up and defend our liberties, … then I realized I am somebody.”

  • "The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty"

    Eugene McCarthy

  • "A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart"

  • "It is far easier to control those who obey the law, than to control those who disregard the law altogether."


  • "Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny"

    Edmund Burke

  • "Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom."

    Anatole France

  • “I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life"

    Mark Twain

  • “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."

    Thomas Sowell

  • "The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home."

    James Madison

  • “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

    Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf )

  • "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up"

  • “The honesty of the press is as great an object to society as the freedom of it.”

    Thomas Paine

  • "If you watch a game, it's fun. If you play at it, it's recreation. If you work at it, it's golf"

    Bob Hope

  • “Nothing is more powerful in a democracy than knowledge”

    Rudy Giuliani

  • "There is no right way to do wrong"

  • "Sometimes you do have to go backwards before you can move forward"

    Noelle Pikus Pace (Olympian)

  • "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up"

    Mark Twain

  • "I do benefits for all religions - I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality"

    Bob Hope

  • "Success is never final. Failure is never fatal."

  • “The power to tax is the power to destroy”

    Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities”

    Ayn Rand

  • "War does not determine who is right - only who is left"

  • "You can observe a lot just by watchin"

    Yogi Berra

  • “Great men set out not to be great, but to do great things”

  • "Don't let schooling interfere with your education"

    Mark Twain

  • “Give me control over a man's economic actions, and hence over his means of survival, and except for a few occasional heroes, I'll promise to deliver to you men who think and write and behave as I want them to”

    Benjamine A. Rooge

  • Ineptocracy: (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of achieving, and where the members of society least likely to succeed or even to sustain themselves, are abundantly rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

  • "For my part I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan”

    von Clausewitz

  • "Ronald Reagan pursued those things which he believed in, not necessarily those things which he knew he could win"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • “I used to think of Wall Street as a financial center. I now think of it as a crime scene.”

    Danny Schecter

  • “Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it - If it keeps moving, regulate it - And if it stops moving, subsidize it“

    Ronald Reagan

  • "Many of us believe that wrongs aren't wrong if it's done by nice people like ourselves."

    Author Unknown

  • “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.”

    Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

  • “I think the terror most people are concerned with is the IRS”

    Malcolm Forbes (when asked if he was afraid of terrorism)

  • “The path to perfection, the loftiest goal, is success in and of itself”

  • "Liberalism faltered when it turned out it could not cope with the truth"

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  • "I'm not an old, experienced hand at politics. But I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning"

    Adlai E. Stevenson

  • “We can state with conviction, therefore, that a man's support for absolute government is in direct proportion to the contempt he feels for his country.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "If you cannot prove a lie is a lie, is it then the truth?"


  • "Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition"

  • "Hey, don’t get me wrong. I 'm all for the government (spending) investing our money into “shovel” ready projects, so long as I’m the one selling the shovels."


  • "I will prepare, and some day my chance will come"

    Abraham Lincoln

  • “Society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "Today, too many polititians seek public office rather than public service."

  • "Ask why until you understand"

  • "Belief in a falsehood does not make it true"


  • “A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

    George Bernard Shaw

  • "Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it"

  • Ships are safe in harbors, but that's not what ships are for...

  • "Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with"

  • Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."

    James Bovard

  • "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."

    Dave Barry

  • "Progressivism is an illness and should be treated as such….. Institutionalize them all."

  • In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress"

    John Adams

  • "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

    Albert Einstein

  • "What if there was a cure for the disease we call LIBERLISM? There is, and it's called REALITY (one dose daily)."


  • "Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but Democrats believe every day is April fifteenth"

    Ronald Reagan

  • “Capitalism is a system whereby the rich are powerful. Communism and Socialism are systems where the powerful are rich.”

  • “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”

    P. J. O'Rourke

  • "Apparently, I'm supposed to be more angry about what Mitt Romney does with his money than what Barack Obama does with mine."

  • “When your talent interests a human need, you are on the path of your life’s purpose”

  • “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

    Mark Twain

  • "Police in Austria are looking for a bank robber who wears a Sarah Palin mask while committing robberies. He started out with a Barack Obama mask, but no one took him seriously"

    Jay Leno

  • “It is better to conceal one's knowledge than to reveal one's ignorance”

    Spanish Proverb

  • “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism, but under the name of Liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened”

    Norman Thomas - Socialist Party Presidential candidate (1976)

  • "All of us are experts at practicing virtue at a distance."

    Theodore M. Hesburgh

  • "Don't cry because it’s over, smile because it happened"

  • "It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future"

    Yogi Berra

  • “May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live”

  • "The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have."

  • "If I could live my life over again, I wouldn't have time"

    Bob Hope

  • "If you’re not getting flack, you’re not over the target"

  • "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you"

    John D. Ashcroft

  • “Every man is dishonest who lives upon the labor of others, no matter if he occupies a throne”

    Robert Green Ingersoll

  • "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

  • "Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men"

    Thomas Henry Huxley

  • "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

    Philip K. Dick

  • Common Sense: “when we remove the sense, it becomes all too common”


  • "As an American I am not so shocked that Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize without any accomplishments to his name, but that America gave him the White House based on the same credentials."

    Newt Gingrich

  • "Not interested in Left vs. Right. Interested in Right vs. Wrong."

  • "A woman with a gun can't be beaten"


  • "I oppose the war, but support the troops"

    Liberal Lingo

  • "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means"

    Albert Einstein

  • "A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip"

  • "You can entertain without teaching, however cannot teach without entertaining."

  • "That may be a FACT, but it’s still just your opinion"

    Liberal when confronted with reality

  • "I’ve had my fun and I didn’t enjoy it"

  • “In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

    Hunter S. Thompson

  • “Tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth”

    Joseph Goebbels

  • "Lies influence the ignorant, and inflame the informed"


  • “If the facts don’t fit the theory, just change the facts”

    Albert Einstein

  • "A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "One of the greatest ironies of our day is that in this age of information, so many are so ignorant"


  • "The Constitution shall never be prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."

    Samuel Adams

  • "If you tell the truth often enough, people will come around to believing it"

  • "One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others."


  • "The best thing you can do for the poor is not become one"

    Reverend Ike

  • "What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul"

    Yiddish Proverb

  • "That which does not destroy me, makes me stronger"

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • "I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "Life………. It’s GOD’s choice"

  • “America is the best half-educated country in the world”

    Nicholas Murray Butler

  • "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."

    Mark Twain

  • "The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive."

    Robert A. Heinlein

  • "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools."

    Herbert Spencer

  • "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance."

    James Madison

  • "Democracy is the worst form of government except all others"

    Winston Churchill

  • “The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.”

  • "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials."

    George Mason

  • "Wise men learn from their mistakes, wiser men learn from the mistakes of others"

  • “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."

    Sam Adams

  • “Men who so uneasily tolerate superiors patiently suffer a master, and show themselves proud and servile at the same time.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding"

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • "Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live"

    Mark Twain

  • "Sometimes things are so obvious, they appear unbelievable."


  • "Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly"

    Robert Schuller

  • "Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible. He who has trusted where he ought not will surely mistrust where he ought not"

    Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

  • "You cannot get to the top by sitting on your bottom"

  • "What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin"

    Mark Twain

  • "The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that aren't true”

    Mark Twain

  • "Expect the best, prepare for the worst, capitalize on what comes"

  • “Rarely is it said after Senate debate that everything has not been said, rather it is whether every Senator has said it”

  • "Why would anyone save for tomorrow, if tomorrow, that which you can buy today, will be so much more expensive. Therein lies the problem. Therein lies the plan."


  • "No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child"

    Abraham Lincoln

  • "Real courage is found, not in the willingness to risk death, but in the willingness to stand, alone if necessary, against the ignorant and disapproving herd"

    Jon Roland (1976)

  • We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public"

  • "The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

    Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Taylor - 1816)

  • “The Nine most feared words – I am with the government and here to help”

    Ronald Reagan

  • “It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.”

    Robert Green Ingersoll

  • "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt"

    Abraham Lincoln

  • "History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected peoples to carry arms have prepared their own fall"

    Adolf Hitler (1939)

  • “Success in business, as in life, requires character, confidence, consistency, commitment and courage. It's a marathon, not a sprint"

  • "The purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the First Amendment"

  • "If Mother Nature doesn’t get you, Father Time will"

  • “Be truthful … Truth leads to trust”

  • "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much"

    Ronald Reagan

  • "A government that requires "integrity provisions" is by definition past the stage where they will do any good."

    Mark Steyn

  • "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good."

    George Washington

  • “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty."

    James Madison

  • "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government"

    James Madison

  • "There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

    George Orwell

  • "Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy"

  • “There are severe limits to the good that the government can do for the economy, but there are almost no limits to the harm it can do”

    Milton Friedman, Nobel laureate

  • “If you laid all the economists in the world end to end, they would not reach a conclusion”

  • “Live your life so that whenever you lose, you are ahead”

    Will Rogers

  • "Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it"

    Harry S. Truman

  • "Going to law is losing a cow for the sake of a cat"

    Mark Twain

  • "The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "If it weren't for my aversion to lying, I’d go into politics."


  • "If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates"

    Jay Leno

  • “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself”

    James Madison

  • "Ask not that GOD be on our side, insist that we be on His"


  • "There has never been a golden age of liberty, and there never will be. People who value freedom will always have to defend it from those who claim the right to wield power over others."

    David Boaz

  • "If you're not out there upsetting idiots, you just might be yourself an idiot"

    Ted Nugent

  • "I know of no way to judge the future but by the past"

  • "We are a government of laws, and not of men"

    John Adams

  • "America's liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks"

    Doug Larson

  • "Al Gore proved that you can win the Presidential election without a single Southern state"

    John Kerry

  • “Nothing in the world will take the place of persistence … and determination”

    Calvin Coolidge

  • "Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late."

    Justice Felix Frankfurter

  • "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying,"

    Saint Pope John Paul II

  • "Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born"

    Ronald Reagan

  • "One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors"


  • "Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration"

    Thomas Edison

  • “When the power of Love overcomes the love of Power, the world will know PEACE”

    Jimi Hendrix

  • "Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them"

    Frederick Douglass

  • “To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will."

    Ronald Reagan

  • "Every time Congress makes a joke, it’s a law. And every time it makes a law, it’s a joke"

    Will Rogers

  • "Tis better to be ignorant and happy, than informed and upset"


  • “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of anyone else”

  • "Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production"

    Ayn Rand

  • "Some goals are so worthy, it's glorious even to fail"

  • “If no American voted on election day, what would Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory be?”

  • "Today is tomorrow’s past"

  • "In the age of information, ignorance is a choice"


  • "With each failure, you move one step closer to success. It’s when you give up that you truly fail."

    Pat Flynn

  • "We now have more people in the business of preparing tax returns than we have in the … army”

    Dick Cheney

  • It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."

    Ronald Reagan

  • "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • “There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • "It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people."

    Richard Henry Lee, signer of Declaration of Independence

  • "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak"

  • "If the continued existence of mathematics depended on the ability of the Republicans to defend the proposition that two plus two equals four, that would probably mean the end of mathematics and of all the things that require mathematics.”

    Thomas Sowell

  • "America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • "Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity"

    Karl Marx

  • "It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously"

    Oscar Wilde

  • "Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

    Frederic Bastiat

  • “The tragedy in life is not reaching your goals, it is to have no goals to achieve”

  • “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

    Edmund Burke

  • "No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut"

    Sam Rayburn

  • "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

    Sir Walter Scott

  • "Media outlets exist not to inform us, but to influence us; not to educate us, but to enrich themselves"


  • “It’s unprofessional to confuse loyalty with integrity”

    Robert David Steele (CIA)

  • "Irony is a clear consciousness of an eternal agility, of the infinitely abundant chaos."

    Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel

  • "I have more guns than I need but fewer than I want"

    Mike Adams

  • “Only in Washington does a decrease in the proposed increase equal a spending cut”

    Larry Elder

  • "Heroes get remembered - but legends never die"

  • "The American constitution was designed by a group of geniuses, knowing it would be administered by a group of idiots"

  • “Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Spend other people's money as though it was your own"


  • "The most valuable thing you can spend on your children is your time"

  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

    Martin Luther King Jr.

  • "It is never too late to be what you might have been"

    George Eliot

  • “When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured"

    Mark Twain

  • “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”

    Alexis de Tocqueville

  • ”The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."

    Thomas Jefferson

  • “A goal without a plan is just a wish”

    Larry Elder

  • "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

    Matthew 16:26

  • "Only an educated and informed people will be a free people"

    John F. Kennedy

  • “Our forefathers made one mistake. What they should have fought for was representation without taxation”

    Fletcher Knebel, Historian

  • “A woman's outfit should be like a barbed-wire fence - serving its purpose without obstructing the view.”

    Sophia Loren

  • “One must indoctrinate a child while he still fits width-wise on the bed.”

    Soviet Union saying

  • “The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, ‘See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.’”

    Harry Browne

  • "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"

    Mao Tse-Tung

  • "It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge."

    Enrico Fermi

  • "Never allow success to go to your head, nor failure to your heart."

  • "Those ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it."

  • "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

  • “Ignorance is an asset, when common among the majority.”


  • “It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.”

    Henry Louis Mencken

  • "Democracy is the road to socialism."

    Karl Marx

  • "When you want to help people, you tell the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell people what they want to hear."

    Thomas Sowell

  • "All receive advice - only the wise profit from it"


  • People once came to America to GIVE all that they had, to become all that they could. Now they come only to TAKE all that they can.


  • "I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees"

  • "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace"

    George Washington

  • "Statistics are not meant to inform, but to deceive"


  • "I love to go to Washington, if only to be nearer my money"

    Bob Hope

  • “It’s better to die a Hero, than live the life of a Coward”

    Charles Woods (father of murdered Benghazi SEAL Tyrone Woods) in a message to President Obama

  • "He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."

    Chinese Proverb

  • "Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."


  • “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try and take it.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  • "History will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening."

    Ronald Reagan

  • "It is said that all humor has a little bit of truth to it. Sarcasm, it is said, often contains a lot of truth with the thinnest veneer of humor."

  • “One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a Congress”

    John Adams

  • "A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain"

    Mark Twain

  • "Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not advice, it is merely custom"

    Mark Twain

  • "Look at yourself, like yourself, and find the positive"

    Dana Buchman

  • "If you really want to judge a man's character, give him power"

  • "Life is not measured by the breaths that we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!"


  • "If we only wanted to be happy it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, which is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are"

    Charles-Louis de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu

  • "Debt is the worst poverty."

    Thomas Fuller

  • "Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free."

    Jerry Pournelle

  • "You can't have freedom of speech, and at the same time have people not being offended"

    Rush Limbaugh

  • "You don’t get ahead in life by looking into your rear view mirror"


  • “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws”

    Mayer Amschel Rothschild

  • "If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom, and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too."

    W. Somerset Maugham

  • "A day without laughter is a day wasted"

    Charlie Chaplin

  • "Public sector employment....... because it sure beats work."

  • "The irony of life is that, by the time you're old enough to know your way around, you're not going anywhere."

  • "There are two ways of doing things: the right way, and the way they do it in Washington"

    Ronald Reagan

  • "When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope we use"

    Joseph Stalin

  • "Comedy is tragedy plus time"

    Woody Allen

  • "The power to unite is stronger than the power to destroy"


  • "Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest."

    Mohandas Gandhi

  • "In Washington, second guessing has become second nature"

    George W. Bush

  • "Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine"

    Lord Byron

  • "It’s not really lying if you know I’m not telling the truth."


  • “A man's reputation is the opinion people have of him; his character is what he really is."

    Jack Miner

  • “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”

    Proverbs 17:28 (NIV)

  • "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it."

    Frederic Bastiat

  • "The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it."

    George Orwell

  • “GOD may not lighten my load, but HE will strengthen my back.”

  • "People are difficult to govern because they have too much knowledge."


  • “I’m extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end.”

    Margaret Thatcher

  • "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you."

    Pericles (495-429 BC)

  • "Free speech is a two-way street, and if you use it, you'd better be prepared to dodge oncoming traffic"

    Doug Powers

  • "Truth will always fuel the embers of liberty"


  • "Until such time that compassion is measured by helping people to help themselves, we will only ensure the enslavement of others, in the very name of compassion"


  • "Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned"

    Mark Twain

  • "Continuing to do nothing and expecting things to change"

  • "The government that can give you everything you want, can take everything that you have"

  • "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left"

    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV

  • "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list"

  • "The surest way to destroy a nation is to debauch its currency."

    Vladimir Lenin

  • "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources"

    Albert Einstein

  • “He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked”


  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

    Nelson Mandela

  • "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

    George Washington

  • "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

    Winston Churchill

  • "And what is the state but a servant and a convenience for a large number of people, just like the electric light and the plumbing system? And wouldn't it be preposterous to claim that men must exist for their plumbing, not the plumbing for the men"

    Ayn Rand