Detroit!

Much ink has been spilled over what to do about Detroit. Perhaps my favorite idea I’ve seen thus far is to turn it into a sort of “Free City“, a Hong Kong like libertarian paradise. But I have a different idea, one inspired by the near-death experiences of America’s newspapers, particularly the Boston Globe and more recently, the Washington Post.

I think we should sell Detroit to Canada.

Detroit sits right on the Canadian border, just across the straights from Windsor Ontario. So it’s not difficult to imagine it becoming a part of Canada. You would just have to extend the border westward a bit. The price would be paying off Detroit’s bondholders, which is somewhere around $20 billion, a price which Canada surely ought to be able to finance based on their GDP. Simply sign the treaty, put up a fence in the middle of the night around the border, and declare everybody inside to be Canadians, and just hand over the keys to Canada.

But why adopt this solution? What’s in it for the United States? For Canada?

Well, for the United States the benefits are obvious. America can rid itself of a failed city, full of leftist half-literate “voters”, criminals, collapsing buildings, etc. Selling Detroit would stand as a stark reminder of harsh punishments to be exacted for not maintaining your city properly. Imagine, selling Los Angeles off to Mexico, Seattle to the Japanese, Boston the the British. The precedent set ought to send shivers down the spines of the residents of these cities. It says to them, “You’re not welcome in this country if you can’t manage your own affairs.” And finally, in the specific case of Detroit, offloading that city to Canada would likely turn Michigan red, which helps garner better governance both at the state and at the national level as well.

What about Canada? Well, it would be an opportunity to own a storied city, and the home of North America’s automobile industry. Moreover, Canada, being a different sovereign, would have no obligation to the contractual obligations of the last sovereign. Having paid off the bond-holders, they would be free to dismiss pension obligations and return the city to solvency virtually overnight. With no history of institutionalized racism, they would be immune to the baiting of race mongers. Canada could right the ship in relatively short order, and have a beautiful functioning metropolis in no time at all.

So I don’t see much downside here. Anybody want to call the Canadian embassy and begin negotiations?

 
 

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