Thingish Things

Highland Park, MI, RIP

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Nov• 04•11


Highland Park, Michigan circa 1920 from the

Highland Park, Michigan should be a lesson to the various Occupy Wall Street protesters that big, bad, greedy businesses keep American cities — and families — alive. When they go, so go the towns they once occupied. 

In one of the most alarming stories of the day, The Associated Press reports that Highland Park, the former Michigan auto town, has shut out the lights — literally. The city cannot pay its electric bills, so it flipped off the switch.  In fact, even more dramatically, it has cut down scores of light polls, knowing that lights won’t be coming back on anytime soon.

You can blame greedy auto manufacturers for leaving the city, but that and two dollars will get you a cup of coffee these days. The fact is that  prohibitively expensive union costs and work rules chased companies out of towns like Highland Park.  They could have stayed there out of good will, but in time, they, too, would have had to shut out the lights because foreign competitors would make the same products more cheaply.

Once the auto companies left Highland Park, so left the delis and laundromats and taxi companies that served their employees.  Real estate values collapsed, and half of Highland Park’s population moved away. Who’s left?  The poorest of the poor. The ones who need jobs — any jobs — most.  And now, at night, they walk  home in the dark. 

What the people of Highland Park, MI would give today for just one corporate headquarters the Occupy Wall Streeters, day after day, so angrily protest. 

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