Patrick Barron has a bit of a pie-in-the-sky idea for Detroit. Blogging at the libertarian Mises Institute, he wants to turn Detroit into a free city. I've got a better idea. Why not give the Cleveland Browns the Patriots' play book? That's bound to make them winners! First, here's the bit on Detroit.
All that Detroit really needs is economic freedom and secure property rights. Give Detroit its freedom from all manner of government, including the federal government. Declare Detroit a free city. (You can rest assured, Detroit, that America will come to your rescue if those bloodthirsty Canadians attack!) In other words, no one would pay any federal taxes whatsoever or be subject to any federal regulations whatsoever. Wouldn’t it be nice not to pay federal taxes, not even Social Security and Medicare taxes? Do the same with Michigan taxes. No taxes BUT also no federal or state aid either.Now let's take some of that text and apply it to the Cleveland Browns.
A Free Detroit would have absolutely no labor and workplace regulations, including minimum wages, mandatory insurance, equal opportunity rules, occupational safety rules, etc. People would be allowed to work together cooperatively for whatever terms their marginal productivity of labor will secure.
All that the Browns really need is a good game plan. Give Cleveland the Patriots' play book and opponent-specific game plans. In other words, no one would worry that the Browns were running inferior plays. Wouldn’t it be nice not to blame the Browns' staff for making stupid game plans?Can't you just see it? The Browns would dominate for years to come!
Err, maybe not. And maybe not Detroit as a free city, either. For the Browns, there's this little problem called "having no talent." For Detroit, there's this little problem called "self-destructive behavior." There are other, ancillary problems such as ruined infrastructure and no raw materials, but even with those, you need a decent workforce to make a free city a success. One that's burning down its own neighborhoods isn't quite up to the task.