RUSH: Rich in Clarkston, Michigan. I’m glad you called, sir. Nice to have you with us.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. You are my political pastor and a gift from God.
RUSH: (laughing) Thank you, sir, very much, I appreciate that. I really do.
CALLER: It’s true, and you’re on my prayer list. Detroit’s decline actually started with capital flight and not white flight. It began with Detroit Democratic Mayor Drone Cavanaugh who was elected around 1961 or ’62, and with Lansing’s approval, they imposed a Detroit city additional income tax of about one and a half percent, a property tax of one and a half percent, and a utility tax. And so on top of all the regular taxes everyone pays, now Detroit had these additional taxes. So Cavanaugh saw himself like a young JFK and wanted to turn Detroit into an Oz, actually became an ooze, and the capital began with the wealthiest, who, if they moved out of Detroit, could save that three or four percent in taxes, and so then their property values dropped —
RUSH: Wait, hang on just a second. The wealthy were always in Grosse Pointe. What percentage of the Detroit population, the wealthy, actually lived in the city limits?
CALLER: Well, there is right downtown just outside the City Center are districts called Boston Street, and there’s huge mansions, and there was a lot of mansions like where the mayor lives in Manoogian Mansion, there’s a lot of wealthy areas, very wealthy areas still in the city. They’re declining, but they’re still there. So back in the day, there was Indian Village, and I can’t think of all the names of them right off the top of my head, but there was a lot of wealth in the city in homes. And plus their businesses. So their businesses got hit. Their personal property taxes got hit, real estate taxes. And so it was capital flight. I read this in an article at a local college I went to back in the nineties.
So then those property values dropped, and nobody with that kind of money was gonna move into the city and lose that kind of money due to the tax, and so all the property values began to decline, and so people just kept fleeing. And then of course the ’67 riots didn’t help and Coleman Young didn’t help and everything else you’ve been talking about, but that’s the real genesis of it is the capital flight due to the income tax. And the city of Pontiac and Flint also have these same taxes, and they’re both the same.
RUSH: But wait. You’re saying it in a different way, but I think that I covered this because the city, during the time you’re talking about, was completely segregated, right?
CALLER: I can’t answer that. I mean, I was a child at that time, and my dad worked at the Wurlitzer Building right downtown. It’s still there. It’s ready to come down.
RUSH: Well, but there was a lot of urban renewal that was taking place. This was prior to Coleman Young. There was a lot of urban renewal taking place, and all of the blacks ended up being crowded into very small neighborhoods. And there was racial tension in Detroit, I mean, look, I’m not disagreeing with you that money fled the city. Everything fled the city. Everybody that could get out, did, is the bottom line, for whatever reason. But after that happened, what is key about Detroit after the flight happened, nothing took place to reverse it.
It remained segregated, white versus black, poor versus wealthy. Wealthy was in suburbia and outside of town north of Eight Mile, and Coleman Young had his little fiefdom in town that was just going downhill rapidly, and he kept exacerbating racial tensions. I mean, I’m not trying to stoke any fire here, but I’m trying to honestly reflect what I’ve read about this period and what happened. ‘Cause I think it all combines to lead to this mess. And there’s no way to sugarcoat what happened or what is happening. None.
CALLER: Well, Rush, to this day, in 2010, the Michigan legislature, which was taken over by Republicans and Governor Snyder, had to approve the extension of that law, especially with Detroit’s declining population. So here, they’re still taxing the poorest of the poor. You’re driving through Detroit, and you’ve seen the pictures on television, but you’ve got these little old ladies living in these little rundown homes, and they have to pay this additional property tax if they’re working, and income tax and utility tax, and they need that money to fix up their own houses.
RUSH: Well, hey. Welcome to America.
CALLER: Yeah, but Detroit will never recover until they get rid of that tax.
RUSH: That’s not exclusive to Detroit. That’s happening everywhere. Governments are out of control, irresponsible, never have enough money, never tighten their own belts, and when they are forced to, they always threaten to shut down police departments and teachers and all these things. “No, no, don’t close my fire station, what if my house catches fire?”
“Okay, all right, we won’t, but we can’t cut the budget.”
“Okay, well, don’t cut the budget then.”
One of the outcomes, folks, of Detroit jacking up taxes so high, less than half of the Detroit property taxes are even being paid. The collection rate is abysmal. People just don’t have the money. There’s nothing they can do. You can send people a bill for their property tax, if they don’t have the money, that’s it. And the collection rate on property taxes in Detroit proper, 50%. Sorry, that isn’t workable.
I need to say something. By the way, thanks, Rich, for the call. I appreciate it. Detroit News, it’s a story: “Half of Detroit Property Owners Don’t Pay Taxes.” From February 21st of this year. Half of Detroit property owners just don’t pay their property taxes. If I didn’t pay mine I’d get kicked out. If I didn’t pay my property tax, my house would be auctioned on the courthouse steps. (interruption) What do you mean, they wouldn’t? It almost did. Let me tell you a little story so people understand that this happens everywhere. Not long after I moved here and purchased the estate — ahem — for a bunch of reasons, the property tax bill was sent to a financial firm in New York City, and the financial firm in New York City, some secretary, didn’t know what to do with it, so it just sat there. I never got the bill.
You get the bill in November here, and you can pay it all then or you can wait a month and it goes up by 2%, another month, and you have until May, I think, to pay it all off. It was early in my residency here, and I was not familiar with how the whole system worked, so I was not aware that the bill arrived in November so I wasn’t even looking for it. It wasn’t even on my mind. It’s ultimately my fault, but I want to tell you what happened. Three days before the due date, the final due date, I get a phone call from somebody who will not tell me who they are, saying, “If you don’t pay your property tax, your house is going up for auction on the courthouse steps, essentially, next week.”
And I had no idea what he was talking about. “Well, who are you?”
“I don’t want to say.”
It turned out to be a friend of somebody who worked in the assessor’s office. There were people in there hoping I wouldn’t pay it so that they could take the house away. It would have been auctioned. That’s what happens here when you don’t pay your property tax. They take your house away from you. So fortunately because this guy called, I was able to. I had to run down and get a cashier’s check for the amount. I had to hustle and get it done. And ever since that bill comes in November, I pay it. But I almost lost the property here simply because I didn’t know the system and nobody in New York knew what to do with the bill, didn’t know what it was.
I’m only tell you the story ’cause, Snerdley, said, “Nah, that would never happen. You’re too big to fail.” Wrong. There were people hoping — you know, little liberals that work there — they were hoping, that’s what this guy told me on the phone. I still don’t know who it was. I thought he was calling from the assessor’s office, I said, “Can I send you a check?” “No. I don’t have anything to do with it.” It took me about a half hour to figure out who he was. I thought he was coming from the assessor’s office. He was just a good Samaritan who had heard what was going on.
I wanted to tell you about Zev Chafets’ book. This is really an amazing story. I grabbed a copy of it. It’s called “Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit,” and my scan of this book has been my source material this week for explaining what happened to Detroit. The book is not in print. People have been trying to buy it, and, of course, it’s 23 years old. It’s out of print. Guess what? There has been so much interest expressed in the book that the publisher is going to reissue it.
Now, I’m told that’s gonna be two to three weeks. And I can’t keep talking about this for two to three weeks, so you people are gonna have to remember this if you want to get a copy of this book. It is written by Zev Chafets, who did the biography of me and Roger Ailes, biography of me is titled “An Army of One.” And it’s his contention that Detroit’s core problem isn’t liberalism or unions or the decline of the auto industry. Those are factors, but he said it’s race that led to Detroit’s current problems, including bankruptcy. And his book makes the case for it, and it’s quite an in-depth review of the mayoralty of Coleman Young.
So inadvertently I have been touting the book and people have been trying to buy it, and you can’t. But because so many of you have expressed a desire, they’re gonna reissue it, but it’s gonna take ’em two to three weeks. Now, I don’t know if you can preorder it, I haven’t looked. I don’t know that much, if it’s an e-book as well as paperback. I don’t know how they’re gonna reissue it, but they are. But it’s gonna take three weeks, so just be patient. It’s worth waiting for. Even if you have no relationship to Detroit, the fact that many people say that Detroit is a forerunner of what could happen in additional American cities, it’s informative in that context alone. Again, the title “Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit.”
RUSH: Man, this is incredible. Used copies of Devil’s Night are going for $2,000 and up on Amazon. Ha-ha-ha. Can you believe that? Used versions of Devil’s Night are going for up to $2,000 on Amazon. Now, what you can do, I’m told, is add the book to your wish list on Amazon at their website. So if you have an account there. Well, if you don’t, start one. But you get an account, add it to your wish list, and when it comes in, then Amazon will inform you.
But used versions of Devil’s Night going for $2,000.
I wonder how that happened. Used copies of a book are up to two grand.
By the way, I got a note. “Rush, auctioning off your house on the courthouse steps doesn’t apply in Detroit. The median home in Detroit is worth $13,000. Your house is worth more than the courthouse steps or even the courthouse.” Now, what does it mean? It means I could buy Detroit with my house? You know, I offered to move to Rio Linda if they’d rename it “Limbaugh, California,” and they said no. Maybe if I offered to buy Detroit if they name it Limbaugh… (interruption) Well, no, they’re not all $2,000. There are other copies for $325, but there’s one listed up there for $2,000.