Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Drew Carey Series Soon

I'm really excited to see the series 'Reason Saves Cleveland', just five days from launch. As posted earlier, I am one of most of my friends who left Cleveland. Of my close friends, I was the last to leave. I moved to Indiana and gave myself an immediate, large raise, just because the taxes were so much less here- and Indiana isn't even my idea of a low-tax state!

Cleveland has been more or less controlled by Democrats and Democratic, liberal, progressive ideas for more than 100 years, starting with Mayor Tom L. Johnson. Those ideas have done nothing to save the shedding of more than half the city's population since 1950. I tried to build interest in libertarian ideas, but who am I, right? So, it's exciting that Drew Carey, one of Cleveland's most prominent favorite sons, who also left town for better opportunities, is the face of this Reason documentary. I don't think Cleveland would give it a serious look if it weren't Drew Carey.

On Monday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer put the series on the front page, above the fold. Here's an online version's highlights:
Cleveland's woes -- population loss, failing schools, lack of economic spark -- are no joke to comedian and native son Drew Carey, who advocates for less government, more competition and lower taxes to bring the city back.

Carey took time off from his gig as host of TV's "The Price Is Right" to help produce and star in a series of Web reports detailing Cleveland's woes and a number of proposed fixes that will be launched next week on, the Internet arm of the nonpartisan, libertarian-leaning Reason Foundation, on whose board Carey serves.

Carey established three years ago and has developed a number of short Web documentaries to highlight government's heavy-handedness. Now, the lens turns to his hometown with a six-part series called "Reason Saves Cleveland." It comes on the heels of Cleveland's "most miserable city" ranking by

The series, reported and produced by's editor Nick Gillespie, explores problems in Cleveland and other rust belt cities and offers solutions using examples from other cities -- such as Houston -- that are enjoying success and population growth.

Bottom line? As the Web site's motto reads, "Free minds and free markets." In other words, move out of the way, government. In a town like Cleveland, with big government bureaucracies, cumbersome regulations and old-school unions, the series argues, it's no wonder times are so tough.

Now, will Cleveland listen? Hard to say, especially in light of repeating failing policy for 100+ years. When I lived there, I always found myself muttering, "What will it take?" Maybe this is the thing. I hope so.


Doug said...

I wonder if Cleveland's ailments are heavy handed government or just rust belt legacy problems generally.

Are you aware of any manufacturing cities that have gone the free market, limited government route and saw the lot of their middle class improve as a result?

Also, seems like Cleveland had a resurgence of sorts in the 90s. Any sense of what caused that improvement? (Or maybe my premise of improvement is wrong.)

Mike Kole said...

Well, for that matter, are rust belt legacy heavy handed gov't problems?

My observation of the decline of steel mills in Cle puts blame on both management and labor- something most people are very unwilling to do. In my view, both sides took and took, never looking to the future. Labor priced itself out of the global market, while management failed to modernize plant. That's a simplified view, but boils it down pretty well.

The 90s Cle resurgence? Well, there were three new sports palaces built downtown. These wiped out a lot of run-down property, replacing it with shiny, new skyline landmarks. Coincidentally, the Indians were a great ball club in the 90s, and sold out Jacobs Field for consecutive seasons, bringing people downtown. Restaurant and club business rose tremendously.

As the Tribe has faltered, Cle looks like a ghost town at night again. The Cavs draw well, but it isn't the same for a winter sport in a city like Cle. People linger far longer in the Summer when the Tribe is hot.

The Flats was the big entertainment district. It's vacant today. Main reason? Lack of police visibility and patrols. Too many murders and smash-and-grabs led to suburbanites staying home. Even Fagan's is closed!

The schools are awful. Unemployment is high. Taxes are exceptionally high. Big wasteful projects are the norm, such as the Euclid Corridor ($100m to redesign the road so as to make it car-unfriendly, with bus stops in the middle of the road. Green! Yay!)

Pittsburgh is one city that changed, embracing newer technology. I don't know to what extent that is the result of private action or public policy. I'll have to look into it, because that seems to be one place that isn't clutching the non-existent past. They razed Homestead Works and moved forward.

Doug said...

Yeah, government regulation and corporate & union liabilities are some of the legacies. But, there are also other brownfield issues - pollution and old structures come to mind. It's usually easier to build new than to renovate old. That's why I was interested in whether cities with similar legacies as Cleveland had been able to rebuild to the benefit of its citizens by letting markets work more or less unfettered.