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You Just Can't Give The Money Away
Mickey Kaus points to a Weekly Standard piece by Henry Payne about Robert Thompson, who tried in vain to give away $200 million for charter schools in Michigan, and NBA-great Dave Bing, who joined in to try to help him. No good deed, as they say, goes unpunished:

A group named the Call 'Em Out Coalition gave Bing a "Sambo Sell-Out Award" at its annual dinner for partnering with a white businessman. The award was bestowed by Democratic City Council member Sharon McPhail. And the Detroit Federation of Teachers expressed its displeasure with Skillman by threatening to end its cooperation with the foundation on other city school projects.

Nevertheless, under the Michigan charter-school law, the Skillman Foundation can now proceed to implement Thompson's plan. Detroit's poor should soon see the benefits of his gift--despite the blindness of the city's leadership.

If New Orleans is a lesson in the consequences of decades of governance that left too many destitute in the inner city, then Detroit is a lesson in how hard it is to bring reform to such cites. If Democrats continue to favor the interests of unions over those of children, the cycle of poverty will capture another generation in the inner city.

On the other hand, if they wise up, real opportunities for change exist. Across America, Thompson has counterparts, wealthy businesspeople bankrolling urban reform. The likes of Amway's Dick DeVos (another Michigan multimillionaire), Wal-Mart heir John Walton, businessman Ted Forstmann, GAP founder Don Fisher, and Netflix.com CEO and founder Reed Hastings have given hundreds of millions of dollars to the poor for scholarships and charter schools. After Katrina, cities should find a way to just say yes.

What's sad about Democratic sleaze is that it often looks less evilly machinating than violently moronic.

Posted by aalkon at October 3, 2005 8:12 AM

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