Black people destroyed the city of Detroit and the Democrats want to ruin America, Rush Limbaugh claimed this week.
The conservative pundit, whose increasingly controversial claims are making national headlines as his show's distribution falls, said the black population of Detroit caused a 'white flight' from the urban center to suburbia, ultimately leading to the city's financial collapse.
But records show the white population of Detroit had already declined by 1.3 million between 1960 and 1967, long before the famous riots in Newark, New Jersey in July of 1967 that later spread to Detroit.
Limbaugh didn't factor this into his thesis. Speaking to Fox News' Greta Van Susteren, Limbaugh instead insisted that the civil rights protests in the '60s caused white residents to flee, with Detroit's first African-American Mayor Coleman Young largely to blame for causing the unrest in 1967.
Young didn't become mayor of the city until 1974, but Limbaugh squarely handed him the blame. However Young didn't support widespread welfare policies or the 'massive pensions' that Limbaugh said are the Democrats hallmark. In fact in the 1970s and 1980s Young was credited with keeping Detroit financially solvent 'by persuading city workers to accept cuts in salaries and fringe benefits and voters to approve a $96 million increase in income taxes.'
Records show the first signs of trouble for the city's automobile industry came in 1956, when they first saw a minor slump in their sales while the more compact and fuel efficient European and Japanese import sales doubled.
Gas shortages in the 1970s added to a new awareness of the problems of air pollution, safety, and fuel economy. After the second oil crisis in 1979, the rapid rise in gasoline prices ended America’s love affair with the gas guzzling automobile. In the interim the Japanese had consistently created more attractive and fuel efficient consumer products, undercutting Detroit's competitiveness.
But Limbaugh blamed the Democrats, not the big three car manufacturers.
'Detroit is left with nothing but liberal Democrats running it,' he said, claiming the Michigan city is a 'petri dish of everything the Democrat Party stands for,' with its unions, pension and healthcare for workers after they retire.
Census data from 2010 shows 83% of Detroit's total population is black — the highest percentage of African-Americans for any U.S. city.
Limbaugh said that the Democrats 'need a permanent underclass,' suggesting that the city's decline was their fault and not part of the larger failure of the city's automobile industry.