Conspiracy Theorist: 6/30

Dayton isn’t Pittsburgh

But Dayton’s rulers want us to think it is

By Mark Luedtke

Like kindergartners playing pin the tail on the donkey with other people’s money, Dayton rulers have revealed their next ingenious plan to engineer Dayton into prosperity. Don’t worry. Even though every central plan they’ve tried over the last 50 years has failed, this time they have it right.

The Dayton Daily News reports, “Dayton wants to reinvent itself the way Pittsburgh transformed from a once-dying mill town into a thriving, hotbed of commercial and residential activity… On a recent weekday, about a dozen kayakers paddled along the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh, pausing to snap a cellphone photo of each other and the landscape.”

There you have it. Twelve kayakers, bike paths and crony projects transformed Pittsburgh from a broken-down, rust-belt steel town into a thriving metropolis. It’s a leftist fantasy come true. All Dayton’s rulers have to do is put a kayak run on the river, add more bike paths and cronyism, and then Dayton will magically transform, too. But not fast, our rulers warn, so don’t hold them accountable when nothing changes. Just trust them until you die, destitute.

Thank goodness Mayor Whaley had the vision to use the river as an asset. Nobody else thought of that in the 210 years since Dayton was founded.

Of course this fantasy is a lie. Like kindergartners, Dayton’s rulers don’t understand cause and effect. They expect the donkey to move where they want, so the pin goes in the right place. Investment and production always come first. Government can’t tax what doesn’t exist. Pittsburgh’s rulers didn’t revitalize Pittsburgh. No central plan revitalized Pittsburgh. Private investors revitalized Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s rulers used central plans to loot taxpayers and enrich themselves and their cronies afterward, just like all rulers have always done.

It’s not really that Dayton’s rulers are stupid. They think we are, though. They’re laughing at us. They know this central plan, like every one before, won’t work. Because every central plan steals money out of the economy from producers, wastes a bunch of it on greedy, unproductive bureaucrats then injects a smaller amount back into the economy directly into the pockets of cronies. This central plan is designed to enrich our rulers by stealing our money and making us poorer. They copied that part right.

If Dayton’s rulers really wanted to copy Pittsburgh to benefit us, they should start by cutting taxes. That would rapidly improve Dayton. While Pittsburgh’s income tax rate for residents is 3 percent, it’s only 1 percent for commuters. That incentivizes people who live outside Pittsburgh to commute into the city for work. That enables a thriving economy. In contrast, Dayton’s rulers punish commuters with a full tax rate for coming to Dayton to work.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania’s flat 3 percent income tax is significantly better than Ohio’s high, progressive marginal rates for people who earn over $40,000 a year, the middle class.

Because of the structural difference in taxes, twice the population in Pittsburgh creates nearly four times the wealth created in Dayton. Pittsburgh ranks 23 in Gross Metropolitan Product with 123,577 million, while Dayton ranks 70 with $33,858 million. Because there are so many more workers than business owners, Pennsylvania’s lower personal tax rates overwhelm Ohio’s advantage on business income tax rates. Pittsburgh has nearly four times the Gross Metropolitan Product of Dayton, even though it has only twice the population.

What this all comes down to is Pittsburgh has tremendously more private investment in Dayton, and that’s what revitalized it, not changing the curtains.

The DDN reports on another of our rulers’ crony-based central plans: “The plan proposes creating a free circulator, or shuttle service, to better connect the city’s assets, such as the University of Dayton, the Oregon Historic District, the Central Business District, Sinclair Community College and the Wright-Dunbar district.”

Newsflash: If you aren’t in one of those places, you’re not an asset. To paraphrase a famous “Blade Runner” quote: If you’re not a crony, you’re little people. You’re a cow to be milked to benefit cronies. If you’re a business owner, you will also lose customers to those cronies.

Thieving central plans, one after another after another, are destroying Dayton. They have been for 50 years. Over 120,000 people have fled. The DDN, not The Onion, writes, “Up to 50 new teachers in Dayton schools will get a $1,000 stipend next school year if they agree to live in the city of Dayton for at least three years.” Greedy rulers have made this once-great city so pathetic they have to bribe teachers to live in it.

The solution isn’t rocket science. Cut taxes so people will want to invest, work and live in Dayton.

 The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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