A Hollywood Republican
The Saga of Detroit and the Coming End of the Bureaucratic State
Detroit has been on a collision course with reality and now reality is here. Detroit is bankrupt and on its last leg financially. There was time that Detroit was one of our bigger cities but over the past half century, the population has decreased by more than half. There is nothing left but a hallowed out city which resembles a third world hell hole than a real America City. I remember being in Detroit in the 80’s and being five blocks from the convention center. I asked a hotel employee best path to walk and he looked me with a stern look, “Take a cab.” I told him, “Hey it is only five blocks, can’t be that long,” and he responded, “You may not make it alive.” I took a cab. A friend of mine mentioned to me that while she was asleep on a business trip a couple of years ago, a thief came in to steal a piece of the furnace from her hotel room. She felt she was lucky to be alive and She told her company “No more trips to Detroit”.
I have never visited a more depressing or a less exciting city than Detroit. It is a city of boarded up shops and is under receivership and headed toward bankruptcy. The key element is that as Walter Russell Mead noted in a recent piece, “Blue power is in big trouble in Detroit, where the threat of bankruptcy has both public sector unions and municipal bondholders at the barrel of a gun.” New York Times Mary Walsh noted that the Unions are seeking to have others take the hit while they keep hold of their salaries and benefits when she wrote, “The city’s proposals, which could give some bondholders as little as 10 cents on the dollar, are making some creditors think they would be better off in bankruptcy. They see the specter of a federal judge imposing involuntary losses as less ominous than it was for New York.…But city retirees, facing the prospect of sharply reduced benefits whether in bankruptcy or under Detroit’s restructuring proposal, think they stand squarely on the moral high ground because despite the poverty of many current and retired members, they have already offered big concessions.”