In 1975, NYC was on the brink of disaster….bankruptcy. President Ford gave a speech that he would deny the city Federal assistance. Suggesting that the second largest city in the world at the time should be allowed to go bankrupt was not popular. President Ford went to an economic summit in Europe and was told by world leaders, that it would be viewed by the world if NYC went bankrupt that in essence America was bankrupt, resulting in a global financial calamity. Ford reconsidered and gave NYC a federal loan, which was paid back with interest…and now NYC…Times Square, etc….is the pride of our nation!
Today, Detroit’s debt is 18 billion dollars. On Thursday it became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy. While Detroit suffered for years under mismanagement and corruption, often under Democratic officials, today Detroit is fast becoming the most Libertarian city in the US. In many areas, there are basically no public services, decaying roads and bombed out infrastructure. 40% of the street lights don’t work at night, leaving a troubled city shrouded in darkness, where even police and emergency services have literally become optional.
And what is the Republican Governor’s solution??? Give up and fail!! By declaring bankruptcy they have wiped the slate clean, setting the stage to privatize and carve up city assets. In the process, city workers that have worked for 35 years and paid into their pensions are at risk of losing it. Yet…they can guarantee the $500 million bond for a downtown arena! I would hate to think what would have become of my father and mother in their old age if Daddy had lost his pension.
While conservatives want to blame the people of Detroit and the labor unions for the mammoth financial problems, I do not think that is a fair or full assessment. A city cannot lose 300,000 manufacturing jobs over the last 30 years and have a sustainable tax base.
Policies like free trade, outsourcing, withholding of State money from the city and deregulation of Wall Street which hurt the pensions and caused the housing crisis are all major contributors to the trashing of Detroit. When a city loses 90% of its manufacturing jobs, the tax base erodes resulting in reduced public services, reduced public safety and a depopulation of an area….more eroding of the tax base.
America should care about Detroit and should care about all our cities. After all….that’s where 80% of us live. Detroit is a great American city! We would never have won WWII if it wasn’t for Detroit and the American worker. We nation build all over the world! We spent billions and billions rebuilding Bagdad! Why can’t we invest and rebuild Detroit??? Where is our love for American workers? Where is our love for our community?
This is not a liberal or conservative challenge. The de-industrialization of Detroit and this country is an American challenge!
A give up and surrender solution is not worthy of our great nation!!