Detroit Is an Example of Everything That Is Wrong with Our Nation. Back on July 18, 2013 the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Detroit is now seeing a little life, but the city is far from where it once was. Once the wealthiest city in America, known as the “arsenal of democracy,” Detroit was the fourth largest city in the U.S. in the 1960s with a population of two million. Now it has become an example of everything that is wrong with the American economy, Detroit has become nothing more than a devastated landscape of urban decay with a current population of 714,000 whose unemployment rate at the height of the recession was as high as 29 percent, and has only decreased due to the rapidly decreasing population.
Visiting Detroit is the closest Americans can come to viewing what appears to be a war-torn city without leaving the U.S. This former powerhouse is a barren stretch of land, devastated by looters and and full of run-down, vacant houses. Why Detroit's Collapse Was So Much Worse Than Other Hard-Hit Cities. The best CityRead of this month may be the New Yorker profile of L.
Brooks Patterson, kingpin of suburban Detroit (paywall). Patterson wears a number of hats — chief executive of Oakland County, sprawl lover, political loud mouth, unabashed Detroit basher — and is a controversial personality, to put it kindly. He has faced allegations of racism in the past, and reading Williams's profile it's not hard to see why: When I asked him how Detroit might fix its financial problems, he said, "I made a prediction a long time ago, and it's come to pass. I said, 'What we're gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.'" Whatever you think of Patterson as a person, he's been a successful executive for Oakland County by fiscal standards.
Billions in Debt, Detroit Tumbles Into Insolvency. Some bankruptcy experts and city leaders bemoaned the likely fallout from the filing, including the stigma.
They anticipate further benefit cuts for city workers and retirees, more reductions in services for residents, and a detrimental effect on borrowing. “For a struggling family I can see bankruptcy, but for a big city like this, can it really work?” Said Diane Robinson, an office assistant who has worked for the city for 20 years. “What will happen to city retirees on fixed incomes?”
But others, including some Detroit business leaders who have seen a rise in private investment downtown despite the city’s larger struggles, said bankruptcy seemed the only choice left — and one that might finally lead to a desperately needed overhaul of city services and to a plan to pay off some reduced version of the overwhelming debts.
Photo “The worst thing we can do is ignore a problem,” said Sandy K. The decision to go to court signaled a breakdown after weeks of tense negotiations, in which Mr. Detroit just filed for bankruptcy. Here’s how it got there. By Brad Plumer July 18, 2013 On Thursday, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy — the largest city in the United States ever to do so.
(Carlos Osorio/AP) To get a better sense of just how Detroit got into such dire financial straits, it's worth browsing through this May report on the city's finances and this "Proposal for Creditors" from June. Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr laid out all the problems and economic headwinds facing the city. For instance: — Since 2000, Detroit's population has declined 26 percent. . — The official unemployment is now 18.6 percent, and fewer than half of the city's residents over the age of 16 are working. . — Low tax revenue, in turn, means that city services are suffering. . — High crime and blight are driving even more residents out of the city. . — Detroit is sagging under decades of bad governance. . — Meanwhile, Detroit owes around $18.5 billion to its creditors. Further reading: --My colleague Michael Fletcher has much more on the Detroit bankruptcy.