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Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

It’s Not Like We Weren’t Warned About Detroit’s Dire Future



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From the final Morning Jolt of the week:

Detroit Is Bankrupt. Time to Turn the Whole Thing Over to Omni Consumer Products.

The least surprising shock of 2013:

Detroit, the once-thriving Midwest metropolis that gave birth to the nation’s auto industry, is now the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy.

Kevyn Orr, the city’s appointed emergency manager, formally sought federal bankruptcy court protection on Thursday after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, approved the filing, deeming the decision necessary “as a last resort to return this great city to financial and civic health for its residents and taxpayers.”

“I know many will see this as a low point in the city’s history,” Snyder wrote in a letter authorizing the bankruptcy filing. “If so, I think it will also be the foundation of the city’s future — a statement I cannot make in confidence absent giving the city a chance for a fresh start, without burdens of debt it cannot hope to fully pay.”

In the letter, Snyder explained his decision by citing statistics that have hobbled the city’s operations:

• The city’s unemployment rate has nearly tripled since 2000 and is more than double the national average.

• The homicide rate is at historically high levels, and the city has been named among America’s most dangerous for more than 20 years.

• Detroiters wait an average of 58 minutes for police to respond, compared with the national average of 11 minutes.

• An estimated 40% of the city’s street lights didn’t work in the first quarter of 2013.

• Roughly 78,000 city structures have been abandoned.

Funny to think how much of Obama’s message in 2012 was how wrong Romney was for writing an op-ed that ran with the headline, “Let Detroit go Bankrupt.” (Romney was in fact referring to the Big Three automakers and the bailout of the auto industry.) Chuck Todd may not be able to believe it, but a lot of folks see the latest developments as one more sign that the president brags about improvement even as circumstances actually get worse — turning a blind eye to Detroit, unsustainable local and state spending, and overall urban decay.

Conn Carroll: “I love how the standard liberal reaction to Detroit going bankrupt is to blame all the missing people. Why do you think they left, geniuses?”

Still, people predicted a dystopian, anarchic, crime-ridden future for Detroit going back to the late 1980s. In fact, as we look back on those fears of the future, the obvious solution is right there, all along:

Oh, like a robot cop would make today’s Detroit any worse.


Tags: Detroit


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