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Monday, July 22, 2013

Some Random Thoughts on Detroit.

I intend to do a long essay on the Detroit situation, but that will likely take until the end of the week, at the earliest. In the meantime, here are some random thoughts about it that I am playing with in my head.

1. When you are really a one industry town, you are 100% susceptible to the boom and bust theory that plays out at some point. No matter how big you are.

2. Detroit has pretty much been considered the most dangerous city in America for a long time by most Canadians, and tourists from other countries, and many within America, and many who live just outside Detroit. When you get a reputation like that, your city is basically dead.

3. When mostly uneducated workers are making 30 to 40 dollars an hour, as most were in the heyday of Motor City, if those jobs go away, due to whatever factor, you have the recipe for a slum. And disaster. You now have more than half of Detroit's population who are not employable above the poverty line. How do you fix that? I don't know, but it doesn't look good for this generation.

4. I find it shocking and an embarrassment that the President of The United States found time to comment about one murder in Florida, but has not found any time to speak about a major city going bankrupt, and what he plans to do to stop it, fix it or deal with it.

5. White flight is real and a very serious issue for America, which threatens to turn it right back into a segregated society again, even though nobody will call it that. When that completely plays out, the level of violence and crime we see now will only be a fraction of what we can expect.

6. Cities are not people or businesses. They cannot go bankrupt. Not if you want the financial system to support infrastructure building and repair, as it does now. You can't renege on your bonds. It simply breaks the system. There has to be another solution.

7. Funding pension plans that wont come to full fruition for another 40 years based on current economic activity that must continue to make the books balance is just plain insanity. If you can't pay that portion now, then you never will be able to pay it. 

8. The shocking reality is that while it is tragic that Zimmerman shot Martin in Florida, if this Detroit thing is not solved very quickly, there will be thousands of these types of shootings in Detroit and places like them that are on the brink of becoming just like Detroit.

9.  I don't know if Rick Snyder has the solution. But he is right. You can't keep kicking the can down to the next guy forever. Somebody is going to get stuck with the hot potato at some point. That point is now. It probably was about 10 years ago, but somehow it got kicked a bit longer and now the hot potato is a grenade.

10. Even though he doesn't want to do it, and really shouldn't, the President will have no choice but to bail out Detroit. Because if a city like that goes down, then the American dream is officially dead. And nobody wants that on their watch. The only question is what type of conditions he is going to add to the money when he does it. Once you bail out banks, and car companies, and mortgage lenders, then you have opened the floodgate. You can't say no once you have begun to say yes.

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