Mar 4, 2013

The State Takes Detroit

Photo Credit: Zach Fein
Michigan, it appears, doesn't like Democracy too much. Not anymore.

In Benton Harbor, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder placed Emergency Managers in power, in essence neutering the democratically elected government in 2010. [Link to Blasphemes article "Broke Ass Benton Harbor]

And, as predicted then, he's done it again - but this time on to Detroit.

From - Decaying homes in Detroit
Sure, the newly "placed" "manager" will probably be welcomed by the community, including the business community. specially since corruption and incompetence have run rampant in the Detroit city council for, well, how many decades in a row is this now? I mean, they're still trying ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for corruption.

To put it simply, Detroit faces $14 billion in long-term debt and an annual deficit of $327 million. Many of its 700,000 residents, which is less than half of its peak population six decades ago, are having trouble paying their taxes amid widespread poverty.

Despite the powers given to the new manager - they're going to have to kill UNION contracts, cut benefits, city pay, bus schedules, and cut the power to all those street lamps. This is what collapse looks like. Don't worry, they'll still have mayoral elections. They have to keep the facade up as long as possible. It's a load bearing facade.

Of course they plan to sue, you know, as an empty gesture - like being humped by your neighbor's neutered house pet.

But what are the larger implications of the collapse of a major US metropolitan city? Does it matter that the all three of cities (Pontiac, Benton Harbor and now Detroit) that were captured by the State predominately African American?

Book Tower, the 9th tallest building in Detroit,
is completely abandoned.
 “It’s dictatorship, plain and simple,” said Dennis Knowles, a city commissioner who sat in a darkened, mostly empty City Hall office the other day. (NY TIMES)

Yes, there will be cuts to all the collective bargaining agreements, the Unions will be crushed - firemen and police might be combined... it's almost a financial martial law, if you will.

Expect privatization of everything from EMT to corrections. Omni Consumer Products will probably be a prominent bidder.

But that's the short term.

Longer term issue here is that as millions of people are standing in line for hours in the hot Kenyan sun to cast a ballot - the people of Metropolitan Detroit have just lost their democratic rights.

It seems that Benton Harbor and Pontiac were the warm up to Detroit. Now that Detroit is in the hands of the State, is this merely a blueprint on how to successfully absorb and nullify a failed city?  The City of Bell, California will probably be taking notes.

How about a failed State? How soon until an Emergency Manager selected by the President takes over a bankrupted State - like, say, Michigan itself? Or Illinois? California? How about the other 32 states that are insolvent? 

Imported from Detroit, indeed.

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