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Michigan State Senator Suggests Eliminating The City Of Detroit

Detroit has been a city with problems for decades now. Thanks in large part to the decline of the auto industry as well as the general trend of residents leaving northern cities for the Sun Belt, the city has lost a large segment of its population and entire areas of the city have been essentially abandoned. In the ten years between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, the city lost a quarter of its residents. Earlier this year, the city announced plans to turn off up to 40% of its street lights. It is, in other words, the poster child for a city in a permanent state of decline. Now, one member of the Michigan Legislature is proposing dissolving the city entirely:

LANSING (CBS Detroit) – It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones said all options should be considered — including dissolving the city.

“If we have to, that is one idea we have to look at. We really have to look at everything that is on the table,” Jones said. “Again, if this goes to federal bankruptcy, every employee down there will suffer, the city will suffer and the vultures will come in and take the jewels of Detroit and they will be gone.”

Local consultant Tom Watkins has proposed this in the past, but the idea has never played well among Detroiters.

(…)

Talking to Talk Radio 1270 host Charlie Langton, Detroit’s ex-communications chief Karen Dumas said she would not support such a plan.

“No, I don’t think that dissolution is the solution for the city of Detroit; I don’t,” said Dumas. “I think people … with every step we get more and more fearful … and maybe at some point that’s going to make everybody wake up and realize that we need to stop playing politics and come up with a solution for progress.   “I don’t know at what point that’s going to happen. “

There’s no doubt that Detroit is a city with major problems, and one of the main reasons for that is a political leadership that is either incompetent or uninterested in doing what’s necessary to turn the city around. Dissolving the city an putting a countrywide government in charge isn’t going to change much of anything unless major changes are made in how Detroit is governed. If that doesn’t happen then that city will just continue to decline further.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Politics and policies do have real world consequences.

    As far as what to do about Detroit — and Philly, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, Newark, Camden, and other liberal Democrat cesspools — the brutal reality is there’s nothing that really can be done. Once the cancer of leftism as policy sinks in and metastasizes the deleterious effects basically are irreversible.

    All part and parcel of the big decline.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 32

  2. Jeremy says:

    DISSOLVE ALL THE CITIES!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. JKB says:

    This is just the natural cycle. Historically, cities have risen and fallen. They rise when their location provides some economic benefit and die when that goes away. As Walter Russell Mead observed, the dense urban centers are an 18th, 19th and first half of the 20th century anachronism. They rose up when proximity was king but the freedom of the auto and truck permitted their inmates to escape. Worse still, their densification and NIMBY politics made being a center of rail and marine transportation untenable. But this was camouflaged by containerization and truck transportation which made moving the docks and railheads into the hinterlands a win-win.

    In the 18th century being close to ports and good rivers was crucial; in the 19th century the industrial revolution and the rise of the railroad created the hub and spokes model of city center and residential suburb that most of us instinctively think of today as the urban ideal. In the 20th century the rise of decentralized automobile based transit plus cheap electrical power promoted the rise of increasingly autonomous suburbs and cities like Los Angeles with relatively underdeveloped centers surrounded by massive sprawl

    As for Detroit, it should be broken up. Smaller communities could form more focused on the needs of the residents. But we shouldn’t let the lesson of the “Curley” Effect be lost. Pandering politicians plundered the golden goose even as it grew sickly from the changes in how the world works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  4. JKB says:

    It occurs to me, that Detroit being one of the first to die is ironic. Detroit being the center of the automobile development and the auto being the vehicle driving the demise of dense urban cores.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Based on your rant I glanced over at San Francisco to check. Hmmm. Still there. Still lefty.

    Last time I was in LA it was still there. Still very liberal. Ditto New York. Haven’t been to Atlanta very recently but still hear about it on the news. Seattle pretty much still fine and still left-wing.

    I could go on, but what’s the point? You’re a guy who names himself after a spineless, incompetent, anti-semitic, puszy-whipped ninny who managed to lose an empire and get his own family shot, so I think we know you’re not exactly with us in the reality-based community.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3

  6. Rick Almeida says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You are a fool. Chicago, Boston, and Philly are cities of which I am very familiar, and all of them are far more successful, safe, wealthy, and liveable than at least half of the South Carolina white, conservative, rural shitpits I see every day.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  7. Ben says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You’re just spewing crap with no regard to it’s factual accuracy. Boston isn’t in decline, buddy. It’s population grew from 2000 to 2010, and it has grown again in both years since then. And it’s GDP has gone up almost 50% since 2001. Put down the crack pipe Tsar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  8. Rob in CT says:

    Solid posts, JKB. I think that’s basically right.

    What happened to Detroit was largely about large forces outside of any one person’s, or governmental unit’s control. Governmental choices may have hurt as well, don’t get me wrong, but the trends are what they are. There was probably no way for the leaders of Detroit do resist. They likely could have managed the decline better, but that’s it.

    What worries me is that Detroit is a microcosm (an extreme one, obviously) of our national situation. This is why I refer to what I think are the better policies of the Dems as “palliative care.” I don’t think they have any way of halting or reversing the global trends that have been squeezing so many Americans. They can, at best, apply bandaids. At worst, they can order harmful “treatment” for the already ailing patient. Either way, we’ve still no answer to the underlying problem (of course, labeling the changes in question as a problem is something I do from my American perspective. To an East Asian, the changes aren’t so problematic). Absent a game-changer (technological breakthough of some kind), the best we can hope for at this stage appears to be a relatively well-managed decline for the middle class.

    Hrm. I am extremely pessimistic today. Or maybe I just need lunch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: How odd – when I lived in Boston from 2007 to 2009, the subways were functional, the public parks were beautiful and well-maintained, the museums were gorgeous and world-class (and generally had free admission at least one day per month), the food was great, the economy was stable due to industry diversification (healthcare, computing, biotech, higher ed, and finance – all well-paying sectors), gay people were full citizens, and the public library was one of two public libraries in the country considered to be full research libraries (NYC’s is the only other one).

    I only left for Austin because I have crippling Seasonal Affective Disorder. Boston is a gem of a city. I’d love to live there again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @JKB: I rarely agree with your analysis, so I wanted point out that I found this comment particularly insightful and interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County

    I’m sure the people who live in Wayne County are just going to LOVE that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Rob in CT:
    On what grounds do you predict a permanent slide for the middle class?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. @Rick Almeida:

    Chicago, Boston, and Philly are cities of which I am very familiar, and all of them are far more successful, safe, wealthy, and liveable than at least half of the South Carolina white, conservative, rural shitpits I see every day.

    This seems to be damning with faint praise. I’m familiar with Philly (which I live near) and Pittsburgh (where my brother lives), and Philly is a hole compared to Pittsburgh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Franklin says:

    I live somewhat near Detroit. Some of it was essentially beyond their control, as JKB and Rob in CT correctly assert. But there’s been a level of corruption that citizens have been too blind to see, and naturally they don’t trust any outsiders that point it out. I believe Mayor Bing to be a good guy, but the city council won’t let him do anything useful; they’ve got their same old cronies to protect as they always have. Kwame and Coleman are gone, but their legacy remains.

    Any real solution will get rid of the current city council. I know it’s “undemocratic” (like the emergency manager law), but something new has to be done.

    Oh, and as usual Tsar has no idea what he’s talking about. It’s the corruption that’s the problem, and that’s not bound to any particular party. It can, however, develop when there’s no real competition from the opposition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Rob in CT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As I said in my last post, it’s possible that I’m basing it on low blood sugar :)

    However, let’s say it’s not that. Here’s the argument:

    Cheap overseas labor + automation + overleveraged households. Some of the “standard of living” of the American middle class was an illusion. It was really falling or at best stagnating for many. The response was to encourage people to borrow more and pretend that’s the same as actually having purchasing power via higher wages. It was papering over the problem. It didn’t last. We’re now deleveraging, but without a tighter labor market that results in higher employment and rising wages, I have trouble seeing that getting far. The other option is serious redistribution, but that’s not on the table. Even you and I would balk.

    We’re still bleeding money in trade. More $ in imports than in exports (roughly $42 billon per month). This has been going on for a long time, but it absolutely exploded in 1997. It fell during the worst of the recession, but it’s back up again and rising.

    This cannot stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Dave Schuler says:

    Rather than jerking our knees all over the place it might be prudent to consider what’s best for the people still living in Detroit. That’s a population of just under three quarters of a million people, down from its maximum of 1.7 million. Still a major city.

    I don’t know what’s best for the people of the city of Detroit. It might be that releasing presently incorporated areas makes sense. It might be that dividing the city makes sense. It might be that making its entire area unincorporated makes sense. I just don’t know enough about local conditions to make the judgment.

    I suggest that deciding what’s best for the people of Detroit is something best left to the people of Detroit, Wayne County, and Michigan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. edmond says:

    Well, if we want to run our government “like a business” shouldn’t Detroit’s inept management be due a bonus?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hostess-seek-approval-executive-bonuses-125545163.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  18. Just some guy says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Once the cancer of leftism as policy sinks in and metastasizes the deleterious effects basically are irreversible.

    Man… You’re really a dick.

    I know that you are trolling for effect, but… just a dick.

    So, let’s ignore how the auto industry changed, or how those corporations benefitted by the massive relocation of undereducated Americans from the south to work in the factories…

    Because, well, teaching a pig to dance, there is no time for this folly.

    OK…

    As a former Detroiter, this is not the first time various plans ideas have been brought forth.

    One idea, 10+ years ago, and a very reasonable one, was relocate people from areas that have little population, and let the areas return back to the state as state park land.

    The challenge with this is that Americans really love their piece of dirt on which they have paid their mortgage, so that didn’t fly.

    Now this article says turn it back over to the county.

    So, since Detroit is a HUGE part of Wayne County… this really accomplishes nothing.

    Now, if we wanted to be all bootstrappy, then we could say, carve it up into smaller towns and let local folks manage their own towns/neighborhoods.

    But face it: we are not just talking about urban core failure, we are also talking about suburbs failing too (and those include primarily WHITE and CONSERVATIVE towns like Utica).

    So, it comes down to this:

    Just like a strip mall where all the anchor stores left, you get to the point of diminishing returns.

    The relocation and parkland thing looks better and better.

    Finally, there are those who realize that the land and homes there can be had for a song, and are actually moving BACK to areas of Detroit.

    See:

    http://www.metafilter.com/122238/Dont-call-it-a-comebackIve-been-here-for-years

    But, I understand Tsar. It’s far easier for some to just be a snarky dick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  19. @Rob in CT:

    More $ in imports than in exports (roughly $42 billon per month).

    The only way you can really believe that our imports are higher than our exports is if you believe the rest of the world for some reason likes us so much they’re willing to send us free stuff and get nothing in return.

    The reality is that the definition of imports and exports is faulty, so that much of the stuff we sell to the rest of the world (like media, education, etc.) isn’t count as exports.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  20. Rick Almeida says:

    Oh, and since nobody has mentioned it yet:

    Isn’t this where OCP comes in?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. Rob in CT says:

    Are you seriously arguing that in reality we have no trade deficit? It’s all an illusion created by faulty accounting?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. LaMont says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Very thoughtful observation! I live in the Detroit area so this topic is very near and dear to me. Detroit is indeed a microcosm of this nation. The downfall had very little to do with “liberal policy” and more to do with the fact that the area was severely depended on Ford, GM, and Chrysler. So it is of no surprise to anyone that when these companies began to become grossly mismanaged, Detroit would take a huge fall. Detroit also suffered from a serious case of racial conflict during the late 50s throught the 60s which is what ultimately started Detroit’s decline. As many African Americans traveled up north (to Detroit) from the south to work in the auto industry many whites left the city headed to the suburbs. This time is known as the “white flight”. As whites left the city so went the resources (i.e. the first shopping mall in America was constructed outside the city of Detroit as more residents left the city during this time). From the 70s to the late 90s the only thing that sustained the city was the big three (Ford, GM, and Chrysler). However, as I mentioned above, the big three became too large and terribly mismanaged resulting and layoffs that had already begun well before the meltdown in 2008 (also thanks in no small part to shipping jobs overseas and foreign auto competition that tore into marketshare).

    Politics probably had less to do with Detroit’s decline given the context of what occured in Detroit’s hiistory. However, politics has very much to do with Detroit’s inability to rebound as there is a constant power struggle for control between political leaders outside the city and political leaders inside the city at the exspense of those that live in the city. The lack of compromise and cooperation from the leaders on both sides has been stifling to those that remain in the city.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  23. @Rob in CT:

    Well do you seriously believe some other country is giving us stuff for free? If so, who?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Rick Almeida says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    What the aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks are you talking about?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I’m thinking along those same lines, roughly, but I don’t think it means the end of the middle class. I think it may mean the re-definition of the MC and more redistribution. There may not be an appetite for it, but I think it will prove necessary just the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Dave Schuler says:

    Sounds like an opportune time to (briefly) explain how international trade works. People send us stuff. An electronic transaction takes places crediting their account for the stuff. The accounts are denominated in dollars. The people who sent the stuff can then use the dollars to buy stuff from us, crediting our accounts, or to buy U. S. Treasuries. China, for example, has about $1.2 trillion in Treasuries that were bought in just the way I’ve suggested. We pay interest on the Treasuries.

    Other countries doing this: Saudi Arabia, Japan, Thailand. Any number of others. Just about every country with whom we’re running a merchandise trade deficit.

    According to international agreeements these countries aren’t supposed to hold large dollar-denominated accounts, i.e. they’re suppose to limit their dollar reserves. They don’t do it because that keeps their currencies cheap relative to the dollar and we import more.

    So, yes, people send us stuff for “free”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Dave Schuler says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The one amendment that I’d make to your scenario is that most redistribution doesn’t take place between the wealthiest and the poorest or between the wealthy and the middle class. Redistribution is taking from one group of people in the top 10% of income earners and giving it to another group within the top 10% of income earners. On behalf of the poor and the middle class, of course.

    That’s where I agree with Rob in CT. Unless we make major changes (and I don’t simply mean redistribution) we’re very likely to have a much smaller middle class, a large lower class, and a tiny upper class that administers the whole shebang. On behalf of the poor and the middle class, of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Dave Schuler:
    Nevertheless the benefits do go to the poor and middle-class. Welfare, food stamps and Medicaid are obvious. Less obvious things like police, libraries, schools, all benefit the poor and middle class and are paid for from the taxes collected from wealthier folks. If we expect to maintain a civilization in the US I suspect — granted that predicting the future is a tough game to win — we’re going to be taxing the lucky a bit more and subsidizing the less fortunate a bit more through taxes and minimum wage adjustments. It’s why I laugh at libertarians — I think they’ve confused the past with the future.

    But I also think our concepts of what constitutes a middle class are changing. It’s long been caught up in notions of single family homes and picket fences and two car garages, and none of those are sacred. We may be evolving to a less materialistic, less consumption-obsessed society. The new middle class may not have a regular job, a house in the suburbs, a sedan and an SUV, they might have an energy-efficient apartment in a city with a bike and a zipcar account. They’ll give up a lawn (and lawn maintenance) but have access to all the codified knowledge of homo sapiens at the press of a key. They may not have a 9-to-5 job, they may get work in bits and pieces through networks that match skills to work.

    The one thing I’m fairly confident of is that we are not on our way to some Randian libertarian paradise. Rather the opposite direction. We’re going to need to make some adjustments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. @Dave Schuler:

    Only if you assume a treasury security has no value. Which obviously isn’t the case or people wouldn’t be buying them. So again, our export figure doesn’t include the full value of the goods and services we sell to other countries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. @michael reynolds:

    The one thing I’m fairly confident of is that we are not on our way to some Randian libertarian paradise.

    Obviously, since “Randian libertarian” is a contradiction in terms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. Dave Schuler says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Welfare and food stamps I’ll grant you, although welfare from the federal government is actually quite limited these days. Food stamps cost the federal government about $72 billion in FY 2011.

    Medicaid I dispute. I don’t think that the poor are receiving $275 billion worth of value for the $275 billion that was spent in 2011. Money is being taken from taxpayers (the rich) and given to healthcare providers not to the poor.

    Even granting welfare, Medicaid, and food stamps that’s a small fraction of the $1.4 trillion budget. As I say, redistribution is not to the poor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. Dave Schuler says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    We can produce an infinite amount in Treasuries without any additional labor being required. The more Treasuries we issue to foreign purchasers (rather than selling them goods or services) the worse our jobs picture is going to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Rick DeMent says:

    Being a metro Detroiter myself I would add a few other things to what some others have said. One of the biggest mistakes Detroit made was a long time ago the car companies decided that Detroit would be a car town. No mass transit infrastructure. no light rail going into the downtown area facilitating free travel between the city and the burbs. Sure other cities had “white flight” but with a mass transit infrastructure the non-whites could easily follow the jobs. Cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and others had that transit infrastructure keeping downtown viable. If you look at the Detroit area you can see the ripple effect of development pushing out. Southfield, Novi, Troy, Auburn Hills all have skylines with huge buildings as developers figured out that they could build anywhere because there was no transit infrastructure that held anyone back. Cities like Warren and Sterling Heights, Dearborn, Southfield, have huge populations because there was nothing holding people to Detroit.

    Flint went though this already, people just left when the manufacturing shut down and new business spread out and defused. Other cities which keep the mass transit also keep the downtown as a focal point of commerce. But don’t think we are not paying the price for urban sprawl. As soon as the inner ring cities started getting crowded then people moved out again abandoning the infrastructure that was built to accommodate the sprawl. That development was abandon because it’s easier to make money in a boom town then rebuilding on brown space. Now we have communities like Auburn Hills, Clarkston, and Lake Orion on the far outer ring that just got done building infrastructure to accommodate the development in the late 80′s and 90′s that is suffering the same fate because the Automation Ally companies are going belly up and property values are sinking like a stone.

    Was there corruption and mismanagement in Detroit? Sure but that isn’t why Detroit is in the fix they are today, it’s because of a mono economy and a state that bent over backwards to accommodation that one industry and it’s also a good look at what you get when the job creators run the show, it’s the corporations calling the shots, no ability of the local government to enforce basic zoning, and urban sprawl allowed to run unabated. It’s less to do with local governments being corrupt and everything to do with the monied interests being able to push around state and local government to the point where they can do whatever makes them the most money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  34. michael reynolds says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    But it’s inevitable that someone provide health care services that the poor receive, and given the educational and credential requirements, yeah, the doctors and techs will be higher income. There’s no way for a dollar of tax to become a dollar of health care without paying a doctor, so I don’t think the point has much weight. Could it be more efficient, could more of the dollar be used effectively, no doubt.

    The poor and MC also benefit from the rest of what we spend — DoD, FDA, FBI, VA — without having to pay for it. The benefits of society are enjoyed to varying degrees by all, but not all are paying the tab, that’s redistribution from the few to the many. They are still benefitting from a civilization they don’t directly pay for. Their food is still safe, planes aren’t falling out of the sky on their heads, Canadians aren’t raiding over the border and taking their livestock, etc…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. LaMont says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Very interesting how Downtown Detroit ceased to become the focal point of the area. The example I gave regarding the first shopping mall being located outside Detroit (Northland Mall in Southfield) was the beginning of the end for the Hudson Building downtown. Many business leaders (Mike Illitch and Dan Gilbert to name a couple) are now trying to invest in businesses concentrated in the downtown area but the repercussions of businesses leaving has done its damage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. @Dave Schuler:

    We can produce an infinite amount in Treasuries without any additional labor being required.

    Ah, but now you’ve switch from a discussion of our exports to the discussion of the labor required to produce goods and services. That’s a completely different argument and has nothing to do with our supposed balance of trade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Mikey says:

    @Rick DeMent: As a native of the Detroit area (although transplanted to NoVA in 2003) I think you’ve given a pretty good synopsis. For those who aren’t familiar, Metro Detroit has no mass transit worth mentioning. There are some bus lines, sure, and there’s a monorail system that just makes a loop around downtown (the “People Mover,” known locally as “Coleman’s Train”), but there’s no subway or light rail that goes to or through downtown Detroit.

    Consequently, most business development has occurred in the suburbs. Detroit’s business tax structure and “commuter” tax (you pay city income tax even if you live elsewhere but just work in the city) have pushed a lot of business, and its tax revenue, out to Southfield, Dearborn, and points north and west.

    There isn’t a whole lot going on after-hours, either. People don’t go downtown to hit the clubs, they go to Ferndale or Royal Oak or Pontiac.

    And believe it or not, of the “Big Three” auto manufacturers, only one (GM) actually has its headquarters in Detroit. Ford is in Dearborn and Chrysler in Auburn Hills. Speaking of Auburn Hills, that’s where the “Detroit” Pistons basketball team plays…hey, it’s only about 30 miles from Detroit, what’s the big deal?

    I was in the Detroit area last week for my Dad’s funeral. The northern ‘burbs seem to be doing pretty decently. I noticed some new businesses opening up and a lot more IT-related stuff in Troy than I remembered from our previous visits. But Detroit itself is still a basket case. Between the collapse of the American auto industry (into which basket Detroit, and by extension the state of Michigan, had placed all its eggs) and the corruption and incompetence of the City Council, I am not sure anything will get fixed in my lifetime.

    But at least we still have the Red Wings. Oh, wait…stupid lockout.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Mikey says:

    @LaMont:

    The example I gave regarding the first shopping mall being located outside Detroit (Northland Mall in Southfield) was the beginning of the end for the Hudson Building downtown.

    Wow, that’s true–I had forgotten about that.

    I remember my mother being very sad when the J. L. Hudson downtown closed. She and my grandparents used to go down there when she was a kid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. Ben Wolf says:

    @Stormy Dragon: No, what Dave is saying is that so long as we sell Treasurys we give foreign exporters a risk-free savings vehicle for their dollars, encouraging them to undermine our trade balance. If we stopped issuing Treasurys, exporters like
    China would be forced to put their dollars into higher-risk private investments and would find accumulating large dollar reserves less pallatable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. @Ben Wolf:

    I agree with all that, but again you’re shifting the argument. In this case from whether trade is balanced to whether we should be focussing on different types of trade.

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  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @Stormy Dragon: By ceasing this particular export trade will rebalance. The two can’t be separated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. @Ben Wolf:

    That’s true of anything we export. If we stopped exporting cardboard, the foreign countries buying it would either have to buy something else or stop trading with us all together, necessarily causing trade to rebalance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. JKB says:

    @LaMont:

    I’m afraid the political, let say, maneuvering by Mayor Coleman Young to cause the “white flight” from Detroit was the most pervasive of corruption. He got his extended tenure but at the price of a Third World city.

    See this is from Edward L. Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer, “The Curley Effect,” May 2002:

    Other American mayors, but also politicians around the world, pursued policies that encouraged emigration of their political enemies, raising poverty but gaining political advantage. In his 24 years as mayor, Detroit’s Coleman Young drove white residents and businesses out of the city. “Under Young, Detroit has become not merely an American city that happens to have a black majority, but a black metropolis, the first major Third World city in the United States. The trappings are all there–showcase projects, black-fisted symbols, an external enemy, and the cult of personality” (Chafets 1990, p. 177).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  44. Rick DeMent says:

    @JKB:

    Yeah well that’s the popular version, but Detroit fate was sealed long before Coleman Young came along.

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  45. An Interested Party says:

    Ahhh, “The Curley Effect”…oh look who else wants to spread the Third World to right here in America…now, let’s see…what do these politicians have in common…hmm…

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  46. Whitfield says:

    What needs to be eliminated is the criminal/thug/gang element that has ruined Detroit totally and started back in the late 1960′s. Round up all of the career criminals, drug dealers, and gang members that have used that city as a playground and give them a one way ticket out of town: no trial needed, just don’t come back. Then you can clean up the town, tear down dilapidated buildings and “public housing” (one of the worst aspects ever of cities). Privatize the public schools. With this new image, scientists, researchers, artists, and top medical experts will be attracted to turn Detroit into a cutting edge center of technical, medical, energy, and electrical research and development; the best in the world. A true “renaissance” will take place.

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  47. LaMont says:

    @JKB:

    I’ll second what Rick stated. You have to understand the context of the times when Coleman A Young became the mayor of Detroit. By the time Young became mayor the “white flight”

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  48. LaMont says:

    @LaMont: @JKB:

    Oops! My mistake – allow me to finish.

    You’ll have to understnad the context of the times. By the time Young became mayor the “white flight” was in full affect and resources were all pretty much dried up. I would be the first to admit that Young’s combativeness did Detroit no favors but you’ll also have to understand Young’s history.

    Young was a victim of racial prejudice for most of his life. He was rejected for college scholarships because he was black. During World War II, he became a second lieutenant in the black Tuskegee Airmen division, and was arrested after organizing a sit-down at an officers club that would not seat blacks (just to name a couple well known instances where racial conflict occured in his life). Heck, the fact that he was a Tuskegee Airman alone should give you insight as to why he might have been so combative. Then he became the mayor of Detroit only after the City was left for dead wih no hope for outside help from the rapidly growing suburbs. There was a racial tension that did Detroit no good. But Mayor Young is far from the reason Detroit fell like Rome!

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  49. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: On the grounds that he’s a libertarian and doesn’t want to have to help people not named “Rob in CT?”

    Just a guess you understand…

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  50. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: So the new middle class will be sort of a high tech (and apparently much more content) version of the Victorian working poor. Got it.

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  51. bill says:

    i thought obama saved it? LOL, i can’t even comment on this inanity. we all know what’s wrong with Detroit and all those washed up rust belt cities that should have been buried long ago- yet they’re still on life support. it’s happening to the country now, and we still deny it.

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  52. bill says:

    This is an actual quote, and not a bad idea at the end. of course you’d have to convince people to move and such but wth?

    “We are in an environment, I think, of entitlement, we’ve got a lot of people who are city workers, who for years and years, 20, 30 years, think they are entitled to a job and all that comes with it,” Bing said
    .Bing said he wants to convince people in largely abandoned neighborhoods to move to more populated areas so there’s density and a sense of a tight-knit community again, saying, “So we can bring people and families together like it used to be.”

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  53. Rob in CT says:

    Question regarding the trade deficit: why the explosion in 1997? Was that some delayed effect of NAFTA, or was it connected to the stuff ya’ll are going back & forth about re: treasuries/dollar reserves?

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  54. al-Ameda says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Once the cancer of leftism as policy sinks in and metastasizes the deleterious effects basically are irreversible.

    That certainly explains why Red States are subsidized by “leftist” Blue States.

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  55. wr says:

    @Whitfield: ” true “renaissance” will take place. ”

    Yes, because nothing will attract top professionals like a city in which any citizen can be arrested and exiled with no trial, based only on an accusation by a government official. Freedom!

    Oh, wait. You mean that only those people will be rounded up and completely deprived of their rights? That’s fine then.

    But tell me, how do we know which are the right people?

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  56. Whitfield says:

    Those with prior records a mile long involving violence. Gives them a chance to start life over somewhere else. This used to be done long ago.

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  57. Franklin says:

    @bill: Not sure why people are downvoting that quote from Bing. Bing knows what he’s saying.

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  58. wr says:

    @Whitfield: “Those with prior records a mile long involving violence. Gives them a chance to start life over somewhere else. This used to be done long ago. ”

    You mean before we had a constitution and a bill of rights? Or do you mean in Mussolini’s Italy? Either way, I’m not sure why you’re pining for a day when the government could decide to exile anyone they decided was undesirable.

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  59. bill says:

    @Franklin: it’s me they downvote, it’s just how they are in here!

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  60. Mikey says:

    @Whitfield: Where are you going to send them? Muskegon?

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  61. Whitfield says:

    @Mikey: I would say anywhere south of the border, including Cuba.

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