Detroit is Broke

Friday, July 19, 2013

Detroit Skyline (Adrea_44/Wikipedia Commons)

Mark Binelli, contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Men's Journal and the author of Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis (Metropolitan Books, 2012) talks about Detroit's bankruptcy filing as we take calls from former residents.

Comments [18]

GB - ex detroiter from new york

LANSING โ€” An Ingham County judge says Thursday's historic Detroit bankruptcy filing violates the Michigan constitution and state law and must be withdrawn.


Jul. 19 2013 02:47 PM

I had this vision, with talk of all the downtown art deco buildings (on or near the river. Perfect for a large corporation, make financially beneficial arrangements to move to the city creating jobs, turn the art decos into coops using green economy to welcome employees and small businesses to support the area, almost like a self sufficient new small town with green spaces, good local school, a beach or park at the water, etc. Takes little imagination to expand this ides including the ability to create adjacent communities when another large business can move in and copy the original plan. One can dream.......

Jul. 19 2013 12:51 PM
Matt from New York, NY

I am afraid that the bankruptcy and new business interests in Detroit will benefit a very small group of people and destroy the city's unique resources.

Detroit is amazing city with a lot to offer our country. Here are a few examples:

1. Detroit has the highest percentage of black people in the country (84.3% from the 2010 census). It is a great place for black culture and one of the few bastions of black culture.

2. Detroit has some of the most beautiful buildings in the country that have miraculously avoided being torn down. Let Detroit keep that reputation and don't tear down those buildings.

3. Detroit is one of the most sustainable and lowest environmental impact cities in the country (partly a byproduct of its slow economy). There are people all over the world who would love to move to an urban area that features waist high grass mixed in among the buildings.

4. Detroit continues to host the most creative and influential music scene in the US for rock and electronic music.

I am very concerned that if there is an economic recovery in Detroit the 700,000 people who have been the heart and soul of the city and endured the hardships of living there over the last 40 years will not benefit. If property values do rise one person, Detroit's primary landowner Dan Gilbert, will be the main beneficiary.

Jul. 19 2013 11:56 AM
David from Fairfield CT

Detroit might be on its knees right now but it will come back. 30 years ago the same comments could have beeen made about NYC. As a kind growing up in the Bronx, my parents contemplated fleeing to the suburbs several time. Glad they didn't! Look at NYC now; everybody wants to live there. the same will happen in Detriot overtime. No place stay down for ever.

Jul. 19 2013 11:46 AM

Same story is happening in Paterson and Plainfield NJ....To a lesser extent in Newark.

American urban problems are a result of too many draws against too little income. Sound familiar? If average wages had held pace with GDP growth - rather than with the slower CPI - these cities would have the income they need. Income distribution, white flight, mismanagement and decline in manufacturing.

Need a place to start? Fix NAFTA, MFN for China, and tax policy that values return to capital more highly than earned income.

Jul. 19 2013 11:30 AM
The Truth from Becky


Jul. 19 2013 11:27 AM

this is a 40 year arc to bankruptcy

did you just say "would this be allowed to happen if Detroit was predominantly white?"...what a stupid comment

Jul. 19 2013 11:21 AM
seamus mcmahon from manhattan

Buffalo is another example of a city that lost it's population (down over 50%) and economic base. It is slowly turning around with investment mainly in education and healthcare (like Pittsburgh)

Jul. 19 2013 11:17 AM

Is the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation not picking up most of the unfunded pension liabilities?

Jul. 19 2013 11:15 AM

How about we sell Detroit to the Chinese? or the Saudis? America for Sale!!! Bargains with modern infrastructures and Very desirable resources!!!!!

Jul. 19 2013 11:15 AM

? I thought this happened years ago. They had 30 years to make a decent car and they didn't: boo friggin hoo.

So many other cities are struggling and they never had a crown jewel. This city's jewels were theirs to lose -- it took many of those suffering two whole generations! Imagine if Detroit had spent that time and $$ to create a car that isn't bad for the environment. Maybe the Chinese will figure it out.

Jul. 19 2013 11:15 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@Joe from nearby-

More tedious name calling from you ... mixed with the usual "let's seize the assets of everyone else" to pay for another Democratic Party urban nightmare.

Who's the troll here?

Jul. 19 2013 11:14 AM
Tim from New York

I grew up in Detroit. My family and I moved to New York City for different reasons a few years ago. We've been missing the "Old Detroit" for some time now. Feeling very sad today - but hoping for a resurgence.

Jul. 19 2013 11:13 AM
Adam from NYC

Listen few the pain that Detroit is going threw except those New Yorker who around during 70's.Remember we had President Ford kicking & screaming to help us out. Not fair that folks who once work City of Detroit do not get what a promise to them that they earn.

Jul. 19 2013 11:08 AM

Nice to see that the young people who are moving into Detroit see it as an opportunity (where others take the easy way out by throwing up their hands & giving up). These young hopeful energetic people are the city's real future.

Jul. 19 2013 10:55 AM

Detroit: evacuate, relocate, leave fallow.

Jul. 19 2013 10:44 AM
Joe from nearby

@Robert from NYC-
So you take delight in other people's misery? What kind of person are you?
Or are you just having some fun trolling on a message board?
In any event, you obviously have a serious case of pension envy. You can get help for that. You need it.

The BBC report put it's finger on the genesis of Detroit's problem- i.e. when Henry Ford built one town for his white (management) workers, which was outside the city & its tax base; and a neighborhood for his black (line) workers, which was within the city. Thus he exempted the wealthy one's from a financial commitment to the city. They had no skin in the game.

Yet another typical example of the 1% looking out for themselves at everyone else's expense. It's still in vogue today- even more so!

Jul. 19 2013 10:28 AM
Robert from NYC

Really? Detroit is broke? LOL Detroit has been broke for a looooooooong time. Detroit be broke baby, and as with everything else lately in this country we do nothing knowing something should be done until it finally goes off the edge and in Detroit's case that's bankruptcy. And who's getting screwed? The people who put into their retirement funds with the hope and promise it would be there for them. Well it ain't. Screw you retirees, what 're you gonna do about it?

Jul. 19 2013 10:04 AM

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