Nearly 100 years ago two young Detroit girls visited a now-vanished island park that had a dance pavilion, amusement rides, and swimming, and wrote that they were “having fun” on a piece of paper. Then they put the paper in a bottle and tossed it into the St. Clair River, where a diver found it last June.
They wouldn’t recognize the place today. Detroit, which grew and prospered for much of the last century, has become a wasteland of abandoned buildings, lawlessness, and municipal debts.
Somebody’s going to pay for that.
It’s not going to be the politicians whose decisions undermined Detroit. And it’s not going to be the industrial and financial executives who made bad decisions, yet retired with their full pensions and portfolios.
Who’ll pay the price for the fall of Detroit?
There was never going to be any other answer, not in today’s political climate: The bill’s going to the teachers who educated Detroit’s children. The gardeners who tended its public parks. The drivers who carried its people from place to place. The trash collectors who did the city’s dirty work at the break of dawn. They’ll be told they’re paying for decisions they didn’t make.
Those workers didn’t break the economy with Wall Street fraud and recklessness. They didn’t sign those trade deals, or eviscerate the union movement, or allow the ever-growing wage inequality that robbed Detroit’s cars of their markets, its citizens of their spending power, and its children of their hopes.
But they’ll get the bill anyway.
Scapegoats have been purged from societies since the dawn of time, and always for the same reason: so the people in charge don’t get blamed.
Detroit’s democracy has already been sacrificed. Under Michigan’s “Emergency Manager” law, the city has already lost most of its right to self-determination to an unelected City Manager. Kevyn Orr was appointed by a Republican Governor who represents precisely the policies that destroyed Detroit in the first place. He’s a viceroy for the corporate/political class.
The Looting of Detroit
By Richard (RJ) Eskow
June 19 2013