The once bustling economically powerful city of Detroit Michigan during the mid nineteenth up to the mid twentieth century was well on its way down the road to municipal destruction and ultimate financial ruin in the fall of 1968 when I moved to and lived there while attending law school.
That was 45 years ago when the downtown neighborhoods were crumbling, race riots were raging, and the place arguably deserved the infamous title of crime and corruption capital of America.
Sadly, the proud motor city as it was once aptly known in its heyday continued to spiral down into a financial and cultural abyss to the bottom where it lies today. I’m actually quite surprised it has taken this long for the city to finally declare bankruptcy.
More than a third of its buildings are abandoned and 40 percent of its residents live in poverty. The city has long-term debts of at least $18 billion and the bankruptcy process could take up to a year.
Of course the cause of that freefall was precisely the same disease which plagues the entire nation today: statism, hubris and utter political incompetence. Politicians in the United States today have simply not learned the bitter lesson of Detroit.
And in Detroit, the politicians are still fiddling while the city burns. The city has one of the America’s few full-time municipal legislative bodies, a City Council consisting of nine parasite members elected to four-year terms.
Now, with their city in the throes of bankruptcy, one would think that these legislators might be acting responsibly with the goal to improve the financial mess and make Detroit a better place, but it should come as no surprise that such is the last thing on their minds.
Instead of doing their duty as elected officials, focusing on vital financial matters and an out of control crime rate, the members of the Detroit City Council are spending their time writing, voting and passing unanimous resolutions, for example, supporting a federal investigation into George Zimmerman and the Trayvon Martin-Zimmerman case that took place in Florida, six states and hundreds of miles away.
There have been 176 homicides in Detroit during the first seven months of 2013 and 5,853 aggravated assaults. This follows a total of 411 homicides in 2012, up from 377 in 2011, the second deadliest year per capita in Detroit’s history behind 1987.
But the Council passed a resolution calling for a federal investigation to see whether civil rights charges are warranted against George Zimmerman.
The politicians fiddle while Detroit burns.