24 thoughts on “Detroit’s Impossible Situation

  1. ken anthony

    Detroit can become a great example of a post-blue city emerging from the ashes, but that won’t happen unless some smart people in both parties take the crisis as the call for creative thinking.

    Definition of creative thinking: finding new idiots to steal from. Separating responsibility from results is how this happens.

    Shoot all the smart people and Detroit could never happen in the first place.

  2. Godzilla

    Right. As if in California Arnold wasn’t governor for two terms. Of course it is all the Democrat’s fault.

    1. Robert M Mitchell Jr.

      Pretty dang ignorant there, Godzilla. The Democrats controlled both houses of California by huge margins before, during, and after Arnold’s two terms, and he was real clear that if the voters didn’t vote in his Referendums, he wasn’t going to be able to fix anything. They didn’t, and he didn’t. But he called the shot, yes? And we caught an open mike moment where a democrat admitted to working for the unions (the people who got us elected) as opposed to Californians. Pretty sure it is, in fact, all the Democrats fault……

  3. Dick Eagleson

    The California governorship is not an especially powerful executive position compared to that in a lot of other states. But Arnie tried to do the right thing early in his first term. He got several propositions on the ballot, lost on most of them and, after that, we essentially had Maria Shriver as our Governor. Arnie took up boinking the help as his main pursuit and pretty much lost interest in even trying to run the state gov’t.

    Between Jerry Brown’s first term – when he enabled state worker unions and the serious rot got started – and his most recent, and still on-going tenure, George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson were also two-term Republican governors before Arnie. You can see what a difference that made. The power is in the legislature and that’s been a Democratic monopoly since Reagan’s second term as Governor back in 1970 except for a hair-thin and quickly stupided-away temporary Republican majority in one house as part of the Republican mid-term tidal wave of 1994 in Clinton’s first term. That didn’t last.

    So, yeah, actually… it is all the Democrats’ fault.

    1. Leland

      Arnie took up boinking the help as his main pursuit and pretty much lost interest in even trying to run the state gov’t.

      Considering the age of the kid, I think Arnie took up that activity long before becoming governor. But we both digress.

  4. ken anthony

    Failure has a purpose. If that is not understood, nothing else can reasonably be argued.

    Bailing out failures defeats that purpose. Recovery will happen naturally when those that failed are replaced by those that fail less. Everybody fails from time to time. Not failing is not an option. The trick is to isolate those failures from wider impact. Centralizing guarantees wider impact. Forcing others to be responsible for these failures creates a wider impact and risk of larger failures (up to total failure.)

  5. Dave

    We’re talking about the California that’s running a budget surplus this year, right? The one with falling unemployment and a strengthening housing market?

    1. Edward M. Grant

      That’s the California that’s raising taxes and predicting they’ll bring in more than enough money to cover the deficit and the spending increase, isn’t it?

    2. a reader

      Educate yourself:

      The real score in California, however, demonstrates that the budget is not really balanced and there is nothing but trouble ahead.

      First, to use Jerry Brown’s own words, California has a “wall of debt,” which doesn’t include unfunded pension and medical liability – and that wall of debt is NOT included in the budget. The total amount of that debt is somewhere in the $27 billion range and includes over $10 billion owed to the federal government. That money was used to fund California’s Unemployment Insurance Fund, and California seems to have no plan to pay it back – a sort of “reverse” unfunded mandate, if you will.

      The fact that California began borrowing that money in 2009 demonstrates the fallacy of the prior claims of balanced budgets. The fact that it is kept off budget, like the other debt mentioned above, demonstrates the fallacy of the 2013-14 budget.

      1. Dave

        Yeah, I had read that article. Standard & Poor’s gives California’s spending plans a much rosier rating. So I guess it depends on who you want to believe.

        I find comparing Detroit to California — much less the whole nation — to not be a terribly useful exercise. Not just in terms of scale, which is obvious. Detroit has the problem of an aging, non-diversified economy that simply doesn’t apply to California, and an eroded tax base that — from where I am in Silicon Valley — is about as apples and oranges as it gets.

    3. Karl Hallowell

      We’re talking about the California that’s running a budget surplus this year, right? The one with falling unemployment and a strengthening housing market?

      Heh, looking at the replies to your post, Dave, I guess we’re talking about the other California. My advice here is that if you see similar magical turnarounds in the future from any seriously failing business, government, or society, it’s usually due to some sort of fraud or theft. Dig a little bit before you accept things as they appear to be.

  6. Sam Dinkin

    California is still growing albeit only slightly. Global indoor cooling is still resulting in population migration from cold to warm areas, but the taxes are decelerating the growth. Given property values there, the combination of high taxes and nice weather is still attractive to many.

  7. Paul Milenkovic

    According to VDH, the nice weather is pretty much along the coasts with stratospheric property values. Inland, maybe not so nice.

    Case in point. Someone in the NYT published an anti-A/C Jeremiad, ranting against using “global indoor cooling” to mitigate our deserved punishment of Global warming. One respondent chirped “I live in (Silicon Valley) where we get cool air from the ocean and I don’t need to run the A/C.”

    Well, good for you! I bet you also drive a Prius to save the planet by reducing your gasoline usage by, what, maybe 20 percent in gas over driving a Corolla that wouldn’t draw any attention to your personal virtue. You are one of VDH’s Coastal Elites who don’t need to run the A/C if you know how to operated the cranks on your windows, whereas those poor saps inland pay through the nose for those demand-curve electric rates to run their A/C so they don’t melt.

    1. Paul Milenkovic

      Not “good for you!” Mr. Dinkin, I meant a snarky “good for you!” for the chap who thought he was saving the planet by living in San Jose.

      1. ken anthony

        Reminds ya of that magazine cover that shows NYC and the rest of the country as a thin perimeter. I call it the perspective of the blind.

    2. Bart

      The Prius is woefully underpowered – it has to lug around all that extra battery weight – and not really comparable to a Corolla. The fuel savings would vanish, and likely even invert in the Corolla’s favor, on long country roads.

      1. dcguy

        Say what you want about the Prius, it’s a great seller. The market globally seems to like them. 3 Million units so far, and market share is about 4% in hybrids.

        If you want high power in a hybrid, look at a Ford C-Max, Honda CR-Z, Porsche Panamara Hybrid or even the Camry Hybrid.

        If you want a lot of performance, take a Chevy Volt out for a drive. Lots of performance, lots of efficiency.

  8. wodun

    Most of Detroit’s debt is unfunded pensions and healthcare obligations but that isn’t enough to destroy a city. Those pensions didn’t chase people and business away.

    1. Alan K. Henderson

      If I ran a business I sure as hell wouldn’t want to locate to a city that conjures lavish pensions for city workers. Because lavish pensions require lavish taxation. And redistributionists are greedy parasites who don’t know when to quit.

    1. Leland

      Interesting concept, other than allowing banks to offload bad assets; how is bad bank different from a bailout?

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