Detroit and the Nation

In Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) included a letter outlining his reasons for his approval of the filing.  Here are some of them [emphasis added].

  • The City’s unemployment rate has nearly tripled since 2000 and is more than double the national average.
  • Its citizens wait an average of 58 minutes for the police to respond to their calls, compared to a national average of 11 minutes.
  • The City’s police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances are so old that breakdowns make it impossible to keep up the fleet or properly carry out their roles.
  • The City has more than $18 billion in accrued obligations.
  • Detroit tax rates are at their current legal limits, and that even if the City was legally able to raise taxes, its residents cannot afford to pay additional taxes. Detroit simply cannot raise enough revenue to meet its current obligations….
  • The City’s population has declined 63% from its peak, including a 28% decline since 2000.
  • A decreasing tax base has made meeting obligations to creditors impossible.

Horribly high expenditures against a tax system that’s already very expensive for the citizens has driven Detroit into the ground and forced restructuring through bankruptcy.

What are the implications for the nation as a whole?

On the one hand, bankruptcy—legal bankruptcy—is not an option for the US.  Nations have no bankruptcy system available to them; all a bankrupt nation can do is to repudiate its debts or debase its currency, repaying with devalued (dollars)—to repudiate its debts through subterfuge.

Here lies the United States: we have horribly high expenditures (see Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid transfer payments, Social Security, Federal public service union pensions, Stimulus spending, etc) against a tax system that is hammering the paying population into the ground while, by design, excluding half the tax base from tax obligations.   This combines to create on the national level massive annual deficits, exploding national debt, and increasing costs to borrow (presently low, Bernanke’s artificially suppressed interest rates will not be able to stop the market’s assessments of our national creditworthiness).

Detroit is the future of the United States under our current policies.  In that light, notice the loss of population as Detroiters fled the disaster—28% of its people just since 2000.  As our national disaster unfolds—unless we move to terminate our Federal government’s destructive policies and put aside our own disdain for work and responsibility—where will Americans go?

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