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Detroit skyline and the Detroit International Riverfront — as seen from Windsor, Ontario
Detroit is going bankrupt, and not in the Mitt Romney sense. A little more than four years after the auto industry so often referred to as "Detroit" was rescued, the actual city of Detroit is becoming the largest American city to file for bankruptcy. The story of what happened to Detroit could—and does—fill books, and those complicated causes and the decades over which they've developed make it all the more difficult to guess at the way forward for the city in the long term. For now:
The filing begins a 30- to 90-day period that will determine whether the city is eligible for Chapter 9 protection and define how many claimants might compete for the limited settlement resources that Detroit has to offer. The bankruptcy petition would seek protection from creditors and unions who are renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities. [...]

Detroit's bankruptcy is by far the largest of its kind in U.S. history, in terms of the city's population of about 700,000 and the amount of its debts and liabilities, which Orr has said could be as high as $20 billion. Because of the stakes involved, and the impact on residents statewide, as well as 30,000 current and retired city workers and Detroit's ability to stay in business, the case could be precedent setting in the federal judiciary. It also could set an important trajectory for the way troubled cities nationwide settle their financial difficulties.

One key question in this is what will happen to the pensions that Detroit's city workers earned. Will the precedent set be that the retirement people worked for and planned around can be yanked out from under them after decades?

The bankruptcy filing, decided on by Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager put into place by Gov. Rick Snyder over the city's elected government, happened in typical sneaky Snyder fashion:

An attorney for the pension funds who was seeking a temporary restraining order in Ingham County to block the historic bankruptcy filing said he felt blindsided because he agreed to delay an emergency hearing by five minutes at the request of attorneys for Snyder.

During those five minutes, he said, attorneys filed the bankruptcy petition in Detroit, which generally results in a stay in all other pending lawsuits involving the city. Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina later issued a temporary restraining order preventing further actions to cut pension benefits, but said she would have issued one to stop the bankruptcy filing altogether, if given the chance.

Eclectablog's Chris Savage, though, argues that bankruptcy may be preferable to naked control by an emergency manager, writing that the loss of control by the city's elected government and the prospect of wages and pensions being cut are "exactly what occurs when an EM takes over a government. But you know what does not happen? The bankruptcy judge cannot simply do away with inconvenient elected officials. A bankruptcy judge cannot unilaterally dispose of the municipality’s assets to raise funds."

Whatever happens, it's a terribly sad chapter in the history of a city that's had a lot of sad chapters, and a frightening time for city residents wondering if their already shattered city services will get worse and for retirees wondering if they'll be able to survive retirement.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 06:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the pension funds are pretty well funded. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, ColoTim, Involuntary Exile

    the general retirement fund was 88% at 6/30/12, and the cops and firefighters fund was at 99%.  the bigger obligation is future health care, coming to 6 billionish.  that is compared to half a billion for the pension, and that was before the big run up in the market over the last 12 months, so that figure may be lower.  the retirement fund assets, OTOH, are all in fixed income, so theyre paying tiny interest and, marked-to-market, have probably decreased in value quite a bit over the last 12 months.

    or: the pension obligation wasnt bad and has been getting better; the retirement obligation is bad and probably getting worse.

  •  How? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, auapplemac

    How can a city get 18 billion dollars in debt?

    Why are we not talking about criminal negligence?

    Where did they think that money was going to come from?

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 07:26:05 AM PDT

    •  that's 18 billion of debt, not an 18 billion (5+ / 0-)

      net asset deficit.  a big part of the problem, nonetheless, is that the tax base has drastically shrunk, and collections are only around 60% of what is owed.

      •  exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, falconer520

        And I bet banks are the biggest ones not paying taxes on the houses they now hold, by playing foreclosure games that sidestep the system.

        Go ahead and call whoever you want a journalist or not. I can still decide for myself who's in the 5th estate.

        by jcrit on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:28:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  johnny - the poster wrote $18 Billion in debt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and did not write "$18 Billion net asset deficit."

        •  it seemed odd that someone would be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          surprised that cities use debt to finance operations and capital expenditures, so I gave him/her the benefit of the doubt and read the comment accordingly.

          •  Johnny - did you read the article quoted where (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            it states:

            The bankruptcy petition would seek protection from creditors and unions who are renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities.
            Like I said, the poster wrote "$18 Billion in debt" and did not write "$18 Billion net asset deficit"

            The poster did not say they were "surprised that cities use debt to finance operations and capital expenditures" the poster was stating a fact: Detroit is renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities.

            •  why is it surprising they'd have that much (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              debt, though?

              •  johnny - maybe this can help answer your question (0+ / 0-)
                Detroit's bankruptcy is by far the largest of its kind in U.S. history, in terms of the city's population of about 700,000 and the amount of its debts and liabilities,
                Apparently, many people are surprised that Detroit's debt is so large.
                •  just means its a big city. (0+ / 0-)

                  cities carry debt.  larger cities carry more debt.

                  if you want to argue that Detroit had a disproportionately large per capita debt load, then go ahead and introduce facts about its debt relative to other cities.

                  but just repeating a number and saying, "wow, thats big!" without any context or best, it doesn't help, and it sort of smells tea party-ish.

                  •  johnny - your comment made me laugh (0+ / 0-)

                    My comments provided quotes that state

                    Detroit's bankruptcy is by far the largest of its kind in U.S. history, in terms of the city's population of about 700,000 and the amount of its debts and liabilities,
                    Yet, you try to insult me by describing me as 'tea party-ish'.  Seems that's your MO when you are proven wrong -- you lash out can call people names -- wah wah
                  •  Actually, it is really big (0+ / 0-)

                    Canadian data (since it was all I could find quickly), but (using 2011 data) Detroit's debt is:

                    15 times larger per capita than municipalities in the Greater Toronto area

                    10 times larger par capita than Calgary or Edmonton

                    4 times larger per capita than Montreal (which is regarded as being the worst-managed major Canadian city, by a very wide margin)

                    It really does look like Detroit is in a terminally bad situation. If someone could find comparable debt-per-capita data for US cities, that would be informative.

    •  Paying for street lights (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZenTrainer, ColoTim, auapplemac

      policemen, firemen, and teachers with no income from taxes.

      That's how.

    •  Corruption (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shifty18, MPociask, auapplemac

      See Kwame Kilpatrick.   White flight- see the rise of suburbs in the 50s  and the '67 riots.   This did not happen overnight.

    •  Detroit was a city built (7+ / 0-)

      on union wages. When the union jobs went away, the city crumbled under the weight of the unemployed; not just the unemployment benefits, which were short-lived, but the ripple effect of all those families not buying anything, losing their homes and eventually moving away in large numbers. If Americans would understand that if we all paid what stuff is worth, we could all easily afford that stuff. Even Henry Ford (an unlikely hero to liberals) understood that he didn't want to have a huge factory full of people who couldn't afford to be customers...

      Republicans want smaller gov't for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. - James Carville Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue

      by wyckoff on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:41:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Strictly speaking it's not all debt... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Debt would be bonds issued on the market.

      It's money that's owed to various pension funds.

      And when it was originally incurred (ie: contracts negotiated in the 50s) Detroit was a roughly 2 million population, well-above-average-income, city. The Mayor was more important then all but a handful of Governors.

      The problem is that the city that owes that money is currently 700k or so people, almost all of them can't afford to eat from their own budgets (the $14k per capita income is 130-140% of poverty), which means very few of them actually pay the taxes owed, and that further enforcement is generally a) cruel, and b) not cost effective (tracking down a guy who is only reachable by cell phone ain't cheap).

      Kwame's misrule did not help, but it basically speeded up the inevitable.

    •  State of Michigan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Told them to cut taxes, promised a revenue tax sharing deal and then never delivered on that revenue.

      The constant micro managing from the state is a continual problem for the city of Detroit.

      As an aside, a billion ain't all that, unless you're still counting in 1964 dollars. It's a psychological barrier rather than fiscal one, and why the stimulus sizing played out as it did, and why gold buggery was so popular among older Americans over the last 4-5 years.

      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

      by ILDem on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 09:51:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Easy (0+ / 0-)

      Over promise and under perform. Then ignore the problem until it is too late.

  •  When private companies ditch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, ZenTrainer

    pension plans they usually get taken over by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. That can mean some reduction in benefits for top earners, but it prevents a total loss of benefits. It seems likely that something like this would happen with a plan for public employees.

    It would seem to me that the prediction of a total loss of pensions is a bit of an exaggeration.  

  •  Will Detroit be functional when NN 14 roll around? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, MPociask

    I do hope so.  But it may be a very different NN.  Just thinking aloud.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:22:56 AM PDT

  •  "retirement people worked for and planned around (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, Yoshimi

    can be yanked out from under them after decades?"

    Dunno. Is the Pope Catholic?

  •  During the boom years of the industrial revolution (0+ / 0-)

    in the United states, cities like Detroit and Chicago annexed small towns and communities. Why can't these cities now shed those "small towns" and communities?

    A smaller Detroit will be a more manageable Detroit.

    •  Why can't they shed those small towns? (0+ / 0-)

      How about because people live there NOW and some of them can't afford to just pick up sticks and move to the newly redesigned, centralized Detroit.  

      What happens to those people?  

    •  Detroit hasn't annexed since the 20s... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      verdeo, MPociask

      So it's hard to figure out which communities you'd get rid of. Most of the ones that actually a have local identity beyond "this is my neighborhood" are the most lucrative ones to tax because upper-income people like naming their neighborhoods.

      Midtown, Woodbridge, Corktown, Delray, and Warrendale are all above average income for Detroit. Redford (one of the the last bits annexed, we didn't get all of it so there's also a suburb of Redford) would probably be below average. But average income in the City would still fall, which would mean it would be even more screwed.

      You'd end up with a bunch of small suburbs, and a downtown attached to places tax money goes to die.

      •  Hamtramck is a great example of (0+ / 0-)

        a viable town within the city limits. I'd shed everything north of 6 mile and everything west of Wyoming.

        •  I didn't say they wouldn't be viable... (0+ / 0-)

          I said that having all the viable towns within Detroit as viable towns doesn't actually solve the problem.

          Much of Detroit (ie: the East Side, most of the Northwest side) is too poor to govern itself. Split Detroit up and, yeah, Corktown is great, but the rest of Detroit is even more fucked.

          •  Okay, lets keep all the poor people in a "city" (0+ / 0-)

            that can't manage or maintain their neighborhoods.

            I really have to question what is worse?

            •  Dude, the solution is obvious: (0+ / 0-)

              Current size don't work because you don't have enough taxes to pay the bills.

              Downsizing makes the problem worse by eliminating the taxpayers you still got.

              Can't stay the same size, can't downsize, that means you gotta upsize.

              The Detroit Metro area has three counties. Why couldn't we just do what NYC did and make them all one city?

              Granted there's so much inertia in all those tiny little suburbs we'd probable end up with 100+ of them as Burroughs, and it would take a lot of fast talking to convince them to pay taxes for police on Detroit's streets, but it would work and it is theoretically possible.

      •  I Agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Making smaller political bodies would exacerbate the situation. It's would create something like the dynamic in NW Indiana or Metro-East. Same problems, less clout.

        Scaling up (city-county merger) is the way to go.

        "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

        by ILDem on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:15:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Economic planning predicated upon constant growth (4+ / 0-)

    will produce these sorts of messes every time growth doesn't happen.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:29:16 AM PDT

    •  Huh? Planning for infinite growth isn't wise? (0+ / 0-)

      Many smaller cities  base their operating expenses on fees they expect from growth.  Of course the real estate industry gets control of the city councils and benefits greatly from the growth.

      •  Planning should be realistic. With jobs and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher, auapplemac

        the tax base leaving, along with hundreds of thousands of residents, where some costs like streets and sewers are fixed, the planning should also attempt to include scenarios where income is decreasing.  Sure, the majority of cities grow in population but the decline of Detroit has been happening for decades.

  •  Wall Street is booming yet cities, states and (6+ / 0-)

    even the US Government are on austerity rations. What's wrong with this picture? Everything!

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:30:50 AM PDT

  •  Only two ways to keep Detroit from collapsing: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, MPociask

    Either the Federal Government or the State of Michigan has to bail it out. It simply cannot fund itself. Any serious effort has to result in returning a large part of the city to farm land and at least tripling the population density of the surviving part. It is not practical to police and provide snow plowing and street lights to a block with a single house on it. Or, the city population can explode back to 1.5+ million...................

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:31:28 AM PDT

    •  I think we're going to see lots of new (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      efforts we've never before seen attempted in Detroit - while I don't know that there will be farmland, I can see Detroit condemning neighborhoods, relocating residents, shutting off utilities and removing buildings to get rid of fire and pest hazards as well as not repairing streets.  It hasn't been done that I'm aware of, especially on this large a scale, but I think the bankruptcy declaration will allow this kind of massive social engineering to be attempted.  Sure there will be protests from people who want to remain in their homes, but without sharing of utility and safety costs, like police and fire protection, it will probably continue to be prohibitively expensive.

      I had a chance in the 90's to move back to Michigan but the job didn't come through.  Happy that I stayed in Colorado then, and especially now.

    •  I hate progressives... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogman70, MPociask, auapplemac

      Even tho I am one.

      We always prefer the miraculous, socially-transforming, solution, which will cost lots of money (which we don't know how to get), and may not work (it's not like other cities have tried it); to the one that Lansing could do tomorow if they realy wanted to.

      If you simply did what Indianapolis did, or NYC did, and merged the disparate political units of Detroit into one tricounty Detroit County nobody would give a shit whether the Borough of Detroit Proper was bankrupt.

      Ideally you'd want to give the new County increased powers. For example merging all the local police departments into one, and also turn transportation power over to it.

      •  agreed, but how? (0+ / 0-)

        this is clearly what needs to happen, but I can't see any pathway forward aside from waiting until the babyboomers and their parents are no longer voters.

        •  It's not as impossible as it seems... (0+ / 0-)

          You'd need buy-in from all the counties. Not necessarily majorities in every city, township and village; but definitely you'd need most of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb. They all agree to merge, and name it Detroit. Detroit proper agrees to join on condition that the new County Sheriff has enough guys that the DPD can go away.

          To an extent this seems impossible, but keep in mind that all three counties voted for a black democrat for President. Twice. Also keep in mind that this can be spun as extremely limited. The County doesn't start out with the ability to merge school districts, or eliminate Ecorse. It's just a really big County with a really big Sheriff's department.

          Once we get everyone into a single County with a big-ass Sheriff's department we'd probably want to go to Lansing and get a Constitutional Amendment saying that Greater Detroit County is a combined City-County, that it has all jurisdiction over Cities/School Districts/etc., and that it can take over entire areas that it's constituent cities usually do (like police work). This also should not be particularly difficult because a) we'll have roughly 30% of the votes in Greater Detroit, and b) everyone else will be very happy Detroit proper's problems are no longer the stuff of national news stories.

      •  If you don't like that suggestion... (0+ / 0-)

        In the heady days of 08', I sent in the federal government a suggestion that large tracts of Detroit be turned into a national park.  Let the land return to its natural state, managed by federal dollars.  Remaining city residents can enjoy fishing and recreation in the largest urban national park in the country.

  •  Worth noting (9+ / 0-)

    Voters in Michigan overturned the emergency manager law last November, and the GOP legislature immediately re-instated it, with an appropriation attached so it couldn't be subject to referendum again.

    •  That kind of shit makes me want to tear my (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      keepemhonest, ColoTim, Lily O Lady

      hair out!

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature. If I had Bill Gates money, I'd buy Detroit.

      by ZenTrainer on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:41:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It surprises me that no one has challenged (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the Govs EM law in court.

        •  I don't know why it hasn't been. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, ZenTrainer

          But I wanted to share this, from the Michigan Liberal blog:

          Over at Deadline Detroit, Jeff Wattrick lays out rules for a new game: the Detroit Bankruptcy Drinking Game. Lest you think he's tap dancing on the grave of his own city, it's really a comment on what we can expect from the media circus: Worn-out cliches and predictable banalities to explain what is apt to be a very painful process for public sector employees, current residents of the city, people generally in the metropolitan area and the state as a whole. From his list of rules:

          Whenever bankruptcy is described as a chance to start anew, take a drink.
          Then, perusing this morning's coverage at the Freep, we come across the headline to Rochelle Riley's column. It is this:

          Rochelle Riley: Bankruptcy a chance for Detroit to begin anew
          This is going to be a very painful time for the state's livers.

        •  I'm sure they have... (0+ / 0-)

          They'll almost certainly lose.

          Under US Law a city is technically an agency for the state in which it operates. This means that if the state really wants to screw a city the city's only recourses are a) to claim racial bias in Federal Court, or b) to fall back on it's rights under state law. And guess who gets to repeal a city's rights under state law?

  •  Perhaps Unpopular (3+ / 0-)

    But bankruptcy is likely the best move for Detriot at this stage. While Kevyn Orr is looking for concessions from the big pension plans (which I don't think he'll get much, to be honest. They are partially outside of his scope and there are a ton of legal ramifications there that will take years to resolve), the biggest target is $11.8B in unsecured creditors which he wants to settle at around 17%. That he'll likely succeed with, which takes a huge foot off the throat of the city.

    One of the biggest challenges ahead, and a necessary one, is going to be the complete re-alignment of the city coverage base. The only way that Detriot is going to be able to get itself under control is to shed area that it is responsible for providing services for.

    •  Some don't think they are unsecured at all: (0+ / 0-)

      Apparently some of the bondholders believe they have a security interest in revenues.   It's an issue for the bankruptcy judge to decide; I really don't know the details.  But if so, those bondholders may have priority over everyone else.

      "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

      by Inland on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 09:37:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is so bloody sad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One key question in this is what will happen to the pensions that Detroit's city workers earned. Will the precedent set be that the retirement people worked for and planned around can be yanked out from under them after decades?
    One cannot trust ANY entity nowadays.  I still feel sick when I think of those poor Enron employees who were just doing their jobs and thinking their retirement would be wonderful.  One guy had $700,000 in pension funds before it all went down the toilet.

    It just shows the truth of the adage, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."  

    I feel for those people who will be robbed of their pensions.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:55:17 AM PDT

  •  EM laws are profoundly unconstitutional. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Residents of Detroit should resist any actions by this guy that aren't fully in line with the will of their elected officials.

  •  Detriot (0+ / 0-)

    Easy huh?

    Will the real culprits please stand up? Else, how can we be suer what happened today with detroit will not happen to all of US?

  •  Wait, a state judge thinks she can restrain... (0+ / 0-)

    ...a person or entity from filing a federal bankruptcy petition at the instance of a creditor? No, that is not permissible under the law (I'm phrasing this as politely as possible).

    And if you're feeling sympathetic because the petitioner represented pensioners, imagine if the creditor was a bank and the debtor was an ordinary guy buried under an avalanche of, say, catastrophic medical bills. How would you feel about it then?

    •  the governor has to approve the filing, (0+ / 0-)

      and he is presumably constrained by the constitutional proscription on cutting accrued benefits.

      IOW, their position is a lot less crazy than it appears at first blush.

      OTOH, they probably won't have to touch the accrued benefits.  the future, yet-to-be-accrued benefits are fucking enormous relative to the bankruptcy estate and will probably be where most of the benefit cutting occurs.

    •  Her order is blatently illegal (0+ / 0-)

      That state judge just committed contempt of court in a federal court action with her order.  Basically what she is doing is exactly the same as the nullification actions some states have undertaken by passing laws saying that federal laws they don't like do not apply.  They cannot do that because of the supremacy clause in the constitution.  Likewise the Constitution reserves to the federal government the right to establish bankruptcy and bankruptcy courts, all of which totally trump Michigan state laws and anything two bit asshats like that judge may want to do.   I hope the bankruptcy judge hauls her and they union and pension attorneys in front of her and kick their asses good, like they deserve.

      •  no, its not like nullification at all. (0+ / 0-)

        the governor is bound by state law.  the judge is enforcing state law, and that law isn't preempted by federal law.

        •  Not preempted, but it is stayed. (0+ / 0-)

          The second the petition was filed, the state court lost jurisdiction to take ANY action against the petitioner. This does not mean the creditor is without a remedy, however. If the creditor genuinely believes the manager and/or Governor acted illegally under state law, they can ask the bankruptcy court to dismiss the petition. In that hearing, the bankruptcy judge will follow state law, but the key point is that only the bankruptcy judge gets to make that call.

  •  Obama to the Rescue! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Banksters must at all costs be made whole...

  •  I don't see how... (0+ / 0-) can avoid the pension funds taking some cut. But let's hope the other creditors will also get a haircut.

  •  When you've... (0+ / 0-)

    mismanaged you finances for DECADES, spent money without being able to account for it, and made sweetheart deals to get reelected, don't act so surprised when daddy takes away the checkbook.

    And please, don't bother to lecture me. I live in Camden, NJ, one of the most mismanaged cities.

    Aside from the fact that they're both broke and corrupt, they also both happen to be run by Democratic machines.

    •  Is this a joke? (0+ / 0-)

      You really should look up the definition of "political machine" before you post something like this.

      In a political machine the unions, government contractors, and local politicians all agree on a slate of candidates before the election. This slate wins, and then all contracts go to the contractors who were in the meeting, the unions get a nice raise, etc. In exchange both the unions and the contractors force all their employees to strongly support the list. If the machine ever loses the gravy train stops, so it dies. If the unions and the contractors ever disagree on candidates it dies.

      Which means that Detroit can;t have a political machine because the union slate loses about half the time.

      •  Look it up? (0+ / 0-)

        I LIVE it, dude. So STFU

        •  I doubt you live it... (0+ / 0-)

          Because if you did you'd know Detroit does not have a political machine. We had a couple idiots taking bribes, but that's not a political machine.

          We tried to set one up in the 80s, but it didn't take.

          Actual political machines are very rare in America because the FBI cracks down on them, and if they ever lose an election the machine goes poof.

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