What life lessons can hard-working Americans draw from the story of Detroit?
Once a Boom Town; Now a shell of its former shell -- but still a Town with struggling American people, nonetheless ...
by Micheline Maynard, Contributor -- July 24, 2013
Now, a Democratic city’s fortunes rest with a Republican governor once more. Only this time, Gov. Rick Snyder appears to be in far more direct control of Detroit than any of his predecessors. Last week, Snyder authorized the city’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, only a few months after he named Kevyn Orr, a Democrat, as the city’s emergency manager.
While Snyder isn’t running the city in any formal sense -- Democrat Dave Bing remains as mayor -- he is far and away the official calling the strategic shots in the direction the city is taking. When the Chapter 9 bankruptcy case officially begins on Wednesday in Detroit, Snyder’s agenda for restructuring the city is expected to be readily apparent in the plans put forth by Orr in federal court.
The biggest question is whether the state might step in to guarantee pensions for city workers, who do not have the same federal safety net that protects pensions at corporations. There is no requirement that the state do anything about Detroit’s $8 billion pension liability, but it also seems like one of the most logical ways that Michigan could help its ailing urban core.
See that, hard-working Americans, when your Town falls on hard-times,
you can be sure the masters-of-austerity will be right there "to help you"
-- sell it off, and/or dissolve it, from any financial viability.
by Brent Snavely, Matt Helms and Tresa Baldas
Detroit Free Press Staff Writers -- July 24, 2013
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes dealt back-to-back wins for emergency manager Kevyn Orr in rulings shortly after a two-hour hearing in a courthouse packed with about 175 lawyers, journalists, city workers and retirees.
Saying the city would suffer irreparable harm if delays to its bankruptcy were upheld, Rhodes denied attempts by lawyers for pension funds, unions and other creditors to halt Detroit’s Chapter 9 filing while the matter is being taken up by state courts in Michigan.
“I’m mad!” said Belinda Myers-Florence, a City of Detroit retiree who attended the hearing. “I worked in the city for 35 years, and now you’re gonna tell me I don’t have a pension?”
I'd be mad too. 35 years of hard work, and not even a gold watch.
So much for the Constitutional mandate of "providing for the general welfare" ... if only those Retirees had a Lobbyist, to speak for them ...
Well, not exactly a Lobbyist for the People -- but here's kind of the next best thing:
by Melanie Trottman blogs.wsj.com -- July 26, 2013, 9:21 AM
[...]Well those "bondholders" are supposed to "get cuts" to be the first in line ... when assets get "re-allocated" in America, don't you know. It's just part of their "Social Contract."
The AFL-CIO issued a statement Thursday night that called on President Barack Obama and Congress “to commit to an immediate infusion of federal assistance for Detroit, and to demand” it be matched by the state of Michigan.
The group, which is the largest union federation in the nation, said retirees put in decades of service to earn “a modest pension of about $19,000″ a year, and alleged ”it is not only illegal but morally wrong to attack Detroit’s seniors.”
The city’s current workers and retirees “are not responsible for the city’s economic state” but their retirement plans are “likely to be pilfered to pay Wall Street firms as bondholders in bankruptcy,” the AFL-CIO says.
NOW if only hard-working American Retirees had a seat on Stock Market Exchange, like them ...
Well then, Congress would be all-over the problem of those "Bad Pension Debts."
They'd be falling all-over themselves to pay them off, like always they have before:
by Nomi Prins, motherjones.com -- January/February 2010 Issue
The price tag for the Wall Street bailout is often put at $700 billion -- the size of the Troubled Assets Relief Program. But TARP is just the tip of the iceberg of money paid out or set aside by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. [...]See that tiny red box, I added to the Bailout graphic? THAT is the size of the Detroit Pensions liabilities, amidst an unending sea of congressional-approved Wall Street charity.
(Figures current as of October 31, 2009. Click here for an explanation of the abbreviations and programs below.)
[Bailout Image without the annoying annotation.]
A tiny red speck of a problem -- that apparently Congress is NOT going to lift a finger to do anything about ... except to explicitly BLOCK any efforts to Bailout the speck.
Here is the hard-lesson of Anytown Detroit that should really teach us ...
The Lesson of WHO Congress really works for ... and all the shabby two-bit explanations behind it -- their perpetual sell-outs.
(Here's a hint American workers: It ain't Us, they work for ... not on most days of the Austerity week.)
The Johnson-Hatch-Vitter amendment
July 24, 2013
Senator Ron Johnson (WI) has joined with Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senator David Vitter of Louisiana to make sure taxpayers across America are not put on the hook for a bailout of Detroit.
“Detroit’s debt is a national poster-child of what can result when politicians enter into an unholy alliance with powerful unions at the expense of the local economy and the people who live there. Federal Bankruptcy Court is the proper venue for settling debts that taxpayers cannot afford,” Johnson said. “What must not happen is a federal bailout that spares Detroit from making the needed reforms that the bankruptcy process may require. Any federal bailout means other municipalities and states who have a similar history will expect a federal rescue as well.”
“Ballooning debt -- driven largely by bloated retiree pension and health benefits and mismanaged budgets -- has financially crippled cities and municipalities across the country and even forced them into bankruptcy,” said Hatch. “Whatever the financial fiasco, however, it’s the responsibility of the local governments to fix. The federal government will not step in, as this amendment makes clear, and bail them out. We’re not going to leave taxpayers on the hook because local governments can’t manage a budget and live within their means.”
“By no means should the federal government be in the business of bailing out state and local governments that are in the red,” said Vitter.
"By all means" Mr Vitter, the Congress is only there to guarantee Wall Street's survival,
-- not the survival of actual working, breathing, struggling PEOPLE from ANY Street USA.
Message received Republicans, loud and clear.
People, and especially Pensioners struggling through austerely hard-times -- You're on your Own! (say Hello to Mad-Max!)
Congress, the Fed, and the Treasury -- Well they have "more important interests" to attend to
-- those of their Multi-Trillion Dollar favorite charity cases ...
You understand, right Americans? 8 Billion Dollar for poverty-ridden retirees,
-- NOW That's a Waste of Money! "By no means should the federal government be involved, in THAT!" ... at least according to those "compassionate conservatives" anyways, now trying to codify the prohibition of such wasteful "charity" into Law ...