By on June 4, 2011

“I’m tired of being ashamed of where I live,” declared Mark Reuss, President of General Motors North America, at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference. His colleagues are likewise frustrated. “With all the national bashing of the region,” an aversion to Michigan is ingrained in the minds of potential job prospects, said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor. Detroit is the city of long lost sex-appeal. Echoing the dejected sentiments of a clockwatching professional with a clientele of reluctant customers, Bill Ford added: “We have to do an incredible sales job to get them to come.”

1,500 business and political leaders gathered on Mackinac Island on Friday to vent their frustration with where they live. They have my full sympathy. When Ed & I visited Detroit end of April, we stayed in a nice hotel two stone throws from RenCen. I asked for an ATM. The concierge said “right this way, Sir.” I was directed to a hotel shuttle. They drove me around the corner and to an ATM. The shuttle waited. I told him to go back. “Oh no, we are not allowed to let our guests walk around by themselves.”

The Freep, reporting from the conference, concluded that “there remained a nagging worry that the battered image of Detroit and Michigan will take a long time to shake.”

And it’s not that nothing will be done to change Detroit’s off-putting image. Reuss said GM “will soon create a Web site to connect its employees with a range of volunteer opportunities.” The Freep thinks that might not be enough:

Asked whether GM and other major companies could be doing more to help Mayor Dave Bing fix Detroit’s daunting problems, Reuss said, “Yeah, there’s always more you can do. I think he needs help, not that’s he’s not totally capable, but there’s always more you can do.” He didn’t offer specifics.

 

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109 Comments on “Detroit CEOs Sick Of Being Ashamed Of Detroit...”


  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Howsabout dismantling the taxation, welfare and regulation schemes (and their concomitant costs, both financial and opportunity) so that MI is competitive with AL or TX? Howsabout becoming a right-to-work state?

    Detroit is the inevitable result of heavy-handed government meddling and theft.

    • 0 avatar
      Tommy Boy

      +1

      I once lived in Rhode Island. It’s heading down the same path, and due to the same causes: long-time Democrat control; control of the Democrats by unions; Mob influence of unions, and so too of Democrats; intentional welfare-magnet status to make sure that the unionized “social service” industry thrives; long-standing culture of political corruption.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        I flew into Providence from DTW. The ground shuttle driver asked where I was coming from, then invited me to gaze around at the #2 worst state in the nation and estimate the distance it still had to go to beat Michigan.

        I was surprised when I was up there in Rhode Island to see a fair amount of domestic vehicles in the mix, but they tended to be old, Dodge pickups more than anything.

      • 0 avatar
        Tommy Boy

        MrGreenMan:

        The real shame regarding RI is that it’s all self-inflicted. With Narragansett Bay it is a place blessed with natural beauty, and located half-way between Boston / Rt. 128 and New York City it’s strategically located. The place could be truly prosperous.

        But it’s still living in the 1930’s — generations of people reflexively vote for the Democrat (even if known to be corrupt); there’s a widespread culture of animosity toward business (Republicans and business owners are “rich” who are out to screw “working families”); decades of not just tolerated, but almost celebrated political corruption and on and on.

        It’s a shame really. Just like Detroit. Self-induced economic decline, and neither the political will nor intellect to visualize positive change, nor backbone to execute.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe its time for some introspect? Navel gazing, anyone? Maybe the people sick of being ashamed of Detroit should ask themselves how they got to be this way? You only have one shot at making a good first impression. Detroit, its manufacturers and the UAW have decades of bad first and lasting impressions. Any atta-boys Detroit may have to its credit are wiped out by all the awwwww-sheeeeets they’ve accumulated over the past forty years of self-immolation and destruction.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve long advocated making Michigan the Cayman Islands of the US. Eliminate all taxes on business and any fees that businesses pay must be directly related to the costs of the service provided for that fee. I’m guessing that by making Michigan attractive to businesses, payroll taxes would offset any lost revenue to the state from eliminating business taxes.

  • avatar
    Doc

    Detroit has been being destroyed systematically for nearly 40 years now. I am not sure that it is possible to bring it back. Certainly it will never come back to the heydays of the fifties.

    Unfortunately, this comes down to the voters in Detroit who repeatedly vote in the most corrupt leftist radical politicians. I am convinced that the last mayor (Kwame Kilpatrick) would have been reelected in a landslide if only he did not have to start serving a prison sentence. Until the voters in Detroit wise up, Detroit will not even begin to turn around. Personally, I do not think that this will ever happen although at some point, the city will have to file for bankruptcy protection and the state will appoint some type of emergency manager.

    However, most people that live the region (myself included) do not live or even spend that much time in Detroit. The surrounding areas are quite nice. There are many beautiful suburbs and this is where most people in the region live and work.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Detroit has been being destroyed systematically for nearly 40 years now. I am not sure that it is possible to bring it back. Certainly it will never come back to the heydays of the fifties.

      The Fifties were an economic aberration, a temporary ‘golden age’ enabled by WWII and the obliteration of all the industrial competition in the world due to war (Germany, Japan, Britain, et al.), or communism (Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, China), or some mixture of the two. The big problem for the US was that it was believed to be permanent, like the “new economy” of the internet bubble, and that led to practices among labor and management that were not sustainable. Unlike the internet bubble however, government got so wrapped up in industry that it was not able to crash back down to a sustainable level and restart from scratch.

      • 0 avatar
        hyundaivirgin

        So true. And parties on both sides of the political aisle refuse to acknowledge that the US had it easy in the Fifties and Sixties. I agree with you that unsustainable benefit schemes were established by labor and government and the beneficiaries are unable or unwilling to realize it. I think we have made some progress in resetting expectations in labor though, whereas resetting expectations in social security and Medicare for the Baby Boomers has gotten nowhere. The difference of course is that their numerical size assures Baby Boomers continual control in politics whereas they have moved on past the age of involvement in labor. The entitlement mentality from the 50s and 60s is not limited to liberal causes, however. The idea that it is socially acceptable for one person to drive a 4000-pound 20-mpg land boat as their daily commuter also originates from those times of plentiful cheap oil.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Considering that the government doesn’t subsidize oil or gas prices that person who drives the 20mpg car pays for the privilege and contributes a lot more to the road taxes than someone driving a 40mpg econobox.

        As far as benefits go healthcare costs have skyrocketed far faster than the rate of inflation since the 50s and 60s. Yes, medical science has evolved considerably as well, but the real reform needs to be limiting the costs of healthcare, not limiting access to that care. Medical supply and pharmaceutical companies aren’t exactly hurting for profits. It’s time for the government to step in and set fair cost limits for medical treatments and procedures. This will lower healthcare costs, and with that the costs of health insurance and thus the cost of providing health insurance to employees, dramatically.

      • 0 avatar
        joe_thousandaire

        Awesome comment Dr. Kenneth. I’d like to have that printed up on business cards so I could just hand them out to the “this country aint what it used to be crowd”.

        Additionally, I’d like to say as a proud Michiganian – if there was anyway I could possibly get out of this state, I’d be gone like smoke.

      • 0 avatar

        “Considering that the government doesn’t subsidize oil or gas prices”

        Not at the pump, but estimates of annual direct subsidies to oil companies range from $4.5 Billion – $10 Billion. And the Congressional Research Service estimates annual DOD expenditure for protecting oil shipping routes is up to $50 Billion per year.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    If you lease Detroit out to Canada for 99 years and 99 dollars, they’ll clean it up and give it a new vitality. Just like if we had Tijuana for 99 years. Both places are otherwise prime real estate for the country right above and pretty much disowned by their current owners.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Crazy idea but much better than the current idea which seems to be “do nothing.” I lived in Detroit from 2000-2001 and remember when Kwame got in trouble for saying, “Lansing looks at Detroit the way Washington (D.C.) looks at Mississippi.” The fact is, truer words were never spoken by a Detroit politician.

      FYI a friend of mine who had been born in the city in the late 1950s and lived there all his life (except a short stint in the army) still claims that Coleman Young was the most corrupt mayor they ever had.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Detroit reminds me a lot of pre-Katrina New Orleans. It took a major catastrophe to shake the foundations of a system grounded in a mentality of corruption and entitlement.

        Even as that town laid in ruins, a number of residents stood around and expected the government to feed, clothe, shelter and toilet them.

        Makes me glad I moved away years ago, and never looked back…

      • 0 avatar

        Coleman rarely gets the blame he so richly deserves for encouraging the decay of the city’s neighborhoods. He let the city burn out of control on Devil’s Night and was fine with white folks moving out because that meant fewer votes against him. He cynically used race, and he was so corrupt that he brazenly dared the Feds to prove it. Associates went down but Coleman was very careful. He acted like Detroit’s HNIC and he had a baseball cap in his mayoral office with those very letters.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        BuzzDog –

        After Katrina when insurance companies were looking for every loophole they could find to deny or delay compensation for hardworking homeowners and when FEMA stood around with its thumb up its ass, what were people expected to do? Plenty moved away to live with relatives, but that wasn’t an option for everyone. What are you supposed to do when your home, your car, all of your worldly possessions, your job, your friends, and your community are all washed away overnight? The government absolutely had the duty at that point to make things right. We don’t work, pay taxes, and abide by the laws of society to be ignored and forgotten when disaster strikes.

        This isn’t to say that anyone should have been expecting perpetual handouts, but for those who had followed the rules and were screwed by the system, yes, I think they had a right to demand the government step in and make it right. When the government was at least partially responsibly for the scope of the damage, as they were through the Army corp of engineers who didn’t build the levees to withstand the conditions they needed to, it’s only fair to ask for accountability and recompense.

    • 0 avatar

      “If you lease Detroit out to Canada for 99 years”

      Ha, just look at the teeth gnashing and calls of ‘racism’ when Granholm appointed an emergency manager for DPS.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      There would be a second American Revolution if people stateside had to pay Canadian taxes.

  • avatar
    jet_silver

    Mark Reuss is Lloyd Reuss\'(ex-GM president) son. He and dad have taken a pretty good living out of the place he’s now complaining about. Entitled much?

    You see a mess, Mark, you grab a shovel and not a microphone.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    High taxes, crappy weather, dismal real estate market, rampant crime, what’s not to love about Detroit?

    On the other hand most of the transplants are in warmer climates, in states with lower taxes, less crime and better housing options.

    If they were hiring folks with little education or common sense it would be an easy sell instead they are looking for educated professionals that have options and can figure things out for themselves.

  • avatar
    obbop

    For the typical dazed, confused, imbecilic, brain-dead and brainwashed ill- or uneducated USA citizen-sheep infesting the land, sucking in vital oxygen/atmosphere wasted upon those idiotic simpletons…..

    that huge human horde may be unaware that the entity known as “Detroit” is within a relatively immense number of towns, burgs, villes, hamlets, wide-spots-in-the-road and sundry geo-political units typically, generally referred to as “suburbs” or the term “nearby outlaying towns.”

    The San Francisco Bay area was just that… an area.

    For simplicity and brevity I and many others just mumbled “‘Frisco.”

    Sure, there was the mob who would stamp their little feetsies and whine, moan, gripe, wail and declare that a TRUE San Franciscan or anybody who dwelt in Frisco for even a moment or in the Bay area for any length was required to ALWAYS use “San Francisco.”

    Wimps and weenies.

    A dude, an ex-Marine I knew and crossed angry Teamster picket lines with to deliver medicines to an Oakland hospital (thus a non-weenie-type) was born and raised in Frisco. He called the place “‘Frisco.” Or San Franchesca.

    Anyway… Many cities have their old bad parts. Hey!! Us po’ folks gotta’ have a place to dive and squat to shelter from the elements.

    Cheap or even free, via squatting, to enable survival!!!

    Even I squatted in a “hippy drop house” in Long Beach, CA but that’s a different tale.

    Yeah, supposed to get up to 100 degrees today with HIGH humidity and I gotta mow the shanty’s weeds and dirt and trying to delay the dreadful task but I can not write forever so I propose that other differing views of the “Detroit Plight” be presented.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I don’t know about Detroit, but it seems to have been a one industry town for too long, add to that, the obvious corruption from the Mayor etc and you have the blight you see now, plus the fact that it’s been an industrial city all its existence due to the automobile industry and now, it’s a shell of a town with no mass transit infrastructure, no way for the African American poor to dig themselves out and a city that just threw its hand into the air and gave up, and oh, corruption, did I say that?

    And you are left with this. That said, it could turn around, but it’s definitely NOT an overnight thing, it’ll take years, if not decades to reclaim the city and bring it back as the damage has been much too great.

    I once saw some photographs someone had taken of Detroit last year I think and one of the photographs that struck me was a shot inside I think a downtown library branch abandoned with the shelves still full of BOOKS, they obviously took what they needed, turned out the lights, shut off the heat and locked the door, leaving the rest to molder in silence.

    Sad…

    But what the Freep is saying is true, it’s not enough, but it’s a start and you HAVE got to start somewhere but I agree, GM and others have to do MUCH more to fix Detroit, or at least make a considerable dent in doing so.

  • avatar
    MikeAR

    Does anyone else find it ironic that a conferance about the future of Detroit was held on Mackinac Island? That’s why all the pretty words mean nothing. They can walk away taking credit for good intentions without doing anything.

    I hope someway Detroit can come back, at one time it exemplified the best of this country. There are lots of things that can be done to stop the decline and make it better but I’m afraid it won’t happen in time. We aren’t ready as a nation to admit some things and move past the fairy tales we have told ourselves for so long. It was a great city one time and even seeing the ruins now makes you realize just how great it was then.

    • 0 avatar

      I caught that too. How about holding the conference downtown, for starters?

      The truth is, Detroit’s only relevance to our country today is as a cautionary tale. When you let corrupt politicians and even more corrupt unions rule with abandon for 50+ years, you will eventually have abandoned buildings as a result. Not helping matters is the city’s sole and shortsighted reliance on a single industry.

      Let Detroit die, already.

      • 0 avatar
        mtymsi

        It was not the corrupt politicians or unions that caused Detroit’s demise. It was many of the residents who saw no value in education, had no family structure to raise them and destroyed the neighborhoods.

        You can blame the corrupt politicians & unions for a lot of things but not for destroying the city itself. That blame goes solely to many of the residents.

        There are many poor areas nationwide that never had the economic benefit of the auto industry yet they aren’t the crime ridden disaster that Detroit is.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not a conference just about Detroit. It’s a annual conference held on Mackinaw Island, sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Detroit region is part of Michigan. Frankly, part of Detroit’s problem is that it’s is located in the extreme southeast portion of the state. That makes it easy for people living in cities like Grand Rapids or up north to act as though what happens in Detroit doesn’t affect them. Likewise, it’s kind of shocking to me how many Detroiters, suburbanites and residents of the city itself, have never been north of Flint, let alone Standish or get up to Mackinaw or the UP.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Fact of the matter is 99%+ of former Detroit residents that could afford to moved out of the city to the surrounding suburbs. That is the reason for Detroit’s massive population decline in the last 20 years.

    And make no mistake about it, it was not political corruption that ruined the city turning it into what looks like a bombed out war zone. It was many of the citizens themselves.

    Last week on the local TV news a Detroit police officer stated “I carry two guns (when off duty) and I don’t feel safe in Detroit”. Exactly where the hell does that leave the rest of us? In my case never even near the city limits.

    The reason Detroit is so dangerous are many of its citizens and I don’t see that scenario changing. Outside of the core downtown the best solution would be to bulldoze the city and start over but of course that has the same likelihood of happening that rejuvenating Detroit anytime in the foreseeable future does.

    Detroit has even been nomenclated as the most dangerous city in the world and while I don’t agree with that assessment definitely the most dangerous in the U.S. All large cities have dangerous pockets with Detroit its the whole damn city.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      When I’ve gone there, I’ve wandered around some during the day. I just wish I could go back 50 years or so and see it like it was then. It’s almost like visiting Macchu Picchu or some other lost city now.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      “All large cities have dangerous pockets with Detroit its the whole damn city.”

      I live in the suburbs of Dallas, TX and frequently drive into the northern part of the city including downtown with no particular apprehension other than dealing with the typical city problem of insufficient parking. There are some seriously unsafe parts of Dallas on the south side, but their existence doesn’t infect the whole city.

      I’ve visited the Detroit metro area 3 times and enjoyed the excellent car museums every time. I don’t think I’ve visited the city of Detroit itself except possibly crossing part of it at highway speeds. It appears that most of auto industry and the employees relocated to the Oakland County suburbs long ago and there is little reason to go south of 8 Mile Road. Perhaps the city of Detroit could sell chunks of the land area of the city to Dearborn and other adjacent cities.

      • 0 avatar

        George B., as a history buff you’re missing out by not going south of 8 Mile. I’ve spent much of the last 6 months traveling around southeastern Michigan to shoot content for TTAC and Cars In Depth. Some of the most important historical sites are inside Detroit proper. Also, if you like museums, the Detroit Historical Museum on Woodward, near the Art Institute and the main Detroit Public Library, has a display with the body drop from the old Cadillac plant.

        Not long ago I was at the Piquette Ave. Model T factory. It’s in the Milwaukee Junction area of Detroit, which is basically the area south of East Grand Blvd, East of Woodward extending to St. Aubin. Now when I was a teenager, “St. Aubin south of the Boulevard” was kind of shorthand for the worst parts of Detroit. Today, however, the area is more urban prairie than Dodge City. I’m not saying that I’d walk down those streets at night, but I felt perfectly safe getting out of my car and taking pictures during the day. Half or more of the remaining buildings are occupied with businesses, and while there are ruins, the vibe is one of being deserted and desolate, not of being an urban jungle rife with street crime. Your mileage may vary but that’s the vibe that I pick up in much of Detroit.

        Sometimes I wonder how many car guys visit Detroit. Someone use to offer tour guide services to Brits and other European rhythm & blues fans looking for old studio sites. I wonder if there are enough car fans in Detroit for the Dream Cruise or at other times to make a tour guide service for car enthusiasts a viable business.

        Karesh is making a bar or bat mitzvah soon and asked me to put together a little guide in case some their guests want to see the sites.

  • avatar
    eldard

    So where’s the Kanemitsu money when you need it?

  • avatar
    detlump

    Detroit has its challenges, and really needs the kind of help that only would come from a natural disaster, but Detroit’s has been a decades long disaster in the making, not a tornado, hurricane, earthquake or terrorist attack.

    Crappy weather? Detroit doesn’t have to deal with any of those, except a rare tornado. I don’t mind shoveling some snow now and then (Chicago got much worse this winter BTW) rather than dealing with oppressive heat, lack of fresh water, hurricanes, or earthquakes. Plus, it is much better to be on the border of Canada than Mexico. Way better.

    The cheap real estate may be what saves Detroit, its affordable for young people. Plus a lot is going on downtown. And Detroit itself is huge, you can put SF, Manhattan and Boston inside it with room to spare.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      The cheap real estate may be what saves Detroit, its affordable for young people. Plus a lot is going on downtown. And Detroit itself is huge, you can put SF, Manhattan and Boston inside it with room to spare.

      Buy a $5000 house, pay that much or more in property tax. PER YEAR.

      Detroit, if it wants ‘homesteaders’, needs to make a drastic statement on taxes. NO INCOME TAX for first $100k, property tax capped to 1% of ACTUAL SALE VALUE, and sales tax (if any) no higher than the national average, combined state and local. NO INCOME TAX on corporate profits. From this reduced pot of cash, hack and slash entitlements so that there is no budget deficit.

      There are plenty of cities and states that lack one of the big 3 taxes (income, sales, property), and several that lack _two_ of them, and yet can live pretty much within their means. Detroit needs to be able to compete with them, and in fact, to surpass them in order to incentivize people to take on the risk (weather, crime, government) to go and build a future there.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        Detroit doesn’t have its own sales tax — I think we’ve had uniform statewide sales taxes since at least Proposal A in the 90s. It’s that income tax that gets up to 3% — that’s why they’re trying to get an override of the census or of the state constitution because they fell below their special exemption that caps every other Michigan municipality at 1% resident/0.5% nonresident.

        That and they have the most byzantine system for registering and selling real estate in the city because you have to pay off ever municipal office along the way. Even neighboring burbs that are not well off have more expedited government process for transferring property… and they show up when you schedule an inspection.

      • 0 avatar
        mtymsi

        IIRC when you are subject to the city of Detroit’s income tax you get a corresponding credit for an equal amount on your state income tax. So insofar as Detroit having an income tax that is not a financial deterrent for someone to work and/or live in the city.

        Detroit could literally pay people to move there and very few would. They recently announced police & fire fighting personnel would be allowed to purchase abandoned homes for virtually nothing and I highly doubt very many took advantage of the offer.

        What is the point of a financial incentive to live in Detroit when it’s common knowledge the city isn’t safe and has piss poor police and EMS response times. It was recently brought to light the city has less than 100 police officers patrolling on any given night, they could easily use four times that many. And those “patrolling” aren’t because all they do is run one call after another. It has been reported on the news in the last sixty days at least six people died because it took over 30 minutes for the EMS to arrive. A couple of weeks ago six were shot around four in the morning and they were driven by their friends to the closest police station which in turn transported them to hospitals because zero EMS units were available. That does not happen in the suburbs, either six getting shot at once or no EMS units available. And of course there are no private ambulance companies in the city because of the inherent danger yet they service all of the suburbs.

        Want to severely decrease your chances for survival? Go to Detroit.

      • 0 avatar
        GS650G

        A house in Detroit famously sold for 1.35 on ebay. Tax records showed a tax debt of over 8 grand. And the house was in shambles. So make that 8001.35 for a building surrounded by vacant lots, burned out shells, and no residents for 2 blocks.

        The local millage rate runs about 8 points, pretty steep. You don’t get quality schools, police or public services for that coin. Viewed from satellite nature is reclaiming large areas of the county.

        Maybe they can figure a way to charge mother nature property taxes.

        Visit the ruins of detroit here:
        http://www.detroityes.com/0tourdetroit.htm#The_Fabulous_Ruins

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I would further venture to say it’s a combination of things, a city that depended on the auto industry for its existence and it did quite well, up through the 50’s and early 60’s during the auto industry heyday but by the mid 60’s onward, we had a complacency take over and the automakers began to cease being innovative and got into a rut with building much the same things they’ve always built – and got sloppy in assembling such products and when change was brought upon them, they went kicking and screaming to try and avoid enacting that change, take anti pollution controls for instance, they saddled 60’s technology motors with technology that was quite ripe for prime time and we have part of what ended up being the malaise era for starters, then jumping into the FWD bandwagon AFTER some other marquees were transitioning over and came WAY late to the OHC camp as well and now finally, have product that is competitive and reliable and at least decently put together.

    That and corruption and a super reliance on the owner occupied vehicle, of which the poor could barely afford and what cars they DO own are old, barely run – IF they run at all and are thus stuck in areas with little to no support, nor jobs nor anything but the barest essentials such as a ramshackle grocery store with little more than convenience foods and what produce they get isn’t of quality and expensive and without any social network or anything like that, many of the citizenry left behind have nothing but crime to support them so it’s really about a host of things and a government not willing to deal with it, but follow where the money is for themselves and left the city to slowly rot from within.

  • avatar

    from Return to Greatness…

    STEP FOUR: Destination Detroit. This idea brings all future award-winning dealers and salespeople to the Motor City. The benefits are countless. First, we would be more effective in focusing the meetings, and events, on the business at hand. Rather than desert tours and polo matches, we entertain showing Motown’s finest offerings. Have the individuals tour Milford Proving Grounds, drive on the test track, witness a crash in order to illustrate safety testing, go through the Styling Studio and expose future designs. Allow them to meet with engineers, and see the inner workings of corporate headquarters. We pamper the spouses with our city’s best services. At the conclusion, we send them back home ecstatic about GM, and Detroit. These actions would build goodwill for our city and company, and spread it throughout the country. Meanwhile, our executives can stay at home, which would be very good for their family lives, and our expense column.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      Interesting point is that most of the activities described are not in the the city of Detroit but rather in the suburbs. Watch the attendance at these events drop when the participants find out their destination is Detroit. Were it not for the casinos there wouldn’t be a single attraction in the city.

      Even if this were a resounding success it wouldn’t do anything to improve Detroit as you can be positive those that do visit won’t be coming back anytime soon nor encouraging others to visit.

      Interesting to me we have what I think is a world class cosmopolitan city in Ann Arbor and a few miles north the trainwreck Detroit is. Of course there’s a huge difference in the populations of Ann Arbor & Detroit.

  • avatar
    dfwcarguy2011

    For some insight on how Detroit got in this mess, see the movie/documentary Roger & Me. There is a lot of truth in that movie for anyone willing to view it.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Crappy weather? Not everybody likes to swelter in hot humid temps for 8 months of the year. No, weather is not the problem. Detroit grew to the size it did on a high volume of semiskilled people that made decent middle class wages. Now that the volume of those jobs is but a fraction of what it once was, there is far too much city for the amount of residents.

    Common theme among the posters is that this is all caused by left wing polices and greedy union bosses and a sea of corruption. No doubt the union has caused much of the trouble. But how about looking at the damaged inflicted by the right wing fat cats. You know the ones who chose to reuse old designs instead of insisting on new ones. Or instead of embracing regulatory change, blaming it for all ills. Or choosing to decontent to the point of stripping the desirabilty out of the product. Or selecting the cheapest materials to maximize today’s profits at the expense of the future. Or allowing shortened design life for various parts. I’d bet these things contributed more to the decline of Detroit than any wage issue with the UAW.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Outstanding comment! There were so many contributing factors to the downfall of the American auto manufacturers over decades that eventually led to the downfall of Detroit and the Great State of Michigan. Jennifer Granholm has done wonderful things with Michigan during her tenure. Not everyone agreed with what she did but she will be missed. We can reminisce about what Detroit once was and stood for but we cannot ever bring that back. Maybe the people who are sick of being ashamed of Detroit should ask themselves how it got to be that way?

      • 0 avatar

        Jennifer Granholm has done wonderful things with Michigan during her tenure.

        Did I miss the /sarc tag?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Ronnie, you nailed it! Detroit CEOs sick of being ashamed of Detroit, yet they haven’t had an original thought in decades to make Detroit and its products better. Who did Jennifer Granholm work so closely with during her tenure? Detroit CEOs! Sounds like a vicious circle to me.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      The biggest cause of decline in Detroit is many of the residents. There are many poor areas in the country that have nowhere near the blight and crime rate Detroit has.

      The vast majority of Detroit neighborhoods which for decades were well kept are now mostly abandoned. And I mean abandoned to the point the current mayor is trying to consolidate the remaining population to be able to provide police, fire, EMS, water, street lighting, road repair etc. The politicians, the union and the corporate executives did not cause that, the residents did. They literally turned nice neighborhoods into trash dumps.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Detroit grew to the size it did on a high volume of semiskilled people that made decent middle class wages. Now that the volume of those jobs is but a fraction of what it once was, there is far too much city for the amount of residents.

      The market value of that semiskilled labor was artificially heightened between the 1950s and 1970s-80s due to the smashing of the rest of the world’s industrial capacity and/or their subsequent experiments with socialism, and the sequestering of much of the world’s semiskilled labor behind the wall of communism. To puff up that labor value to similar levels today would require a massive preemptive nucular strike on all other industrial economies to destroy their ability to compete, or massive tariffs and trade blockages.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Husky, calling auto company executives right wing fats cats makes for a good turn of phrase but is it right? I don’t know but I would bet that most of those fat cats were reliable Democrat voters and contributors. Look at Bill Ford Jr., he certainly is a Democrat and he has lots of company I’m sure.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I was slapping back at the annoying tendency for many to blame the left for everything so in turn I fell into the same trap. My bad. I’m only a bit left of center anyway. Regarding your comment, yes there are plenty of hard left truly wealthy people. But I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of the folks who run America’s businesses reliably fall to the right. I don’t really like it, but I understand it and don’t blame them. They are voting for what they perceive to be their best interest. Much the way GE paid zero dollars in income tax last year. I find that reprehensible but what they did is legal so my anger should be directed to those who produce the rules that allow such corporate rape. What I don’t understand is why some states (like Ohio in the past few elections) have become swing states for Republicans when (in general) they don’t have those voters’ best interest in mind.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        golden3husky,

        Maybe your error should cause you to take a step back and think. Our problems are the fault of the left, and that of leftist impulses of people who have staked out the so-called conservative position.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Wasn’t much of an error, more like an explanation of an emotional shoutout. And I feel that far more bad in America came from the right, not the left. That said, neither the pure capitalist position nor the pure socialist position is the right, uh, correct answer. It is the balance between these extremes that result in making a world where most can thrive. You and I simply have very different ideas where that setting should be. And that is fine. The world would be a very dull place if we all though the same way.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        …yes there are plenty of hard left truly wealthy people

        No, there aren’t. There are a lot of a neo-liberal “Third Way” type people and hell of a lot of rich social liberals, but very few hard leftists with a lot of money. It’s not a compatible position, not really, not when the chips are down.

        Very few rich will ever really talk about income redistribution unless they have a midlife crisis and an ascetic streak a mile wide.

        It’s much how there’s not a lot of actual libertarians on the right. There are people who think they are, but there’s a wicked tendency to authoritarianism that is utterly impossible to reconcile, so what you get is various riffs on “Republicans who smoke weed”.

        The tragic part is that people who are far left and far right and not particularly authoritarian are actually quite close cousins, politically speaking: both have the interests of the commons at heart, and both are either hideously duped by or stupidly slaved to powerbrokers on the same side of the spectrum as them.

  • avatar

    Tweet from GMC_Joe:

    “I’m at Motor City Pride (1 Jefferson Avenue, Detroit) w/ 3 others …”

  • avatar
    Crosley

    When car makers want to build a plant in the US, they go to right-to-work states in the South. They don’t go anywhere near places like Detroit because they don’t want to deal with the UAW. Ever wonder why the Big 3 opened up so many factories in place like Mexico? So they don’t have to deal with the UAW, they can’t compete. Want to know why so many companies manufacture off shore. Once again, the unions got out of hand.

    You’ll notice none of the Japanese car companies import cars from Mexico to the US, they’re able to manufacture here competitively once you take Unions out of the equation, and these are good jobs people would kill to have.

    The UAW (and their union cohorts) has blood on its hands for destroying the Rust Belt.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Southern Indiana and Western Ohio have attracted several new auto factories. It’s possible to make money building cars in the parts of the Great Lakes states as long as plant locations are in rural areas outside of the union strongholds. Illinois and Michigan should be asking how their neighbors have attracted manufacturing.

    • 0 avatar
      Tommy Boy

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      “You’ll notice none of the Japanese car companies import cars from Mexico to the US,…”

      What about Nissan? Oh, they are really French. I forgot.

      I dont think anyone has mentioned this, but the Big 3 started leaving Michigan right after WWII, and not for union reasons. California, New Jersey, Texas, Georgia, and other states got UAW-represented assembly plants for logistics reasons. Detroit’s population peaked in 1950.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “The UAW (and their union cohorts) has blood on its hands for destroying the Rust Belt.”

      And the people who designed, engineered and marketed the cars the UAW built had nothing to do with it, right?

      Flash back to the late 1990’s – Ford and GM were flush with profits in the midst of the SUV and truck boom. Instead of doing what would have probably saved them from complete meltdown a few years back – sinking billions into making better cars – they went on a merger-and-acquisition spree.

      Then we have Chrysler, which let itself be raided for every liquid and intellectual asset it had by Daimler, and eventually was left for dead.

      No one would argue that the UAW didn’t play a part in all this, but they were NOT the prime reason for what happened to the Detroit 3. You can lay that blame squarely at the feet of the people in those companies who made the conscious decision to make crappy products.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Back in the late 60s, when Mich issued new license plates every year, the slogan alternated between “winter wonderland” and “water wonderland”.

    Us Buckeyes referred to it as the “winter water welfare wonderland”.

    Of course Ohio has gone a long way down that path also with Cleveland emulating the wonderful government policies that have worked so well in Motown.

  • avatar
    Rob

    Every city, county, state, and country are in competition for talent and capital. Detroit has lost that competition.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Just saw an episode of ‘Inspector America” in which an engineer from Minnesota goes to major cities and metro areas to look at their infrastructure. This one was all about Detroit. This city is suffering what many major cities have gone through, the producers (i.e., employed/taxpayers) get tired of being asked to fork over more and more of their income for less and less from the city, and they move. Eventually what this leaves is a city with a fragment of its tax base trying to support people who don’t make enough to move, or who’ve been living off of government largess most of their lives. With the same amout of real estate and infrastructure to maintain with less money the situation grows worse and worse. The apalling condition of the city with ramshackle abandoned buildings is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg. A representative from the fire department stated they were undermanned by about 300-400! Simple maintenance, such as pruning trees to prevent interference with powerlines is not done and it causes fires. 100 year old water mains don’t get replaced, just patched and patched again. Bridges and roadways are not maintained and they’re rotting to pieces. Streetlights sit with exposed wiring, on and on it goes. Detroit does have plans, beginning with the demolition of over 2000 buildings for saftey reasons, to reduce crime and in the hope that this will clear the way for growth. If Ford, any other manufacturer wants to make this a more appealing place to work, they need to pony up the cash rather than just complain, and tell Detroit to get with it.

    • 0 avatar
      seanx37

      The DFD is undermanned by more than 300-400. And those that are still there are OLD. Average age is mid 40s. And with a 20 and out retirement plan, they will lose most of those in the next few yrs.

      The Detroit Police are in far worse shape. They have about 1/3 the number of cops that the Federal government says they should. And like, the fire department, they are old. They lose about 10 percent or more a year to retirement. Less than 2000 officers now.

      That said, it is interesting that this conference was in Mackinaw, and didn’t really have anyone from the actual city. OR really has that much stake in the city. For most it is just a place to drive thru on the way to the airport.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    I read about a businessman who wants to turn old neighborhoods into farmland: http://www.takepart.com/news/2011/05/13/detroit-from-post-industrial-wasteland-to-post-industrial-farmland. Kind of a neat idea.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Even if Detroit wasn’t the train wreck that it is the weather would keep people from actually wanting to live there.

    Which of the Big 3 will announce that they’re moving to Atlanta first and how much of an S-Storm will that announcement cause?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The way I see it Detroit has at least one great resource – a ton of cheap property within the city. The question should be how can Detroit make the most of this resource to revitalize itself?

    If even policemen are unwilling to move into the city despite the great incentives being offered obviously something has to be done about the crime rate. Step one then needs to be to crack down hard on the crime, even if that means spending a lot of state or federal money to hire more officers to do it.

    Of course, just locking up all the ne’er-do-wells isn’t a good long term solution, for as long as their is rampant poverty, there will be a crime problem. So it’s also important to address the poverty issues. The US has a larger per capita prison population than most other industrialized nations, but most prisoners do nothing more than sit in cells eating up taxpayer dollars. Let’s re-institute the chain gangs in Detroit but with a twist – teach the prisoners life skills and put them to work in skilled or semi-skilled labor positions. If there are a lot of run down houses and buildings, then start teaching them how to be electricians, plumbers, drywall-men, masons, roofers, etc. Put them to work rebuilding the city and leave them with a skill they can make a living with after they’ve served their time so that they are less likely to fall back into a life of crime.

    On the same note, let’s address the welfare problem by setting strict time for receiving benefits without restitution. Six months is more than enough time to find a job or find a way to move somewhere where you can, so let’s say after six months if you are still receiving checks, whether they be unemployment or welfare, you are automatically drafted into state sponsored labor at minimum wage. The state and city will actually get a return on its investment this way, and those previously sitting idle will now be helping to renew the infrastructure of the city – paving roads, replacing water lines, helping to rebuild homes, and all for a fraction of the cost to hire independent contractors. If someone refuses to work the payments stop, and the police watch them like a hawk until they start breaking laws to support their idle lifestyles, and once in prison they are put to work anyway. People will learn quickly it’s better to find a job on their own volition.

    Next, we need to address education and the mentality of the city’s youth to keep them from falling into the trappings that plague some of the current adult residents. Extend benefits to qualified teachers willing to come teach in the city’s public schools – the same benefits being offered to the police and firemen regarding housing are a good start, but also offer to pay off student loans in exchange for an agreed-upon number of years service. Make parents accountable. Failing to instill upon your children the importance of education is a great way to ensure they will lead a life of crime and delinquency. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a crime, so therefore parents who don’t support their children’s education should be found guilty of child abuse, declared unfit, and have custody of said children turned over to the state. Create state-run boarding schools with strict discipline, but also plenty of available help and encouragement to make sure the next generation turns out better than the last. Running these programs will cost money, but it will also create a lot of jobs.

    Create a homestead program. If you move into and improve a home in Detroit to bring it up to code and meet certain deed restrictions to help raise property values, you get a major break in property taxes in perpetuity plus money back for doing the work. Encourage people who might have lost their homes in the financial crisis to come to Detroit for a second chance – a guaranteed mortgage at a low rate in exchange for the sweat of your brow, with conditions in the contract of course that if you blow your chance this time by becoming delinquent you’re out of the house faster than you can grab an overnight bag. Bring people in who might have been victims of hard times, but who are willing to work hard to set things right.

    In the end you will be left with a safer city that law abiding citizens will feel comfortable moving into, especially because the infrastructure will be modernized. Property values will raise, which will lead to more tax revenues to help pay for all of these programs. At the same time offer businesses short term tax breaks or free land to build up in the city to help create new jobs. Once established these businesses will further help fund the renewal programs.

    EDIT:

    As another incentive for business – offer to make the tax breaks on corporate profits permanent as long as the company meets certain guidelines for compensation for all employees. If a company provides comprehensive healthcare coverage, worthwhile retirement or matching 401K contributions, significant profit sharing for all profits after R&D and facilities re-investment, and agrees to limit executive compensation to a certain reasonable level above various non-management employees, allow them to pay far less in tax to the state. The goal should be rebuilding the middle class in Detroit. Citizens with stable employment making enough to pay their mortgages, car notes, college funds, utilities and keep their families well fed don’t tend to cause civil unrest. Make the community responsible and accountable for their actions, but also incentivize and encourage the employers to play fair so that we don’t have CEOs making hundreds of millions while dutiful employees worry about keeping the lights on.

    Finally, encourage small businesses. Offer grants and major tax breaks for sole proprietorships and other businesses grossing less than $500,000 per year (or whatever limit the economists say makes sense). Encourage startups so that young talent and future industries want to take root in Detroit. The auto industry is great, but there is no reason that Detroit should always be dependent on it.

  • avatar

    This IS unfortunately what happens in a one-industry town and state when your industry dosent STAY competitive. NOT just between GM, Ford and Chrysler…GLOBALLY. A case can be made that V8s for 60 years killed this industry. Theyre just now starting to get vehicles that get 30-40mpg while the ROW has been doing it for decades. Yeah I know the Germans and Japanese sell V8s too, but pretty much ONLY here. Youve got to be seriously loaded to drive a 12mpg car where fuel is/has been $8/gal. You can blame unions, democrats, oil companies, fuel prices, greed, stupidity, vanity, Ralph Nader and on and on, but bottom line is you/we need to have GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE PRODUCT to keep factories here running and exporting. Can you imagine any high-tech industries that sold their best products worldwide but saved their obsolete stuff for the idiots in trickledownville?

  • avatar
    segar925

    Detroit is today what the rest of the country will be in a few years under the current economic and social programs of Obama and the Democrats. Punishing achievement and rewarding deadbeats thru government redistribution of earnings eventually tears down the whole idea of the American dream. “The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money”- Margaret Thatcher.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      And yet more socialist countries are, by and large, doing better than erstwhile-capitalist America, and large cities outside of the United States are more often doing well than not. Do you think it might be the distinctly broken American urban management model that’s at fault?

      I’ve been to a lot of big cities. The ones were government is ineffective and/or absent are much, much worse than the ones where government is proactive and strategic.

      • 0 avatar
        Skink

        The distinctly liberal urban American model is what’s at fault.

        Remember, too, that Western European cities have allowed America to pay for their international defense during and since the Cold War era, allowing these countries to fund even more indulgent welfare states than America’s. In spite of these advantages,, socialism has fallen out of favor, starting with Great Britain. Even Sweden has snapped around to reality somewhat.

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        “And yet more socialist countries are, by and large, doing better than erstwhile-capitalist America, and large cities outside of the United States are more often doing well than not.”

        Not true. The average LOWER class American (as defined by the government) has more material goods and a higher standard of living than the average middle class European, who by the way are far more likely to die of cigarette smoking than us “poor” Americans. Socialism sucks, plain and simple. Of course if rationed health care is very important to you than I guess the avg middle class European has it better.

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        “And yet more socialist countries are, by and large, doing better than erstwhile-capitalist America,”

        And how ironic that uber-socialist nations such as Germany, Japan and Korea depend greatly on selling cars to erstwhile-capitalist America to keep their social economies strong.

        PIIGS and Britain can’t do the same. Too bad they suck at engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Liberal, and even Socialist, policies don’t punish achievement. The truth is that in any society everyone is better off if there aren’t a lot of people trying to live by any means necessary below the poverty line.

      No one is saying that deadbeats should be given a free ride, or that anyone should be able to live comfortably by choosing not to work or to contribute to society.

      The truth is that any profitable company earns those profits on the backs of all of the employees, including the numerous ones at the lowest level. When the top brass is making more money than they know what to do with and the rank and file are living paycheck to paycheck there’s a problem. Redistribution of wealth wouldn’t be necessary if the profits for any corporation were divided more equitably to begin with.

      The American Dream has always been that through hard work and perseverance anyone can achieve success and financial stability. The current set of rules that allow the wealthy to pay far less of their share than those who are actually doing the work to earn those profits, all while earning hundreds of times the pay, flies in the face of the American Dream, and has more in common with the ancient and failed system of lords and serfs.

      • 0 avatar
        Skink

        Spoken like a true socialist. The American Dream is to be left alone by the government in pursuit of one’s own dream. It’s capitalism and property rights. The Socialist Dream is to be guaranteed a standard of living regardless of one’s talents, or industriousness, or capital contribution. Obama campaigned on the notion of ‘fundamentally changing’ America. Enough short attention-span independents, untethered to any acquaintance with America’s founding principles, were caught up in his personal mythology and the novel, history-making notion of electing the first black man to the presidency. It’s turning out to be just as smart a move as Minnesota’s decision to elect the first pro wrestle to be governor. Only it’s more tragic, because at least Ventura wasn’t interested in destroying the country. So don’t hijack the American Dream and turn it into FDR’s fevered dream of an expanded bill of entitlements. ‘The Road to Serfdom’ is a great book. You should read it.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I won’t argue that I don’t believe in certain principles of socialism, and at the same time I believe in certain principles of libertarianism. I agree that freedom is paramount, and I certainly don’t want the government getting involved in what I choose to do with another consenting adult, what I decide to eat, imbibe or inhale, or what firearms or other equipment I choose to own in my own home.

        At the same time, the ‘everyone for themselves’ philosophy just leads to those who have the most having their way with everyone else. Checks, balances, and regulations are important. No one should expect a life of leisure without earning it through their own efforts, but at the same time those who control the lion’s share of the wealth in this nation shouldn’t be able to wield it like a weapon to further increase their wealth at the expense of those who are trying to build themselves up.

        The heart of the American Dream is the idea of a strong middle class. The extremely wealthy would rather see an oligarchy or plutocracy where they benefit without consequence or reciprocation from the efforts of those beneath them, regardless of the quality of life left for those who make their opulence possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Tommy Boy

      +1!!!

      Did anyone notice that the middle-class started struggling in this country (in real terms their income peaked in 1973) within a few years after the “Great Society” and other liberal / progressive programs kicked-in in earnest?

      And did anyone notice that the current President has spent his entire adult life around people who wish the decline, if not the demise of America? Reverend “God Damn America!” Wright and revolutionary Bill Ayers (he of the 2001 NYT piece with the photo of him in a dirty alley stepping on an American flag being but two examples. “Birds of a feather flock together.”

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        From what I hear and what also applies to me is that most people in America did better under Bush and Clinton than they are now doing under Obama. And that cuts to the heart of the matter of all politics: how well people are doing. Those people who are doing better under Obama benefit from Obama bail outs and hand outs at the expense of people who actually work for a living and pay taxes that are handed out to these recipients. The millions of people who lost their jobs during the Obama years can’t be happy with Obama’s economic policies and even if they draw 99+ weeks of unemployment there is no guarantee that they won’t lose everything they have. What they need are jobs and Obama’s economic policies do not favor the job creators. An interesting aside to the topic of being ashamed of Detroit, a lot of people from Detroit and Michigan are moving to New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Idaho. In fact, this year and last, a lot of people from the East, especially NY and NJ, have cashed out and moved West. Not only does that change the demographic, it also changes the support that Obama and the Democrats enjoy in the East. If enough people vote to fire Obama in 2012 maybe we can all get on with the task of rebuilding America, to include Detroit and Michigan.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Clinton was able to lead us into great economic growth. The tide of progress was enough that it was able to carry into some of the Bush years, but by the end of Bush’s terms his mangling of our economic future was so great that Obama inherited a huge mess.

        Given the enormity of the mess that Obama has been forced to clean up due to Bush’s incompetence, I think he’s doing a pretty decent job. His real chance to show off what he can do for this country will come in his second term once the recovery is in full swing. If the best candidate the GOP can find to run is Romney, that second term is pretty much guaranteed (though I would vote for Hillary if given the chance, guess I’ll have to wait for ’16 for that).

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Nullo your last couple of posts are absolutely spot-on…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Nullo, I think it is even more simple than that. All the people who pinned their hopes for change on Obama and voted for him, who have now lost their jobs and are worse off than before are not going to give him another term in office. As you probably know, New Mexico is a blatantly blue state where the voters are overwhelmingly Democrat. Yet we voted in a Republican governor this time around, largely due to Bill Richardson’s lack of leadership. It all boils down to how well the voters (those who actually vote instead of jaw politics to death) are doing in the real world. The vast influx of people moving to New Mexico and West Texas from high-tax states in the East is noteworthy. I started out as a Kennedy-Democrat but morphed into a Reagan-Republican, mostly driven by the term of Jimmy Carter, up to now the worst president in recent memory. That is until Obama. Obama has Carter beat and barring some sudden divine intervention that turns the economy around and provides jobs for everyone who wants a job… I see only the people who are doing better under Obama voting for him in 2012. All this ties directly to the resurrection of Detroit. Once people get a business-oriented leader in the White House the mood of the country will change to backing the US auto manufacturers and maybe even buying their stuff. Right now, the majority of Americans view the US auto manufacturers as beneficiaries of Obama’s largesse with the tax payers’ money and his spreading-the-wealth around policy. If people choose not to buy Ford or GM, why would they care about a resurgence of Detroit or Michigan? And the majority of real-world new car buyers still choose some foreign brand, don’t they?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        highdesertcat,

        Sadly, when I lived in Virginia I saw what happens when people leave the high-tax workers’ utopias for the opportunities presented by lower tax conservative states. They don’t see the connections between their politics and their desire to leave. They bring the disease with them. Most of these people are beyond redemption.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Highdesertcat –

        I’ve seen a lot of Northeasterners moving down to FL recently as well, and not just the typical older retirees (though there is, as always, a good chunk of them). Talking to them as they come onto my lot the reasons they seem to offer are mainly weather and cost of living, so I guess taxes could have something to do with the cost of living aspect.

        FL real estate was beyond nuts back in ’05/’06, but by last year the pendulum had swung to the opposite extreme. You can buy a nice 3 bed/2 bath house built out of solid concrete blocks and stucco with all of the amenities, a nice sized yard, and possibly even an in ground pool in a nice neighborhood for under or near $100,000 here right now. You’d be lucky to get a 800 sq/ft condo for that in a lot of Northeast states right now. FL has no state income tax, which is nice, but when I lived in DE though there was a state income tax, there was no sales tax, so I think I still came out ahead on taxation up there.

        I think there are plenty of reasons people are moving south and west, and while I’m sure political reasons have something to do with it for some, taking advantage of the excesses of the building boom and getting away from a couple of horrendous winters in a row probably has something to do with it too.

        I do agree that people will vote for whoever they think will help them increase their individual prosperity. That being said, I’m not doing any worse than I was back in ’08, and programs since like the first time homebuyers tax credit and cash for clunkers have put a lot of money into my pockets, so I have no complaints. Obama made good on his pledge not to raise taxes on working and middle class families, and he even threw a bone to the rich by extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. I can see how people could be frustrated that the economy hasn’t fully rebounded yet, but things could have gotten a lot worse, and now they are finally getting better. Obama’s policies could have gone a lot further, and I wish he’d pushed much harder on healthcare and for the public option, that he’d pushed to go back to Clinton era tax rates, and that he’d pulled our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and let the locals out there sort out their own mess, but all in all he hasn’t done anything that has directly caused a loss of prosperity for anyone.

        I always hear people talking about wanting a President with business experience, but I’m not sure why that is a good idea. The government shouldn’t be run like a business. The government exists to provide for the people, not to make a profit.

        At the end of the day economic growth comes from people spending money. Reagan had plenty of good ideas, but trickle down economics has been shown to be a flawed concept. When you give a lot of money to the wealthy they find ways to keep as much of it as they can. When you spread the money out amongst the poor, working, and middle classes they spend it, which grows the economy. The full recovery has to start from the bottom up. Help people feel secure enough in their financial situation that they will spend, which will infuse businesses with money so that they can hire, which will reduce unemployment, create more spending, and get the whole thing rolling again.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        CJ and Nullo, we’ll have to see what the results of the Nov 2012 election bring us. I am a firm believer in that the people who actually vote are going to vote their conscience based on how well they are doing under the policies of the current administration. I know that I’m not doing near as well under Obama and if the majority of others are feeling the same pinch then it is time for change, and new hope. Even for Detroit and Michigan.

  • avatar
    bodegabob

    Why can’t we just have Omni Consumer Products take over? They’ll use technology to set the place right.

    Anyway, I’m glad these swells had a good time on Mackinac. I’m sure some interesting hor d’ouvres were served in between bouts of handwringing and demands that the situation be rectified at once. Maybe there were some ideas bandied about that were a little more insightful than setting up a website for volunteers, as Ruess suggested. But to the rest of the world Detroit proper looks like a corpse that is just about picked clean by various predators and parasites, and no one much cares outside of the few remaining residents and trustees.

    So maybe the best answer is to turn the city into a museum of sorts: Kind of a tribute to industrial dominance of the 20th Century, with extensive exhibits dedicated to showing what ignoring race issues–then reacting against them–did to this once-important place.

    Maybe they can call it “Little America” . . . no, wait. . . that’s taken.

  • avatar
    obruni

    to all the union and “socialism” bashers – do you want to give up your weekends off, vacation days, workplace safety laws, child labor laws, and health benefits?

    these would never have been possible without the efforts of unions progressives, and evangelicals in the 1890s – 1920s

    if you are staunchly against unions and socialism, you should renounce all those things for yourself, otherwise you are just a hypocrite.

    companies in a capitalistic system use economies of scale to get better deals for themselves, unions allow workers of these companies to do the same. HOW DARE THEY?! lol

    and for another point, I love it how unions get all the blame for the declines in industry, but no one looks at management to cast blame. Management of these firms were signing these deals with unions, don’t they get the blame too?

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      So, you feel management is at fault for agreeing to the union demands? Do you not remember the strikes and the countless bleeding of billions of dollars during the shutdowns? That’s the whole damn point of unions . . . they have their companies by the nuts, and there’s not much the companies can do but agree. If GM could have said no, you don’t think they would have?

      Unions have had the cards, politicians, and public opinion stacked in their favor for decades. Thank god that’s starting to change. It’s too late to save the millions of jobs that have left the country, however, as a direct result of the UAW and their “I got mine” attitude. Nobody argues that working conditions were poor decades ago, and that workers had to unite to overcome them. What does this have to do with the ridiculous recent union demands?

      • 0 avatar
        obruni

        did I say that the UAW wasn’t being unreasonable? no, I think they were acting pretty stupidly when they created jobs bank, for example.

        however, now you are claiming that the UAW is responsible for millions of jobs leaving the country?

        oh yes, NAFTA and other free trade agreements had nothing to do with that, nor did a lack of labor standards (and I mean basic rules, such as ventilation and bathrooms) in other countries compared to ours, nor did the very strong dollar in the 1990s, nor did China’s currency manipulation have any effect at all on jobs being outsourced overseas. its all the effect of a single union representing a couple of industries.

        thousands of IT, call center, and administrative (investment bank trade processing, accounting & auditing work, legal document review) jobs have been outsourced overseas….is all of that the UAW’s fault too?

        I really hope that is not your point.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I worked on a complete reorganization of British Airways’ North American operations in order to break a call center union. We closed shops in Canada and the US, only to move the US one about one town away in order to leave behind the union tumor. Some people probably relocated to keep their jobs without the union work rules and protected absenteeism and substance abuse. It is worth doing anything, anything at all to get away from unions and their poisonous effect on everything they touch. Even going out of business is usually a better use of capital than employing union types.

      • 0 avatar
        geo

        Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc. are quite happy to manufacture in the USA, and they are (surprise) quite profitable . . . building cars. They have the same contraints the domestics do, abide by the same laws, and have the same foreign competition. What’s the difference? They’re not bound by the UAW. Big difference.

        Without the UAW, there would be one less HUGE reason to manufacture abroad. It doesn’t make economic sense to hire employees you have to pay when they’re not working, employees that refuse to do jobs they don’t feel they’re “designated” to do, employees that you can’t fire when they underperform, and employees that are more than willing to “take down the company” when their demands aren’t met. A company would be insane to do this, if there were other options.

        Without this UAW crap, I believe there would be millions of American jobs that don’t exist right now. For starters, there would be no need to do any sort of manufacturing in Canada with the equally loony CAW.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Other than Ann Arbor and a few cities near Ann Arbor, the entire state of Michigan makes me want to puke. Even to so called better areas around Detroit are nasty. Overweight women that smoke and are loud. Many in Michigan dress like the shop at Sears or Target. No Fashion. Aggressive driving with runaway gun laws. Not many people living in that area from Ivy league colleges. Most people within 50 miles of Detroit did not go to college, and even the ones that did went to a state school or some lame private college. Talk about low class. Stay away from Michigan.

    • 0 avatar

      Got to love the Ivy League–known for its quiet women.

      There’s a reason a disproportionate number of people chose U of M and MSU over out-of-state private colleges–they’re among the best public universities in the nation, and far less expensive than an Ivy.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    If you abandon buildings anywhere, if you don’t take precautions , vandals, squatters , druggies, arsonists will move in .

    This is not unique to Detroit, it happens everywhere in the world.

    And there are right wing hellholes as well as left wing ones. It’s political corruption at work.

    What seems to be unusual, is that Detroit and Michigan seem to allow the former owners of these commercial and private properties to just walk way or not force them to do something.

    So there are places like the Packard plant and Michigan Central which at one point could have been worth saving that are still rotting away 20-30 years after being closed.

    It’s the same downtown, buildings that will never be reused left to rot.

    Meanwhile the municipalities have to provide extra law enforcement to police these buildings with no tax revenue to pay for it.

    And this is just not Detroit , I attend a show in Novi MI every year, for the first few years it was an older facility and was kind of crappy. In 2005 it moved to the new Rock Financial Center about 2 miles away. The old facility was abandoned and as I far as I know was still there empty 5 years later.

    This is Michigan’s problem, it allows businesses and people to obtain new stuff without a plan to dispose or recycle the old stuff.

    Michigan also manages to find money to build sports stadia but can’t fund basic infrastructure and decent public education.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There is no new Packard plant. Michigan created their problem by making business unsustainable. They created their abandoned housing problem by making it too expensive to sell a house. You can’t sell unless you bring the place up to current codes it was never built for, so people have no choice but to abandon. You try the same with commercial properties, and the businesses have no choice but to cease existence. It is working.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        Packard closed in 62, Packards weren’t built at that plant after 1957 wasn’t that the golden age for Detroit?

        49 years to do nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Packards weren’t built at a new factory. They ‘merged’ with Studebaker, and the cars after that date were badge engineered Studebakers. There was no future for Packard or Studebaker though, and it isn’t like they closed the plant in favor of building one somewhere else. All they took was the name to an existing factory struggling to find a sustainable production volume.

        What does the golden age of Detroit mean? The parasites were vibrant and vigorous?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @CJinSD:
        “The parasites were vibrant and vigorous?”

        You see parasites. I see working men and women who were earning a decent wage for honest labor, who bought houses, raised the families, paid their taxes, and sent their kids to school so they could do even better.

        Parasites…give me a break.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You’re seeing a myth then. The reality is people who do as little work as possible for as much money as they can rely on organized crime to deliver with no incentive to do better. The money goes to drugs, booze, financed power toys, and other wastes that ill-gotten gains always gravitate towards. I managed union electricians in NYC and worked at UPS as a contractor in management immediately before and after the 1997 strike, so I actually know what unions do to people who join them and the work places they afflict. At least I assume the union electricians once had souls and consciences.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “This is Michigan’s problem, it allows businesses and people to obtain new stuff without a plan to dispose or recycle the old stuff.”

      This is typical in Rust Belt cities – the new development competes with old development for the same dollars. Basically, this is how a city cannibalizes itself. Same thing is happening in my hometown, St. Louis, which already had its Detroit moment about 20 years ago and has stabilized since.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Here’s an example of part of the problem. Apparently GM is building a new $130 million dollar data center in Warren. C’mon GM, can’t you find some space downtown? It sounds like it’s a facility that could stand alone.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m from an city in Ohio (Youngstown) that is similarly affected by being a one-industry town, in our case, the steel industry. There are way too many factors for the downfall of an area to be covered in-depth in a blog post, but I look to Pittsburgh as an example of an area that has brought itself up from a similar situation.

    Granted, even though Pittsburgh is/was the “Steel City”, it has other large industries there as well. Also, I think they did a very good job of promoting the area through it’s universities and (seriously) the sports teams. I really think the whole “City of Champions” idea has stuck in people’s minds over time. OTOH, the sports fans are a bit obnoxious, but that’s normal.

    I live in Grand Rapids now, and if it wasn’t for the city’s benefactors (the Van Andel and DeVos families, of Amway fame), I think this town could be a stain on the map also. But these families have famously invested in and are not afraid to be associated with the area, something that is sorely lacking in my hometown and other major cities. I believe this kind of altruism inspires others to do the same, regardless of social station.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    So – this is where all the comments are being posted!

    …and, once again, we are seeing how automobiles and society interact!

    Detroit.
    It is dead. It will be dead for at least a generation.

    If you haven’t been there, you honestly cannot imagine how bad the situation is. Bad part of town? Please. Detroit is so far gone there are not simple tweaking or policy changes that will turn this place around. Full size trees are growing out of collapsed downtown buildings. Wildlife has returned. Much of the infastructure is unrepairable. Detroit is a complete wreck.

    Another problem with Detroit is that it is not the only US city dying. So, why sink billions into Detroit when you can help turn around Chicago? Chicago has lost a million people during the time Detroit committed suicide and faces similar problems Detroit faced and failed to address decades ago. The political decisions made in many US cities over the past fifty years has created a number of dying US cities. Detroit is too far gone. Other US cities need the billions wasted on Detroit. Detroit is the victim of triage.

    The rot in Detroit is also ruining it’s suburbs and Michigan. I believe it will be quite a challenge to attract talent to Detroit. In this global auto market, remaining in Detroit is a powerful negative for our US auto industry. Yeah – they need to move.

    Get ready. These CEOS are stating reality.

  • avatar

    Reuss should be ashamed of where he works, not where he lives. if the Ren Cen rum dummies would listen once and for all I would rescue their sorry selves, and Detroit along with it.

  • avatar
    slumba

    I remember Detroit being dirty some 20 years ago – when you crossed the border from Windsor you could see a run down shack on the other side of the fence beside the US Customs building.


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