Wednesday, December 04, 2013


From the Washington Post:

Judge declares Detroit eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy

Orr will be able to consider pension cuts as part of his final proposal, Rhodes ruled. But Rhodes said he would only allow the cuts if the final reorganization is fair, the Detroit Free Press reported. Unions protested that bankruptcy would threaten the pensions of retirees and current employees.

At a news conference, Orr said selling the city’s art collection was still an option. He said pension cuts would be necessary to emerge from bankruptcy, but that he would work to mitigate the impact.

“We’re trying to be very thoughtful, measured and humane,” Orr said.

An attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Sharon Levine, told the Associated Press after the ruling that the union would appeal the decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

More here.

I posted this one on facebook earlier today with this comment:

Detroit public employee pensioners: work hard all your life, do all everything right, and still get screwed in the end. Because, you know, we've got to pay the banks first--they always get their thirty pounds of silver flesh. How can anyone in all seriousness push this "American Dream" crap anymore? A myth for chumps and idiots.
I got a few supportive comments in response at first, but while I was at work the conservative anti-union and "Democratic irresponsibility" brigade showed up to tell me how it's all the liberals' fault.  So, of course, I responded.
Okay, here's the deal. Regardless of any perceived corruption or bumbling local Democrats, there's not a damned thing ANYBODY in Detroit could have done once international shipping started to be cost-effective back in the 70s to stop the auto plants from leaving. Because that's what got Detroit into this mess. The auto industry made it a major city, but once the auto industry decided it could get cheaper labor elsewhere, Detroit, and its people, were discarded like a bunch of soiled condoms in an alley.

So that's what this is about. A destroyed economic base preceding a steady decline in population, which was probably the inevitable result. Another inevitable result: an ever declining tax base, which is ultimately why Detroit is in financial crisis. But nobody in city government could have known this back in the day when these contracts were being signed: the auto industry wasn't exactly up front with how far they were going with layoffs and plant closings. For that matter, it's not like retirement benefits are some kind of weird socialist form of compensation. This is money these people EARNED. Furthermore, cities need workers and services; otherwise, anarchy results. They HAD to employ these workers, and they had to give them a fair wage. So I'm just not seeing any irresponsibility on the part of the city with this.

All I'm seeing is what Marx called capitalism's "creative destruction" in play. The auto industry screwed the city it built, and then left the people on their own, which created an economic downward spiral from which there can be no recovery without massive federal aid. In short, this is a problem caused by capitalism. Not the unions. Not the Democrats. Certainly not the people of Detroit. They're victims, without a doubt.

So, instead of finding ways to stop the shafting this city has taken for decades, non-elected Republican appointed emergency city management has decided to up the ante. Instead of telling the banks to go to hell, which, for them, is quite comfortable, they're screwing the city's pensioners, an act of over-the-top cruelty and immorality.

This is no surprise coming from the GOP, which delights in the inflicting of suffering on the working class.