My Father-In-Law Says We Should Not Bail Out Detroit. I Think I'll Send Him This.

We all need to really be paying attention to what's happening in Detroit, because if they can pull this kind of thing there, every city in the nation is in jeopardy.

The Story Of Detroit's Bankruptcy And Why It Matters

So it all began in July when Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and his politically appointed emergency financial manager decided to push the City of Detroit into municipal bankruptcy.

It's the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in the history of the United States, which makes this a BFD.


But let's rewind.

Between 2011-2012, Snyder took away about $66 million that Detroit should have received as its share of state revenues. And over the past decade, the state has taken away $700 million in funding from Detroit.

Then Gov. Snyder signed a local dictator law that allows for "emergency financial managers." They can tear up cities' contracts with workers and sell off city assets. Citizens have no say in this.

Let’s keep in mind that these public employees have already worked in good faith and agreed to make huge sacrifices to keep Detroit running. This includes $160 million in annual savings from a 10-percent pay cut, health benefit reductions and a 40-percent cut in future pension benefits. The sacrifices were all one-sided.

Now, Michiganders didn't like the local dictator law that Snyder and his cronies passed. So they repealed it in a statewide referendum.

But then Snyder and his cronies pushed the local dictator law through a lame-duck session. And they used a loophole that prevents citizens from repealing the legislation for a second time.

This whole situation is kind of déjà vu. Like that time Snyder campaigned for governor assuring voters that “right-to-work” was too divisive for Michigan. But then he rammed it through during a lame-duck legislative session.

The decline of Detroit industry during the past 40 years was not the fault of modestly paid public-service workers. When Wall St. bankers and corporations helped saddle Detroit with crippling debt, public workers stayed and kept the city running.

But instead of addressing the actual causes of the city’s financial problems Snyder made it harder for the city to pay its bills. Then he declared that Detroit was in a state of financial emergency and appointed a “emergency financial manager” for the city.

Metaphorically, it looked something like this.

He claims that he didn't want to push the city into bankruptcy. But oddly enough his appointed emergency financial manager is a bankruptcy lawyer.

Fast forward a little bit and, SURPRISE, the financial manager/bankruptcy lawyer declares bankruptcy.

Now this means retired public service workers' retirement funds could get wiped out. They could get paid cents on the dollar, forcing them to choose between paying for their electricity, their house, food, or medicine.

It also means that taxpayers now have to pay about $1.4 million a month to lawyers and consultants in order to go through the bankruptcy. That is money which could be used to fund starved city services such as public safety, transportation, or firefighters.

Even the Republican attorney general says this is unconstitutional. The state constitution says clearly that cutting pension payments is illegal. Gov. Synder should be beating up on Wall Street instead of retirees and workers.

But instead of defending his actions, Snyder tried to get the bankruptcy judge to prevent him from being deposed in bankruptcy court about HIS decision to push Detroit into bankruptcy.

To put all this into perspective, these retirees don't have bling pensions. The average is only $19,000 a year. These pensions account for only 4 percent of Detroit’s budget expenditures.

I know, right?

And many of them don't receive Social Security. These public service employees worked their entire lives and made sacrifices. The pension is all they have. That means there isn’t a safety net if it gets wiped out.

Gov. Snyder, meanwhile, doled out more than a billion dollars in tax cuts to multinational corporations, many of which shipped American jobs overseas. Snyder found the money for these sweetheart deals by reducing aid to school districts, towns and cities across the state.

(Except it ain't his money)

He also announced, just days after authorizing Detroit’s bankruptcy, that some $250 million in taxpayer money would be spent to help a billionaire build a new for-profit hockey arena in the city.

Eminem couldn't believe it either.

So maybe this is a crazy thought: shouldn't we be securing retirees' pensions before paying off Wall Street banks? You know, the people who served their city for decades, took pay cuts, and have no other source of retirement income?

That $#!+ cray.

Because at the end of the day Wall St. investors and their bond insurers are going to come out of this okay. It’s workers and retirees who will suffer the most.

If you agree that retirees and working people should come before Wall St. profits then join us and show that you

Stand With Detroit.

More
True
Workonomics
Instagram / Frères Branchiaux Candle Co.

Three young Maryland brothers who started a candle company to buy new toys now donate $500 a month from their successful business to help the homeless.

Collin, 13, Ryan, 11, and Austin, 8, Gill founded "Frères Branchiaux," which is French for Gill Brothers, after their mom told them they could either get a job or start a business if they wanted more video games and Nerf guns.

"They surprised me when they started a business and they started selling at their baseball and football games and they've moved on to a vending truck," Celena Gill told Good Morning America.

The three of them have been making the candles in their Indian Head home for the last two years and business is booming, with 36 stores carrying the boys' products and a deal with Macy's in the works. They sell nearly 400 candles a month, priced from $18 to $36, along with other products like diffuser oils, room sprays, soap, bath bombs and salts, according to the Washington Post.


Keep Reading Show less
Business

Some people apparently don't understand just how unbelievably good Serena Williams is on the tennis court.

Why they don't understand this is unclear. She holds more open era Grand Slam titles than any other tennis player, male or female. She's set Olympic records, ranking records, age records, prize money earnings records—the woman is a record-breaking machine. (Fun fact: Williams is the highest paid female athlete of all time, having earned $86 million in prize money during her career. The next highest is Maria Sharipova, with $38 million in prize money. If that's not total dominance, I don't know what is.)

Her list of tennis championships is a mile long. You don't even have to follow tennis to know that Serena Williams is a freaking powerhouse of a tennis player, not to mention one of the greatest athletes of all time.

And yet, there are dudes who believe they could take her on.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via ManWhoHasItAll

Recently, Upworthy shared a tweet thread by author A.R. Moxon who created a brilliant metaphor to help men understand the constant anxiety that potential sexual abuse causes women.

He did so by equating sexual assault to something that men have a deep-seeded fear of: being kicked in the testicles.

HBO didn't submit 'Brienne' from Game of Thrones for an Emmy. So, she did it herself.

An anonymous man in England who goes by the Twitter handle @manwhohasitall has found a brillintly simple way of illustrating how we condescend to women by speaking to men the same way.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" shined a light on the cruelty that orcas face in captivity and created a sea change in the public's perception of SeaWorld and other marine life parks.

This "Blackfish" backlash nearly deep-sixed SeaWorld and led Canada to pass a law that bans oceanariums from breeding whales and dolphins or holding them in captivity. Animals currently being held in Canada's marine parks are allowed to remain as well as those taken in for rehabilitation.

Podcaster and MMA announcer Joe Rogan saluted Canada's decision on a recent episode.

"First of all, what assholes are we that we have those goddman things in captivity? A big fucking shout out to Canada because Canada, mostly probably through the noise that my friend Phil Demers has created in trying to get MarineLand shut down, Canada has banned all dolphin and all whale captivity. It's amazing. I hope the United States does it well, I hope it goes worldwide," Rogan told his guest, economist and mathematician Eric Weinstein.

Keep Reading Show less
Planet