I wrote a while back how all the problems in Lawrence were similar to Detroit. Well, now Detroit has declared bankruptcy. The implications for this now are dire. Not only for all the people of Detroit, who have, are and will be suffering for the foreseeable future, but for much of America’s future.
So far, stories on Detroit have shown just how bad things are. Footage of abandoned homes, piles of refuse, junk and squalor all over the city. Along with this are all the reports of the corruption and incompetence of the entire political leadership along with all the welfare and other government programs that were allowed to grow out of control in the last four decades. The result has seen two-thirds of the population leaving the city. Those left in Detroit now have to deal with a city whose services are so bad they can’t depend on help from police, fire and other essential services. Dangerous does not even begin to describe what this city is.
To put it simply, the debt of the city of Detroit is so overwhelming, $20 billion in the latest figures, that those in charge have not been able to come up with any viable solutions. And this is where I feel the scariest and unfair reality is hitting anyone willing to listen right between the eyes.
Along with all the other things threatening Detroit’s bottom line is they can no longer fund the city’s pensions. All public employees: police, firefighters, teachers and everyone who kept Detroit running, now hold their breath waiting for the fate of their pensions in bankruptcy court. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr wants to switch public retirees who are under 65 off their current health plan and put them on Obamacare. What happened to President Obama saying, “You could keep your current health care plan if you are happy with it?”
So what about the Bay State? Although Massachusetts and all its cities are in much better financial shape than Detroit and other cities across America, there is still glaring waste and abuse that the ruling party chooses to ignore. For months now abuse of EBT cards has fallen on deaf ears in the Statehouse. The inefficiency and corruption in all government at the state and federal levels continues to swell budgets. Does $17 trillion ring any bells?
Detroit is ground zero for the consequences of bad government. Some might say, “It couldn’t happen here.” However, many challenges lie ahead as we go forward. If those in positions of leadership don’t change their attitudes, the cost will be astronomical.
Kevin Noa of Merrimac is a writer, author and teacher in the Lowell public schools.