3 Essential (and Ignored) Questions About Detroit’s Bankruptcy

December 13, 2013 | | Salon |

Though they are important, let’s be honest: Municipal budget figures can be mind-numbingly boring. Even in high-profile, high-stakes dramas like Detroit’s bankruptcy, the sheer flood of numbers can encourage people to simply tune it all out for fear of being further confused.

Thus, in the interest of not putting you to sleep or further perplexing you, here are three painfully simple questions about Detroit’s bankruptcy. Though these questions have mostly been ignored, continuing to ask them can at least highlight the fact that something nefarious is happening right now in the Motor City. [...]

2. Why are municipal employees being blamed for Detroit’s woes when data prove they had little to do with the city’s fiscal problems?

In an extensive report for the think tank Demos, former Goldman Sachs investment banker Wallace Turbeville shows that Detroit officials’ current “focus on cutting retiree benefits and reducing the city’s long-term liabilities to address the crisis (is) inappropriate and, in important ways, not rooted in fact.” That’s because, as Turbeville documents, “Detroit’s bankruptcy was primarily caused by a severe decline in revenue and exacerbated by complicated Wall Street deals that put its ability to pay its expenses at greater risk.” Yet, despite these facts, Detroit’s municipal employees are primarily being blamed by politicians and pundits for causing the crisis. Why?

Read the report: The Detroit Bankruptcy