Detroit’s Emergency Manager Files for Bankruptcy

On behalf of the city of Detroit, emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, has filed for bankruptcy.

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, as the state-appointed emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection.

“Only one feasible path offers a way out,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a letter to Orr and state Treasurer Andy Dillon, approving the bankruptcy.

Snyder determined earlier this year that Detroit was in a financial emergency and without a plan to improve things. He made it the largest U.S. city to fall under state oversight when a state loan board hired Orr in March. His letter was attached to Orr’s bankruptcy filing.

“The citizens of Detroit need and deserve a clear road out of the cycle of ever-decreasing services,” Snyder wrote. “The city’s creditors, as well as its many dedicated public servants, deserve to know what promises the city can and will keep. The only way to do those things is to radically restructure the city and allow it to reinvent itself without the burden of impossible obligations.”

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that allowing the city to “reinvent itself without the burden of impossible obligations” means public employees are most likely screwed.

If those who are left manage to keep their jobs, it’s a good bet their pensions will have diminished and their benefits eroded if not eliminated. And those who will probably go overlooked, such as children who attend public schools in Detroit, don’t stand a chance.

A city council or the mayor of Detroit may hesitate to irrevocably change the lives of their constituents for the worse, but no one elected Kevyn Orr.

There is nothing good about this.

  • stuartthutchings

    I am also a Michigan naive and honestly, I do not see what was the alternative. The problems of Detroit (and frankly the surrounding communities) are actually legion and contrary to the usual right-wing/racist nonsense date back much farther than 40 years of black city leadership. The highways in and around the city were poorly designed and killed the commercial districts and divided thriving neighborhoods; during the WWII years (and after) the Federal government encourage the major industries of the Detroit area expand outward out of fear that it was the number #1 US target of the Axis powers; poorly conceived state and regional regulation/taxation policies encouraged new development of seemingly any business rather than rehabilitating/improving existing locations; the destruction of the public transportation infrastructure (rail, etc); racial tensions that were best demonstrated in the ’42 riot (true blue white racist violence against blacks) rather than the ’67 one ( a solidly economic conflict that was more class oriented than racial); poorly designed and never fix city government structure that most U.S. cities moved away from in the 30s and 40s; corruption (seemingly every administration and council of the last 50 years with the exception of Archer and possibly Bing); labor contracts that the city for 30+ years had no real hope of ever fully meeting; being at the limit of their taxing authority; etc, etc, etc.

    For seemingly ten years the State and various rich interested parties have tried and failed to work with the City Council and related parties to avoid this outcome… no matter the deal, it went no where.

    Personally I have liked Orr’s proposals as they appear the best chance of giving the city the greatest opportunity to recover and rise again. Plus there really is a three (nearly connected) areas of the city that have risen quite dramatically over the last ten years at the city’s core, the changes Orr has proposed would build on that. But thus far the remaining parties of the usual forces who seemingly fight each and every attempt to address the problems wouldn’t negotiate thus bankruptcy. And two of the biggest groups are the pensions who’s leaders appear to be fighting the attempt to clarify the state of their investments and books as if they are below a certain threshold (don’t recall the percentage) they would be thrown out of power.

    • mrbrink

      It would help if you had a governor that was the least bit interested in doing what is best for the city and state.

      They can seize the assets of the commons, disband democratic governance, but they can’t raise taxes on billionaires and corporations like the DeVos family .9 percent because that might actually raise some revenue and solve the problem.

      Asking billionaires to pay a little more isn’t as fun as bankrupting a city and selling off the pieces to billionaires.

  • muselet

    Would it be obstructively cynical of me to suggest that Kevyn Orr got hired because Rick Snyder liked the bankruptcy plan Orr presented back in March?

    Didn’t think so.


  • mrbrink

    Yeah, more like corporate America under Lord Duke of Snyder just sacked Detroit.

    They’re trying to do this to America, in fact. This is the model. Using money as a weapon on democracy like a rhetorical flashbang grenade thrown into our living rooms, they’ve seized power to bankrupt the country, liquidate its assets, and auction off all the workers’ rights and civic protections to the lowest bidders.

    These motherfuckers crashed the economy and are still stabbing it because red is their favorite fucking color.

    Reinvent without the burdens of corporate taxation, retirement security, environmental protections, healthcare, voting booths, clean food and water, and especially abortions.

    Reinvent without the burdens of laws against public beheadings of moochers.

    You can actually see the whole state being moved out the back door and onto a truck headed for the wine cellar of corporate monarchy.

    • Felonious Grammar

      Neoliberalism. How to steal a nation right out from under the people. The neocons tried that with Iraq, but it didn’t work out quite as well as they had hoped.

      Public utilities, public education, public communications systems, and public works could revitalize our cities, parks, and small town America, put most everyone to work and improve our infrastructure and the quality of life in our towns

      Fucking leaches talking about working people being the sponges makes me want to see the one per cent burn in hell.

    • D_C_Wilson
  • MrDHalen

    Sad day for me as a Michigan native. Can’t believe the storyline from Robocop would actually happen in real Detroit.

    • JMAshby

      Except in this case there is no Robocop, only the other elements.

    • D_C_Wilson

      The irony that in the 1980s, the idea that a major American city could be the subject of a corporate takeover was considered “science fiction” is inescapable.