Dr. Detroit

My latest article looks at the current reforms in Detroit:

The strain on Detroit’s budget has caused many in the city to rethink the role of government. If the city is successful in its reforms, however, it could become a model for reducing bloated budgets across the country.

Continued at TCS Daily . . .

One response to “Dr. Detroit

  1. I don’t know if you’re in or from the Detroit area or not. I moved here from Illinois 6 years ago.

    I am mildly hooked in to the Detroit political scene. My take is that when Kwame was first running, local Dems were expecting Dems to retake Congress (or at least the House) in 2002 and the federal money spigot would be turned on thanks to Dingell, Conyers, and Kwame’s mom, Carlolyn Kilpatrick Cheeks. Didn’t happen. They also expect the Dem gov (and they fully expected to take at least one house of the state legislature) to provide financial help. Didn’t happen. Kwame saw himself (as I have it from someone who saw him up close and personal just about every day) as possibly the first black President. They didn’t exactly expect ‘business as usual’ (although quite a few around them did) so much as they expected to have money and time to make the changes they preferred. Kwame also overestimated his own managerial skills. Being minority leader in the Michigan House is not exactly a training ground for leadership of a city.

    Now, after a very narrow re-election (and one that he could have lost), I think he sees very clearly that his only chance at a real political future (other than taking over his mother’s US House seat when she retires) lies in either radically changing Detroit or being seen making a heroic effort to do so. The other choices are very ugly. Detroit *should* have (under Michigan law) been placed in receivership or had a governor financial manager imposed on them. Republicans couldn’t take the heat and Granholm won’t. (Although her dithering may well cost her re-election.)

    Detroit will exhaust it’s cash on hand soon, probably in June, maybe in July. It’s not obvious that they can get loans. They have structural defects in their budget. He has to wield the axe. Of course, the city council will not go along, so I’m guessing either bankruptcy or receivership is just down the road, with provisions for him either running the system (semi-legally) or being seen to have the main input.

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