Years of overspending cause trouble in Detroit

To the Editor:

There’s a very old country song titled “It’s time to pay the fiddler, and today the first installment is due.” So it is with the City of Detroit. With overwhelming financial obligations, bankruptcy is the only real option available, it seems. What brought this once major city down? Detroit’s history reflects years of fiscal mismanagement. Those responsible during the past decades made now fatal financial decisions.

Overly generous city employee labor contracts negotiated over decades have now created a debt level that the City of Detroit simply cannot maintain.

Changing demographics have, over time, reduced Detroit from a city of more than 2 million down to a population of less than 700,000. The reduction in population resulted in thousands of abandoned properties. The tax base of the city slumped even further when manufacturing relocated also.
Faced with a decreased tax base, it became obvious that the city could no longer meet its financial obligations.

So now the politicians are debating what action the federal government should take, if any. Some would suggest the government bail out the city. I question that, simply because who is going to be responsible in the future for those continued debts? A one-time bailout would only kick the can down the road, in my view. As a taxpayer I’m certainly not interested in supporting Detroit when we already have a $17 trillion national debt.

Detroit is not the only major city in financial distress. Any form of Detroit government bailout would quickly cause a line of other municipalities to form on the right.

As in the lyrics of that old country song, years of overspending are now being revealed, and it’s time to pay the fiddler.

David Qualkenbush

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