‘It also shows that if politicians hadn’t been busy robbing the city blind and milking it for patronage, the city’s problems probably could have been dealt with outside of bankruptcy court. The disaster in Detroit was caused by bad governance, by the corrupt response of the city’s Democratic machine to a series of economic challenges brought on in large part by the intransigence of the UAW, with an assist from the mismanagement of the U.S. car industry. If the city had been proactive about addressing its problems years ago, it could have avoided relying on the extraordinary charity of foundations to save its art. At this point, however, this is probably as good as it’s going to get.’
Visit the DIA and see what they have.
Over five years ago, when GM stock was selling at $2 a share and the debt-holders had been wiped out, this blog put up the video below. Here’s a brief 2:00 min explanation by Bill Ackman of Pershing Square on why the GM bailout was likely a bad idea.
Politicians reward their friends, and some of the same Detroit ideas we’ve taken national. Americans in general are likely not going to think well of their politics for awhile, but we could first stop the bleeding, create less incentive for those looking to oversee the spoils, laws, and regulations, and figure out how to grow the economy at a faster rate:
You Can Have It
My brother comes home from work
and climbs the stairs to our room.
I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop
one by one. You can have it, he says.
The moonlight streams in the window
and his unshaven face is whitened
like the face of the moon. He will sleep
long after noon and waken to find me gone.
Thirty years will pass before I remember
that moment when suddenly I knew each man
has one brother who dies when he sleeps
and sleeps when he rises to face this life,
and that together they are only one man
sharing a heart that always labours, hands
yellowed and cracked, a mouth that gasps
for breath and asks, Am I gonna make it?
All night at the ice plant he had fed
the chute its silvery blocks, and then I
stacked cases of orange soda for the children
of Kentucky, one gray boxcar at a time
with always two more waiting. We were twenty
for such a short time and always in
the wrong clothes, crusted with dirt
and sweat. I think now we were never twenty.
In 1948 the city of Detroit, founded
by de la Mothe Cadillac for the distant purposes
of Henry Ford, no one wakened or died,
no one walked the streets or stoked a furnace,
for there was no such year, and now
that year has fallen off all the old newspapers,
calendars, doctors’ appointments, bonds
wedding certificates, drivers licenses.
The city slept. The snow turned to ice.
The ice to standing pools or rivers
racing in the gutters. Then the bright grass rose
between the thousands of cracked squares,
and that grass died. I give you back 1948.
I give you all the years from then
to the coming one. Give me back the moon
with its frail light falling across a face.
Give me back my young brother, hard
and furious, with wide shoulders and a curse
for God and burning eyes that look upon
all creation and say, You can have it.
There’s definitely some Spanish influence here, by way of Antonio Machado. Perhaps there’s also some labor/alienation sentiment for the working man on the factory floor, but hey, it’s Detroit and it’s a well-crafted poem.
Just because I love to highlight the generally Left-Of-Center political philosophy over at PBS and NPR, there’s a link to this PBS piece about life on the factory floor and Levine’s poem. Here’s a Paris Review interview with Levine.
Very comprehensive and easy to navigate.
More from Megan McArdle on the behavior that comes with pension bonuses.
Some links on this site: Charlie LeDuff, Detroit’s populist, citizen journalist’s youtube channel here. At least he’s sticking around.
Are you looking at beautiful photos and feeling sorry for Detroit, and yourself? See Time Magazine’s photo essay by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (less porn-like, more thoughtful).
Hipster hope, artists, collectivists and small business types can’t save it either: A Short Culture Wars Essay-Two Links On Detroit & ‘Ruin Porn’
GM is not a municipality, but good money got put in, probably after bad and it reeks of politics: From The Detroit News: ‘How The Treasury, GM Stock Deal Got Done’
What about the popular arts and culture?:Update And Repost-From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’…A Few Thoughts And A Tuesday Poem By Philip Levine
A garage sale for the city’s art? Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘Detroit’s Van Gogh Would Be Better Off in L.A.’…From The Detroit Free Press: ‘DIA’s Art Collection Could Face Sell-Off To Satisfy Detroit’s Creditors’
Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working. Check out his series at The American Interest