We’re broke. Poor is the new normal. And please -- no pushing when standing on line for your block of welfare cheese.
That is the naked truth. We’re going to have to live with less for the foreseeable future. There is no money. The factory jobs are not coming back. Living standards are falling. There are too many unsustainable obligations to the previous generations (pensions, health care and Social Security to name a few).
What we’ve learned is that borrowing to buy Christmas presents is not the formula for prosperity.
The solution, we know, lies somewhere in the government. But the politicians make the problem worse, dithering while the economy crumbles. They offer no substantive plan to balance their budgets. No blueprint for earning our way back to a sustainable standard of living.
It’s a worldwide problem. The Europeans sit on their hands while their currency collapses. The congressional supercommittee walks out unable to reach an agreement on the debt. Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano promises to lay off cronies that populate his government but does little.
And Detroit Mayor Dave Bing -- whose city in on the brink of insolvency -- holds news conferences.
There the mayor stood Thursday night, on the marble floor of city hall, surrounded by clergy, union bosses and minor political figures. They were convened by Hizzoner to send Gov. Rick Snyder a clear message that they do not want him to impose an emergency financial manager on the city.
“Detroit needs to be run by Detroiters,” Bing said. “We know what needs to be done and we are ready to do it.”
That’s funny because he couldn’t tell us what needs to be done. He came with no plan. No agreement on contract concessions. No specifics beyond calling on the state to pay up on the $220 million owed to the city since the days of Gov. John Engler – 13 years ago.
He got applause from the group on that one. They reminded me of a group of bathers standing around a cold pool. No one willing to take the plunge.
But if a state bailout is the foundation of Bing’s rescue plan, we’re done for.
Because after the speech, the governor’s office issued a statement pretty much saying no more money was coming.
The headline should have read: GOVERNOR TO MOTOWN: DROP DEAD.
Eleventh-hour theatrics from a man who has held office for more than two years does little to instill confidence that we can avert a state takeover of Michigan’s largest city. He was going to tear down 10,000 abandoned buildings. He was going to “right size” Detroit into sustainable neighborhoods. He promised to repair the broken ambulance system. He was going to fix how the city doles out contracts. He was going to put forth realistic budgets. None of this has materialized.
Apparently Gov. Snyder was also unimpressed because on Friday he ordered an official review of Detroit’s finances. That means we’ve got 100 days until the complete takeover of Detroit and a disbanding of elected government.
It’s hard to believe isn’t it? In just 100 years, we’ve gone from the masters of the assembly line to the miserable on the cheese line.