Now here is why the city government of Detroit is hopelessly bankrupt. The city is huge -- 140 square miles, larger than Boston, San Francisco, and Manhattan combined. It has an enormous infrastructure designed to support nearly 2 million people -- roads, street lamps, schools, water, sewer, police, fire refuse collection, snow removal, etc etc -- but a population and tax base of fewer than 700,000 people, many on fixed incomes. The city is forced to maintain services on square miles of neighborhoods with only one or two occupied homes per block. It's hopelessly upside down. Many square miles of the city will have to be returned to nature. There's no other way.
And this is why when people talk, in a well-meaning way, about rebuilding or revival for the city of Detroit, they are a) totally naive with no grasp of the problem or b) talking about a very limited scale revival where the city that survives is a fraction of the former Detroit... a core, as it were.
And this is also why, when people blame the downfall of Detroit on Democrats or Republicans, or labor or capital, or liberals or conservatives, they are totally missing the point. There is no political solution or economic policy that could have reversed it. There is no fix for this.
I know what you're thinking...hey, now that we have all this free real estate, we can build auto plants again. That's great, but it won't return Detroit to its former glory because auto plants generate only a fraction of the employment they once did. The Detroit that once was is gone. That world no longer exists.
Edited by Magoo, 12 April 2014 - 12:37.