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Slavery in Detroit

July 20, 2013

I thought slavery was illegal in the US, but welcome back to slavery.  A Michigan judge ruled that current Detroit citizens must pay retired city workers their pensions.  How could a judge rule that way now that Detroit has half the population it used to have?  90 percent of the manufacturing jobs are gone, and most of the property is now abandoned.  Detroit’s debt is 25 thousand dollars per city resident.   That doesn’t matter to the judge who said the unemployed citizens must pay for the sins of their single parents.

Detroit's Old "Investments"

Detroit’s Old “Investments”

The current residents of Detroit didn’t vote to hire a huge municipal workforce years ago.  Current residents didn’t promise past workers huge pensions.  Current residents didn’t promise more benefits to city workers than could be paid by their taxes.  Well, who made those promises if it wasn’t current citizens?

For the last fifty years, city workers elected politicians who promised to enslave future citizens.  Years ago, Detroit politicians promised huge benefit packages to city workers.  The politicians promised more than city residents were willing to pay in taxes.  The politicians promised more than they could deliver, and both the politicians and union negotiators knew it.  Together, they wrote laws that said the future must pay for the financial sins of the past.

Let me explain this political deal in simple terms.

“Any politician will gladly tax you into slavery tomorrow for political kick backs today.”

That is an ageless promise and the citizens of Detroit are not alone.  Most politicians and many voters will gladly leave their debts for the next generation to pay.  My politicians have done it too.  It never ends well.  These debts are why my children have moved away looking for work.  These debts are why I’m trying to leave.

collar and chain

I thought we might finally see  justice done in Detroit.  I thought slavery was finally illegal in the United States, even if it was our parents who sold our future.  Silly me.   The Michigan judge said, ‘Pay up, citizen.  You are slaves to the past, and the debts of your parents are due.’

Maybe this generation will remain in slavery.  Hopefully my children can finally be free of corrupt politicians.


Some eye opening facts about Detroit’s decline are here.


Rob, the liberator

Say what you will.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2013 8:22 am

    Maybe the judge ruled that way because that’s what the Michigan Constitution says. Article IX, Section 24 of the state constitution says as follows: “The accrued financial benefits of each pension plan and retirement system of the state and its political subdivisions shall be a contractual obligation thereof which shall not be diminished or impaired thereby.

    Financial benefits arising on account of service rendered in each fiscal year shall be funded during that year and such funding shall not be used for financing unfunded accrued liabilities.”

    Now I doubt very seriously that state court judge can tell Detroit that it cannot file for bankruptcy. This should really be addressed by the bankruptcy judge, where the people that might be impacted can raise their objections to any plan filed by the City that might reduced vested pension benefits.


    • July 21, 2013 7:57 am

      Carl, I’m not sure which point you’re making. When you quote “Financial benefits arising on account of service rendered in each fiscal year shall be funded during that year and such funding shall not be used for financing unfunded accrued liabilities.” are you pointing out that municipal employees were able to get laws passed that benefited them? If so, then we agree. Are you saying that the unions and politicians knowingly broke the law, since benefits were not paid for in the year the obligations were accrued? I thought I said that already in the original post.

      You are a layer, so perhaps you are saying that slavery is legal. I agree it is legal. Slavery and other atrocities are often made legal, but they are never moral. They are wrong and that is why I denounce them.


  2. Virginia Ross permalink
    July 23, 2013 5:57 am

    Thanks for that answer to Mr. Starrett, Rob. I was thinking the same thing, as I read his words.

    Excellent column. It’s up on my FB page now.



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