Detroit, Michigan, is a failed city. In recognition of this, its government went to court yesterday to beg for bankruptcy status, and the protection that implies — mainly, the legal ability to force the re-prioritization of its $18 billion debt:
In his opening statement, attorney Bruce Bennett said he “could stand here for hours” to describe the “mountain of evidence” that shows Detroit is insolvent. Without relief, he added, 65 cents of every dollar . . . residents pay in taxes could be needed to address the problem, leaving little for everyday services for 700,000 residents.
There’s hardly anything hopeful about this story.
Recently, libertarians have noted that the people of the city have begun to band together, solving voluntarily and through community and market activity the deficit in services coming from city government. Fine, fine, but enough for a solution?
Still, for real drollery, consider the witless comment by MSNBC’s most witless socialist, Melissa Harris-Perry, that Detroit’s troubles are the result of what happens when government becomes “small enough to drown in a bathtub” (a witticism of my friend Grover Norquist). Hilarious, in that Detroit’s corrupt and spendthrift pols are anything but libertarian, and Detroit government anything but small.
The fact that Detroit can no longer competently enforce some of its own laws only shows the ultimate result of the policy of over-governance.
Despite what socialists and (perhaps) some libertarians may say, liberty is not “no government.” It’s the right amount of good government, defending rights and property from vandals, con men, thieves.
In Detroit, the vandals have been the government.
And a bankruptcy ruling would simply confirm that.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.