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Laura Gottesdiener: Another Round of Detroit Refugees?
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I noticed recently that the catastrophe area that was once the great city of Detroit — bankruptcy, busted neighborhoods, acres of deserted houses, water shutdowns, and now, as TomDispatch regular Laura Gottesdiener reports, an almost biblical foreclosure crisis that could result in tens of thousands of people being thrown out of their homes — regularly gets compared to “Katrina”; that is, to the destruction Hurricane Katrina visited on New Orleans back in 2005. Here are some typical headlines: “Is the Motor City ‘a five-decade Katrina?,’” “Unprecedented ‘Katrina’ of Tax Foreclosures to Hit Detroit, Wayne County March 31,” “Water Shutoffs: Detroit’s Katrina?,” “Comparing Detroit to Nola After Katrina Not So Far Off,” “A Hurricane Without Water: Foreclosure Crisis Looms in Detroit as State Takes Action.”

But in a country in which Congress has trouble raising money for essential highway upkeep, not a single mile of real high-speed rail exists (the Acela Express in the Northeast being a high-speed joke), the national infrastructure gets a D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and one of its formerly great cities makes the phrase “hollowed out” sound like a euphemism, perhaps we should change our metaphors. Maybe when something devastates part of this country, it’s not a “Katrina” any longer, but a “Detroit.” Maybe the next time a city is hit by a hurricane, the headlines should refer to it as “a five-hour Detroit.” Maybe when the next set of aging natural gas pipelines blows up, we should speak of “an underground Detroit.”

It’s a small wonder of American life that something close to a trillion dollars a year goes into what is called “national security,” while the actual security of Americans has generally been starved of funding and insecurity is on the rise. Meanwhile, the biblical continues to happen to the former Motor City, a sign of what neglect means in the insecure heartland of twenty-first-century America. Gottesdiener, TomDispatch’s roving correspondent in forgotten America, offers a devastating account of the latest chapter in the saga of a city on the road to hell.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Detroit, Housing 
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  1. Renoman says:

    America has been completely ruined by politics, the Military and endless debt. One of these days it’s all going to come crashing to the ground in a rusted heap. Just a typical playground ruined by the rich but the fools are running out of new playgrounds to move on to.

  2. Jim says:

    The average IQ of African-Americans is 85. In Detroit because of out-migration of the more able African-Americans the average IQ could be significantly lower. The IQ level in Detroit is way below what is needed to sustain a first world economy.

  3. Seer says:

    Detroit sealed its fate when it pushed out its middle class tax base because they didn’t like the color of that tax base’s skin. Zero sympathy, although it’s sad that the brilliant old buildings are being left to rot.

  4. Bob says:

    The negros could just buy the houses for practically nothing but that would mean living in a black neighborhood.

    If the white people move in they’ll never be able to afford those same buildings.

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