Robert Reich on how Oakland County took the money and ran

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Typical Oakland County resident.
  • Typical Oakland County resident.

You might have missed it, but Robert Reich, the lefty economist who was part of the Clinton cabinet, blogged last week about the predicament of Detroit. Now, of course, that's something people love to blog about. We've been absolutely besieged by journalists and commentators sifting through Detroit's ruins and crime statistics and operating deficits, looking for that smoking gun that touched off the "death" of a great American city. Of course, as our most engaged readers know, we've felt that these investigators were looking in the wrong place, that they should really be showing up on doorsteps in Oakland County, where city fathers have made a lucrative business out of poaching capital, residents, and businesses that once made the city thrive. Not being content with drawing off the people of means that made the city solvent, Oakland County's leaders also engage in a kind of chest-thumping suburban triumphalism, embodied in the shit-eating grin of county executive L. Brooks Patterson, a guy who helps fuel the mythology that Detroit failed on its own, even as his county's leaders were busy kicking the legs out from under it.
Reich makes some good points. Had the boundaries of Detroit been larger, and had the city been able to capture the revenue as sprawl took over, it might have stood a fighting chance. And also, who are "we" as Detroiters? (If people supported their central city the way they supported their sports teams, we might be able to consider new ways to fund the urban core we all need.) It's a good quick read. Have a look here.

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