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Ed Driscoll

Goodnight Detroit, It’s Been Fun!

July 18th, 2013 - 2:04 pm

It’s official: “Detroit files for bankruptcy,” the Detroit News reports in a Drudge-headlined article:

The city of Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history Thursday afternoon, culminating a decades-long slide that transformed the nation’s iconic industrial town into a model of urban decline crippled by population loss, a dwindling tax base and financial problems.

The 16-page petition was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s office was making plans this afternoon to hold a Friday morning news conference at the Maccabees Building, 5057 Woodward in Midtown, according to a source. It’s the same location where the governor declared a financial emergency for Detroit on March 1.

Under state law, Snyder is required to approve a Chapter 9 filing. As of Wednesday, Snyder said he had not received any such request from Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Sources close to the governor said the situation is fluid, adding that Snyder intends to study Orr’s recommendations and related documents “for a couple of days” before making his decision.

A bankruptcy filing would come as an Ingham County judge is preparing Monday to hear arguments from retirees to block any attempt by Snyder to authorize a bankruptcy. A filing would produce an automatic stay of all pending litigation and would cap a month of intense talks between Orr’s team and creditors, which largely have failed to restructure as much as $20 billion in debt and long-term liabilities.

In October of 2012, the text on Mr. Obama’s teleprompter read, “We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. We bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later, that bet is paying off in a big way.”

I’m sure it sounded good at the time, as did many of the utterances of President Asterisk on his reelection bid. As Bryan Preston writes at the Tatler:

Blue state policies of vast welfare states plus high taxes plus lavish benefits packages for public workers do not work. Detroit is but the most extreme recent example of this total policy failure.

In the world of what might have been, Mitt Romney’s roots in Michigan would probably have prompted him to try to save the city that made his family wealthy. But the people who needed his expertise most rejected him last fall in favor of Barack Obama, one in a long series of poor choices.

The late Louis Miriani, the last Republican mayor of Detroit, who stepped down at the end of 1961, could not be reached for comment.

Earlier: “Howdy Doody may test limits of protecting Detroit assets.”

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