With Detroit filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy among $18 billion in unfunded liabilities, some on the political landscape are calling for the federal government to bail out the once grand Motor City.
There is no dispute about Detroit's problems. Police response times average 58 minutes. The city's violent crime rate is triple that of some of the nation's most crime-ridden cities. Its city-run schools have produced just seven percent of 8th graders proficient in reading. Many city services are nearly nonexistent. Forty percent of street lights don't work.
Much has been written about what led to Detroit's financial demise, but they boil down to a few causes:
* Lack of political competition - Democrats have dominated city council and the city has had Democratic mayors since 1962.
* Unfunded pension liabilities - without a significant conservative party to counter the liberal majority, the city granted seemingly unlimited demands to its 47 unions.
* High taxes - Detroit has the country's highest property taxes on homes, the highest commercial property tax and the second-highest industrial property tax.
* Poor business climate - for all of the above reasons