DETROIT — If we were in a medical crisis instead of an economic one, a triage would be set up and this city would be first in line for assistance.

The Motor City, whose residents have produced so much wealth for so few, is hurting and in need of help. Since 2000, city officials say, the Detroit metropolitan area has lost 200,000 auto-related jobs and the city itself has gone from the highest rate of home ownership to the highest rate of home foreclosures.

At a Monday press conference, City Council President Monica Conyers announced the council’s unanimous opposition to a federal bailout that offers relief to banks and CEOs but no help for the victims who face desperate conditions. “Something has to be done to keep Detroiters in their homes,” said Conyers.

Council member JoAnn Watson said no state has suffered what Michigan has suffered. Watson said Michigan is ranked 14th in paying tax money to Washington, but is 47th in getting federal dollars back. She declared, “If we can send $1 billion to the Republic of Georgia, why not Detroit? We have suffered an economic hurricane.”

Saying that the solution to the problem lies in shifting income to working people — not bailouts to banks and CEOs — Watson said, “When people are working they contribute to the economy by paying for their mortgages, paying local, state and federal taxes. Workers become consumers only when they can pay for homes and essential necessities.”

“We need an urban Marshall plan,” she said.

A council resolution passed last week demanded a two-year national moratorium on foreclosures, a $1 billion economic package to create WPA-style jobs for heads of households, and tax credits for small businesses. Watson said then, “If we can bail out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ($200 billion), AIG ($85 billion) and the “Big Three” auto companies ($25 billion), then we should be able to bail out the people whose tax dollars will be used for the bailouts.”



John Rummel
John Rummel

Activist John Rummel covers events in Michigan. It's not politics-only for John; he loves sports, the outdoors and a cold beer or two!