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labor Saving Detroit is a Step towards Saving America

“If Detroit fails it will hurt our nation as a whole. It will send a message to minority and urban youth that their futures are as hopeless as they seem and the country doesn't care. It will add to a national atmosphere of hopelessness and decay. And we will have missed an opportunity to turn the tide for America's cities.”

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Saving Detroit is a Step towards Saving America.

National Nurses United, 7/26/13

Saving Detroit is a Step towards Saving America. Writing in Huffington Post, Richard Eskow makes a convincing and impassioned argument for Detroit pensioners, many of whom are threatened by that city’s prospective bankruptcy.  “The Federal government should bail out Detroit city worker's pensions so that retirees can be paid in full,” wrote Eskow.  “[M]orally and practically, there's no reason why a rescue … - or a Federal guarantee behind the city's pension plan - shouldn't be on the table…. It wouldn't be a bailout. It would be an investment.” 

But will the forces of “Too-Big-to-Fail” America extend the same courtesy to working-class retirees?

Detroit is run today by a corporate overseer. Eskow points out that the law which created that position, doing-in Detroit's self-governance, was the product of a campaign carried out by ALEC and funders like the Koch Brothers.  “Its purpose,” wrote Eskow, “is to reconfigure our democracy and our economy so that they serve the wealthy and powerful even more efficiently.”

The retirement security of working Americans - especially union pensions, Social Security, and Medicare -  is a very high-profile target of corporate America, what Eskow terms ‘the austerity crowd… designed to break the public’s belief in the social contract.”  The bankruptcy filing in Detroit, which targets that city's union pensions, is “part of this broader agenda,” said Eskow.   Detroit will be the first, of many, he argues, unless the city and its workers are defended.

The city of 700,000 -- once it was 2 million -- is over 80 percent African-American and a Mecca of black culture.

The fifth anniversary of the financial crisis will be marked in September and we should all be reminded that Wall Street traders and the executives who set their agendas triggered the collapse, not the pensioners who counted on an honest deal.  Wall Street continues to make out-sized profits and avoid responsibility for its dirty dealings, as the financial fallout goes unabated.

Among those not facing losses: banks and other investment groups holding Detroit bonds.  “Many of their investments are insured,” reported Eskow. 

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“If Detroit fails it will hurt our nation as a whole. It will send a message to minority and urban youth that their futures are as hopeless as they seem and the country doesn't care. It will add to a national atmosphere of hopelessness and decay. And we will have missed an opportunity to turn the tide for America's cities.”