Detroit’s Bankruptcy

I was surprised and saddened by the news that Detroit filed for bankruptcy last week, making it the largest American city to take this step. I was aware that the city has been in decline for many years, but I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten. According to one article I read, Detroit is some $20 billion in debt, 80,000 buildings in the city are either abandoned or seriously blighted, 40 percent of the city’s streetlights are broken, the police force has been cut by 40 percent over the past 10 years, and the average response time for police calls is 58 minutes (the national average is 11 minutes).

I wish I knew what to do to fix the situation. Unfortunately, many years of poor political leadership, the loss of basic city services with a resulting loss of population, and the collapse of the tax base — combined with years of borrowing to cover budget deficits — led to this situation, and it won’t be solved overnight. Some of the best ideas I have heard floated as partial solutions include turning Detroit into a tax-free zone to encourage businesses to locate there, moving federal agencies to the city, and selling off some of Detroit’s most valuable assets.

As many of you know, I lived in the Detroit area when I was a young man, and I witnessed the city in its heyday. It was a sight to behold, and something I’ll never forget. Unfortunately, that just makes it harder for me now to see Detroit in such a sorry state of decline.

– Bob

8 Responses to “Detroit’s Bankruptcy”

  1. 1 Steve Rizzi

    Bob –

    Since there’s no convenient place that I can find to place a general comment… Let me be the first to wish you a happy 89th birthday as the day has begun here already in Australia.

    All the best!

  2. 2 Bill Proffer

    And a second to that now that the sun has reached La Jolla! A very Happy Birthday and our best wishes from Bill, Terri and Quinn.

  3. 3 Dennis Campbell

    Dr. Beyster,

    Happy Birthday and best wishes to you on your special day! Hope you are able to enjoy a portion of today out on the water.


  4. 4 Rich Kasbo

    Happy Birthday Dr. Beyster!

    I’ll join Steve in wishing you the best on your 89th.

    I started working for SAIC in 1987 (nerual networks) and remarkably I’m still here. It has been a great place to work.
    Thanks for starting such an incredible company.

    Hope you have a great day!

  5. 5 Dr. Beyster

    Steve: Thanks for being the first to wish me happy birthday, although it took being in Australia to be first. I am quite amazed that I made it to the age of 89, but I am glad I did. Thank you. — Bob

  6. 6 Dr. Beyster

    Bill: Thanks for the birthday well-wishes. I had an enjoyable day. — Bob

  7. 7 Dr. Beyster

    Dennis: Thank you for your birthday wishes on my blog. It’s great to hear from all my old friends at SAIC. — Bob

  8. 8 Dr. Beyster

    Rich: Thank you for your birthday note, and congratulations on being with SAIC for so long. I’m glad to hear that it is still an enjoyable place for you to be. — Bob

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