Today it was announced that Detroit was filing for bankruptcy, making it the largest US city to go belly-up in our history. While it was no surprise that this was something that would eventually happen, the scary thing is that many other cities and even our own country are headed in this same direction. This is not an isolated incident, this is the shape of things to come if we don’t adjust our course very rapidly.
All around the United States, we’re seeing crumbling bridges and other infrastructure. Our education system is on the decline, much like the rest of the country, and through all of this the constant answer from the GOP and corporate America has been “outsource, privatize and cut taxes.” Over and over again, we see politicians promise that only by shrinking the size of government, stripping regulations and handing out more corporate subsidies will we be able to get back on the path to the “good old days” — which ironically happened to be when we had a large tax base, high taxes on the wealthiest earners and thriving unions.
Detroit didn’t crumble on her own, and it wasn’t as if this happened overnight. Detroit is very likely the dreary vision of the United States of America within my lifetime (I’m in my 30′s, by the way) if we continue to allow corporate America to kill unions, ship well-paying jobs overseas and replace them with part-time positions at Wal-Mart. Detroit is where we will end up sooner than later if we continue to buy the BS assurances that “the wealth will trickle down eventually” and keep on giving tax cuts to the top earners of the ever-shrinking tax base.
A city, or a country, cannot survive with a workforce comprised of mostly low-wage earners and only a few wealthy people paying little to no taxes. You cannot slash your way to prosperity, just as you cannot cut education funding and expect kids to suddenly become smarter, or teachers more motivated. You cannot continue to ask employees to work for less and slash their benefits, then complain that 47% of Americans are “takers” who are jealous of those with wealth and just want a handout.
Outsourcing and the race to the bottom for cheaper goods and labor is what bankrupted Detroit, and if we don’t do something very quickly, it’ll be what takes the rest of the country down as well. Detroit should be a stark reminder of what we have to look forward to in a future with a government run by the 1%, for the 1%.