Friday, May 14, 2010

Detroit Shrinks Itself, Historic Homes and All

Detroit, once a thriving city, automotive center of the world, but now in major decline, is suffering from the inability to compete on the world stage. Mitt Romney's father, George, was once the head of American Motors, one of the early casualties of non-unionized competition. Since then the unions, with no regard for their workers, continued to make demands, and with the threat of strikes, forced weak executives to make decisions on workers pay, benefits and work rules that doomed the rest to inevitable extinction.

If it were not for Obama and the taxpayers, all but Ford would be gone. Unless these companies get relief from this union burden, GM, Ford and their US suppliers will fall and Detroit will be a vast wasteland.

It is ironic, that, Obama, after stealing all value from the corporate bondholders, spending billions of taxpayer dollars as props, giving away ownership to the unions and, soon to guarantee the unions exorbitant pension plans, GM is still posting billions in losses. The greatest irony is the $20 million in taxpayer stimulus funds being used to tear down the city.

DETROIT—Wrecking crews are preparing to tear down a landmark 5,000-square-foot house in the posh neighborhood of Palmer Woods in the coming weeks, a sign that Detroit is finally getting serious about razing thousands of vacant and abandoned structures across the city.

In leveling 1860 Balmoral Drive, the boyhood home of one-time presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Detroit is losing a small piece of its history. But the project is part of a demolition effort that is just now gaining momentum and could help define the city's future.

Detroit is finally chipping away at a glut of abandoned homes that has been piling up for decades, and intends to take advantage of warm weather and new federal funding to demolish some 3,000 buildings by the end of September.

Mayor Dave Bing has pledged to knock down 10,000 structures in his first term as part of a nascent plan to "right-size" Detroit, or reconfigure the city to reflect its shrinking population.

Even when the demolitions are complete, Detroit will still have a huge problem on its hands. The city has roughly 90,000 abandoned or vacant homes and residential lots, according to Data Driven Detroit, a nonprofit that tracks demographic data for the city.

Read WSJ article here.

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