The Detroit bankruptcy filing shows that if something cannot go on forever, it will stop. Some acted surprised but this has been years in the making given the toxic combination of corruption coupled with lavish spending the city has engaged in for over a half century. Decisions have consequences and math has finally trumped politics in Motown. Sure, some will fight it but the reality is, Detroit can’t meet its financial obligations and its debts will have to be reorganized in Bankruptcy Court. It won’t be the last city to enter Chapter 9 either, that much is a given.
Guess my predictions proved prescient.
City finances can impact crucial services like Fire and Police, which are being stretched to the breaking point by arson and crime. Old equipment and poor maintenance contribute to slow response times, which endanger both lives and property. As the Detroit Free Press reports:
The Fire Department’s average time is 7 minutes, and EMS’s response time is 15 minutes. That’s partly due to old trucks and ambulances that are poorly maintained combined with a never-ending string of incidents. Detroit has had between 11,000 to 12,000 fires every year for the past decade, and firefighters have been responding with “junk” equipment, according to an unnamed fire captain in Orr’s report.
If that wasn’t bad enough, 2/3rds(!) of the City’s ambulances are out of service.
Now Detroit may be an extreme example of municipal dysfunction but many of the same conditions exist in other communities. Falling tax revenues, higher fuel prices, increasing benefits costs, ballooning pension commitments, and economic stagnation are a fact of life for all cities, counties, and states. This results in fewer services, at a higher cost, with longer response times for citizens.
So don’t plan on government agencies quickly coming to your aid during an emergency. Having first aid kits, fire extinguishers, firearms, extra food and water, batteries, flashlights, and KNOWLEDGE will help you help yourself when things go wrong. Being prepared not only helps you, it also helps your neighbors and community become more resilient.
Take a look at this Steven Crowder video from 2009.
Big Government and Big Unions built that!