Detroit: Why Pay for Nothing?

July 26, 2013

By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher

Most people, regardless of their political bent, take issue with paying into a system that offers nothing in return.

In a follow-up to what could potentially rise from Detroit’s bankruptcy ashes, I examine how the local governments have swiftly been demoted from a force to be reckoned with, to a bunch of whiny bureaucrats.

Detroit - Why Pay for NothingThe only reason why people pay into the Federal tax system now is because many still believe it provides some level of necessary services.  (Of course, once you find out that your federal tax dollars don’t pay for anything, and all of it is servicing the interest on our national debt, you might get a little irritated and disenfranchised…  Guess I should’ve mentioned the spoiler alert there.  Oh well.)

Nearly half the property owners in Detroit are delinquent on their property taxes.  The few who still do pay taxes are not any less indignant toward the lack of services they receive from the city.  Those who haven’t paid not only see no point in paying for services they don’t receive, BUT refuse to pay for services they don’t receive.

Banks have walked away from properties along with their respective tax obligations as well.  Wayne County isn’t even bothering to pursue the delinquent “tax evaders”.  It would entail more cost than its worth, evicting an individual, and auctioning the houses only to have the owners buy their properties back!  It would be funny if it weren’t true!

“Wayne County treasury officials are so overwhelmed by foreclosures that they ignored about 40,000 delinquent Detroit properties that should have been seized last year and said they will look the other way on about 36,000 this year.”

“Detroit’s delinquencies are so pervasive that some owners have been allowed to keep their property even if they don’t pay taxes.”

“Allowed” to keep “their” property?   Wow.  Thanks for that.  Too overwhelmed to trample private citizen’s property rights, are you?

Detroit has the HIGHEST property tax rates of any large city across the entire United States!  Of course, the city shot itself in the foot when it decided to appraise properties at several times their market value and tax the owners based on hyper-inflated figures.  Evidently the city was expecting them to not just PAY for services they weren’t going to get… but pay a PREMIUM! 

Now THAT is funny.  So funny, in fact, that 47% of property owners laughed in the face of local governments this past January when property taxes came due.  (I wonder if statists will get out their torches and pitchforks for these “tax evaders”……)

Needless to say, this is only exacerbating the revenue problem of the ailing city.  But from a business perspective, lack of revenue is usually attributable to lack of value.  We withhold our patronage of certain businesses because we no longer see the VALUE in what they are selling us.  Perhaps the quality sucks.  Perhaps the volume or quantity doesn’t warrant the price point.  Perhaps they have really crappy customer service.  Perhaps you ordered some sort of service or installation and they just didn’t show up! Valid reasons all to stop giving those establishments your business (i.e. YOUR MONEY).

Well, Detroit.  Your business model sucks.  Your customer service sucks.  Your quality and quantity metrics are in the shitter.  If you were a private business, you’d be out of business… and it would’ve happened LONG ago.  You got a few more lives afforded to you by opportunistic politicians seeking the votes of your constituents, and you screwed that up too. 

(Every family has at least ONE person like that right?  No matter how many chances you give them, no matter how much help you offer, they still manage to screw up.  Well, in terms of the United States, Detroit is that relative.)

So, basically, Detroit has its proverbial head up its ass…

Meanwhile, a few inches further UP the proverbial ass…

30th Circuit Court Judge, Rosemarie Aquilina, ordered that Detroit’s federal bankruptcy filing be withdrawn.  She agrees the city needs to file for bankruptcy, but not on the federal level.  And WHY do you suppose that is?  Because a federal filing would adversely affect the benefits and pensions of Detroit government employees.

“It’s cheating, sir, and it’s cheating good people who work,” the judge told assistant state Attorney General Brian Devlin. “It’s also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy.”

Wow.  Well, she’s right that good people who work have been cheated… but she’s wrong to say those people are the government employees.  It’s the private sector earners who paid their taxes that are the good people being cheated in all this.  Not some entitled group of administrators who couldn’t justify their jobs if a gun was held to their heads.

And it’s not “honoring” the POTUS who bailed out the auto industry?  What do you even do with tripe like that?  I can’t even compost it for my garden!!!

Where the hell is the money going to come from?  I honestly don’t understand these legislators and judges who somehow try to speak money into existence that in reality just isn’t there.  Detroit is filing for bankruptcy.  By definition it means the city is insolvent, broke, and has no money!  But somehow, they are meant to pay the pensions and healthcare benefits of retired employees?  With what?!

The court is criminalizing a city for not being able to remain solvent and for essentially going broke. 

While I can agree to some extent because the city essentially pillaged its private earners for decades and squandered it away under various administrations, governmental malfeasance isn’t a crime.  If it were, then I got a federal government I’d like to levy charges against first!

But talk about out of touch!  The unsustainable amount of government employees and their ridiculous pensions and benefits are contributing factors to why Detroit is going bankrupt in the first place!  Forcing them to continue to meet these obligations is asinine and outright lunacy!  Essentially the judge just ordered them to continue the practices that bankrupted Detroit.

It can’t get any worse right?

It’s government!  Sure it can!

As Detroit is going bankrupt, what does it do?  It decides to build a $650 million arena and sports/entertainment district project… 60% of which will be paid by Detroit taxpayers.  Oh wait.  WHAT DETROIT TAXPAYERS???  Watch another chunk of taxpayers drop off the revenue roster come next January…

Have any of you actually been to Joe Louis Arena?  I have.  It seats 20,000.  It’s cramped and it’s always sold out.  So this new arena is going to have how many seats? 18,000.

On what planet does this many any sense?  Even from a brain-dead Keynesian perspective where we are compelled to say, “Stimulate the economy…” How in the name of all that is good and pure does a stadium, made for a sport whose season is the shortest of ALL professional sports, accomplish that???? Oh, it’s going to have a few restaurants in it?  Some shops maybe?  That should pay the $400 MILLION TAB in like what?  400 million years or so?

All kidding aside, if this investment is so awesome and stands to generate so much revenue, then why does it require a 60% contribution from a bankrupt city?  Why won’t private investors just throw in their money to reap the profits and benefits of such a project?  And of all the things that Detroit should be spending $400 million on, it would seem there are the actual taxpayers who could use something more useful… you know like some potholes getting filled or someone to repair the street lights?  I dunno.  Just a thought.

Great news though: they are too damn broke to enforce their own property tax laws.  I seriously think it’s time to buy up property in Detroit for a song!  Tax free property?  Well, the law isn’t worth the ink it’s enacted with if it’s nullified by those expected to comply!   Much like expatriating to a country like Paraguay.  It’s not that there is no government or that they are particularly immune to tyranny or corruption.  It’s that they are too poor to enforce an over-bloated system of onerous laws.  They leave you alone because they basically can’t afford to bother you. 

The folks that decided not to pay didn’t even collaborate or conspire.  They just one by one stopped paying… Nullification… the individual’s greatest and most heroic protest. 

Comments

  1. Damn Kelly, I sure do love your style!
    The fact that ‘public services’ are exempt from market forces, as in, ‘if you do a lousy job you go out of business’, is a huge example of the problem. The deification of government such that blatant criminal activity is simply brushed aside is routine. The belief by we the sheeple that obedience to that ‘authority’ is a moral obligation goes way beyond ludicrous! Can you imagine being from another reality and looking at the so called land of the free? No one disagrees that the ruling class is corrupt beyond belief but yet we disconnect those vermin from the LAWS that they create to steal our money and run/ruin our lives. I’m shaking my head…..

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