The only thing surprising about Detroit's bankruptcy filing is that it happened a day early (yesterday instead of today).
The city is falling apart, public services are nearing collapse and about 70,000 properties lie abandoned. Bankruptcy would allow Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager, Kevin Orr, to liquidate the city's assets to satisfy creditors and pensioners. About $9bn of Detroit's debt is owed to the pension funds and retiree healthcare benefits of the city's 10,000 workers and 20,000 retirees.
Just like other major cities, union pensions are a big part of the city's collapse. It's precisely what happens when public employees are allowed to unionize. Its the same person negotiating contracts for the public and asking those same unions for campaign donations. The only one who loses is the public (and that's what happened here).
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said the bankruptcy filing violated the state's constitution, which she says prohibits actions that will lessen pension benefits of public employees, including those in Detroit.So she is protecting the unions instead of fire trucks, water line repairs,etc.
She ordered Gov. Rick Snyder to ask Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr to immediately withdraw the bankruptcy filing and that no further Chapter 9 bankruptcies be filed that threaten pension benefits of public employees.
“I have some very serious concerns because there was this rush to bankruptcy court that didn’t have to occur and shouldn’t have occurred,” Aquilina told the Detroit Free Press.Anybody who was "surprised" by the filing has to have real conceptual problems
Douglas Bernstein, a partner with Plunkett Cooney in Birmingham, said Aquilina’s ruling is surprising.The once proud city of Detroit has become a broken down dump and is still deteriorating. Beautiful neighborhoods and homes have been abandoned modern-day ghost towns. It almost as if some mysterious scourge has swept through some parts of the city leaving no one alive.
“This is generally how bankruptcies occur: You file bankruptcy when there is an impending crisis at the eleventh hour,” Bernstein said. “You file bankruptcies to stave off litigation.”
In a way that scourge did happen, its the scourge of big government and big unions, and one Michigan Judge wants to keep the pandemic going.