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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Motown's one-man show

By George Will



JewishWorldReview.com | DETROIT --- Gazing from the 14th floor toward the city center and the fragile sprouts of urban development along the river, Detroit’s Caesar says laconically: “One hundred and thirty-one to go.” Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, means that housing in this vibrant enclave is 97 percent leased. The enclave is, however, only eight square miles of this city’s 139 square miles.

Here in Greece on the Great Lakes, Orr, a Washington bankruptcy lawyer, is Detroit’s real government. He recently spoke in the governor’s office in Cadillac Place, an enormous 90-year-old building with brass door frames and a lobby as cavernous as a cathedral. The building, an architectural echo of vanished grandeur, was General Motors’ headquarters until the company moved into the magnificently misnamed Renaissance Center, a gleaming anomaly that towers over Detroit’s decrepitude. It opened in 1977, when Henry Ford II proclaimed: “Detroit has reached the bottom and is on its way back up.”

Orr became emergency manager in March after the Detroit City Council, having accepted a 21-item consent decree stipulating reforms, ignored it. How many items did the council fulfill? “Not one,” Orr says.

He is black, so some race-mongers of the sort who helped reduce Detroit to prostration now, with tedious predictability, call him an Uncle Tom. Orr calls himself a “yellow dog Democrat,” a Southern expression (although he has undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan, he is a native Floridian) for someone who would vote for a yellow dog if it were a Democratic candidate.


He is empowered to alter budgets and labor contracts and to sell city assets. The city council retains the power to complain.

In his five-month immersion in Detroit’s dysfunction, Orr has been startled by “the fact that people had gotten used to the city like this — people were tolerating the abnormal.” But Detroit’s decline began in the 1960s, well before the auto industry’s downward spiral (the United Auto Workers’ membership peaked in 1979). A half-century of the abnormal made it the norm.

Orr has found “bureaucracy on steroids” — for example, “more than two dozen layers of approval for planning and zoning.” Each layer was an opportunity for cronyism and corruption. And there was what he delicately calls “dissonance” in the political class’s thinking, which he compares to the Tulip Mania that gripped Holland in 1637. His explanation for the heedless, unsustainable pensions and other promises made to unionized city employees is: “IBG, YBG” — I’ll be gone and you’ll be gone when the reckoning arrives.

Orr’s negotiations with unions and others having been unfruitful, a bankruptcy judge will allocate pain. Especially deserving of it are Detroit’s enablers — the creditors who bought the city’s bonds assuming they would be paid first. But paid with what? Because the city is broke, they will be paid pennies on their dollars. Other cities will probably suffer from the malfeasance Wall Street encouraged in Detroit: The cost of municipal borrowing should increase when lenders add a new risk premium to the cost of credit.



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Also facing a rendezvous with reality are former city employees, some of whom retired at 50 on pensions exempt from certain taxes. Government retirees have assumed that their benefits will be protected by Michigan’s constitution, which says pensions “shall not be diminished or impaired” by any Michigan government’s actions. But Chapter 9 of federal bankruptcy law says insolvent cities may restructure their obligations, and the U.S. Constitution makes any U.S. statute “the supreme law of the land.”

Until now, the long shriveling of private-sector unions has been somewhat offset by the unionization of government employees. But when these workers realize that their union dues (which help to elect compliant officials who dispense the wealth of third parties — taxpayers) do not buy inviolable protection from arithmetic, will they still pay them?

Orr is determined to find $1.25 billion to spend over a decade on restoring some semblance of public services. But $125 million a year will not go far in a city in which 40 percent of streetlights are out and the police department is so strapped its officers have no business cards to give citizens who might call for help — if the average time it takes the police to respond to 911 calls ever declines from the current 58 minutes.

Someday Orr will return to Washington, and Detroit’s political class will return to power. Then that class may discover that democracy is not as fun as it was before money, like the largess of lenders, disappeared.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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