Special Report

Permanently Degraded Detroit

Anti-marketing the bad-ass capital of the world won’t save it.

By 10.14.13

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DETROIT — Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison last Thursday for graft, racketeering, extortion, and conspiracy to use city hall as what Judge Nancy Edmunds called “a criminal enterprise” to enrich himself, his family, and his cronies. This came two weeks after the Obama administration announced it would give the city $300 million to help bail it out of financial ruin. In July, Detroit filed the biggest municipal bankruptcy in history. Fixing this mess is about more than finances. There’s a saying that’s popular on the mean streets of Motown: If you can’t beat ’em, beat ’em up. This mindset has severe consequences for a city that has been in a death spiral for six decades. Much of the damage is self-inflicted.

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About the Author

Brett M. Decker is consulting director at the White House Writers Group. He is coauthor of the book Bowing to Beijing (Regnery, Nov. 14, 2011).