Archive for July, 2013

What Does A Million Look Like?

When did a million dollars become unimportant? An amount that remains largely unattainable for all but a few is routinely treated like loose change by members of the public sector and no one seems all that concerned.  In my business we often have a chance to make products in quantities of a million or more. Since these items occasionally resemble a dollar bill in size and shape I often find myself thinking of money; how it’s generated, collected, spent and misused. This also leads to viewing the financial situation in Detroit and the country in general from a different perspective. Consider the sheer number of scandals, prosecutions, instances of fraud, jury awards and blatant examples of mismanagement that have occurred in Detroit over the past twenty years. A short time ago we had the original Kwame Kilpatrick/Christine Beatty adventure which resulted in an over eight million dollar damage award plus attorney and other costs. There was also the prosecution of a council member and her associates in addition to persons in positions of power in the Water Department and Cobo Center. Accusations of bribes being paid to a high ranking library official; who as usual wants a taxpayer funded attorney and charges of missing pension fund money are just the latest chapters in this never ending story. If you went back over the past few decades and totaled up all the amounts, from a few hundred thousand to a few million that have been squandered in various ways, you could begin to quantify this culture of disregard. The pervasive lack of concern for the proper use of taxpayer funds is a national issue and Detroit is merely the largest city to reach the brink first; so anyone adopting a smug attitude toward Detroiters is only fooling themselves. Read more…

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