by Alan Smith
R Street
April 01, 2014
Policy Study
Detroit was once the second fastest-growing city in the United States. It was a center of the high-tech industry of the day—automobile manufacturing. But Detroit’s decline has been just as spectacular as its rise. Detroit’s just 713,000 residents receive atrocious public services and labor under extremely high tax burdens. The result is an emptied, broken city with sky-high crime rates, rampant unemployment and an uncertain future now that it has officially filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. With the bankruptcy process underway, emergency manager Kevyn Orr and the city’s 170,000 creditors are working to resolve many competing claims. For no other asset is this fight more clear than the Detroit Institute of Art’s incredible collection of artifacts. It is far from clear what the resolution will be, but it will undoubtedly establish precedent for future municipal bankruptcies of significant size.

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