The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


July 31, 2013

Editorial: Detroit's pensioners should be priority

Detroit was once a city of dreams. The anchor of the U.S. auto industry, Motown was the fourth largest city in the country with a large and growing middle class based on auto-worker wages. There were world-class sports teams, museums and, of course, Motown records where icons such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye got their start.

The Motor City had it all. Now there’s nothing left except the sports teams. Two weeks ago, Detroit announced it was filing bankruptcy, the largest government entity in the U.S. to take such a move. But with $18 billion in debt, the city’s unelected manager, Kevyn Orr, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, felt bankruptcy was the only way to get out from under such a crushing debt burden.

The sides are being formed. Who will lose the most money: bondholders, who invested with the city on the safe assumption they would get some profit on their investment, or workers who are due pensions after a career in public service? Pensions make up about $3 billion of the debt.

It will be up to a bankruptcy judge to decide, but Orr says he wants to spread the pain. Retired workers are furious about pension cuts and have already filed suit to block the bankruptcy. Retirees claim that any cut to pensions violates Michigan’s constitution. According to the New York Times, the state constitution says contracts between the employees and the government “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Snyder and Orr think federal bankruptcy will supersede Michigan’s constitution, which surely begs the question of what Michigan’s constitution is actually worth. No, the state constitution should take precedence and retirees’ pensions should be given priority.

In a similar (but smaller) bankruptcy in Central Falls, R.I., a state law gave bondholders preferential treatment, according to the Times.

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    July 22, 2014

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    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

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    July 21, 2014

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    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

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    July 20, 2014

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    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0727 - horse and pony - DK - 266 Editorial: 4-H members have goals, dreams

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    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

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    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letter: Wall Street should not be in politics Talk about corruption, ponzi schemes, we're looking at you, Wall Street, controlling the prices of our food, gasoline and clothing we must buy and about every company in America — while trashing President Obama, the Affordable Health Care Plan, along with every Democrat, to influence our elections, at the same time.

    July 17, 2014

  • Letter: 23 Relay for Life teams raised $40,000 As chairs of this year's American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Madison County, we would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support.

    July 17, 2014

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