From Motown to Notown


Finally some encouraging job news? Unemployment hit a five-year low at seven percent along with meaningful job growth for college graduates. Young job seekers who played by the rules went to college, racked up big debts and are finally being hired into above minimum wage jobs that relate to their college studies. Perhaps now they can start figuring out the life long wonderful American capitalism game of paying off debt with gainful employment while struggling to shift their balance sheet into the black in time for a reasonable retirement age. Then again, this could turn out to be nothing but another false economic promise to keep despair in check, to keep job seekers seeking long enough to become vested in the system so that those holding purse strings can later figure out how to finagle more out of them, maybe by shaking down their pensions, such as with the low lying fruit of public employees.

Sadly, it still looks very ugly out there. Regardless of the encouraging news, youthful workers, be forewarned, you too will again cycle into the vicious unpredictable cycle of American capitalism. Economic disparity is killing the American Dream, our sense of community and threatens national security in ways terrorists could not imagine.

The Boston Marathon terrorist bombers did ugly, measurable damage but their actions did not turn Boston into a "Notown" and cause a social Diaspora. It only stiffened the resolve of the citizenry. But economic legislation ruled constitutional by a governor, and by elected and appointed officials has managed to bankrupt the spirit out of the great American city of Detroit and its public employees.

Images of the city play like a science fiction movie narrating the end of America's successful experiment with diversity in a robust urban life style. Detroit has gone from "Motown" to "Notown." Representing a scary national trend to blame public sector workers who played by the rules, sacrificed short-term salary over the long-term promised security of a later life pension, public employees everywhere can't quite shake free of the pension chill threatening to blow a hole out of their bottom line, and threaten segments of every city across the country. Every worker ought to take this newly anointed judicial equation as a threat. It means no labor agreement is established law. Today's "boogie man job busters" are your neighbors and family, greedily working as overpaid public employees getting ready to or already trying to keep pensions promised them that they planned for, and if you listen to the billionaire's sound bite machine Fox News and too many Republican governors such as Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan, public employees with pensions and their collective bargaining power that suppresses "right-to-work" are the blame for our hard time. Who will be the next "boogie man" worker called upon unfairly to shoulder our economic recovery? What great American city will become the next "Notown?"