07:51 – Well, it’s official. The city of Detroit has finally filed for bankruptcy, the largest ever municipal bankruptcy. They’re not even sure exactly how much they owe, but it must be on the close order of $20 billion. This in a city that has been hemorrhaging both population and businesses. Most of the rich and middle-class population has abandoned Detroit, a process that’s accelerated over the last decade or so, leaving only 700,000 or so residents, mostly poor and on government assistance. Detroit’s tax base is pathetic and getting worse. Large swaths of the city are row upon row of abandoned homes and businesses. Detroit is never coming back.
The reality is that Detroit’s creditors are likely to see at best a few cents on the dollar, and that’s if they’re lucky. City government employees will have their pensions slashed by 90% or more, and many vendors who trusted the city will be left holding an empty bag. The city government employee unions are screaming bloody murder, of course, but I have zero sympathy for them. Their demands played no small part in driving Detroit under. Now, no doubt, they’ll be appealing for the state and federal governments to bail out Detroit. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Unfortunately, the problems that beset Detroit and eventually drove it under are by no means unique to Detroit. Although Detroit may be the most extreme case, there are hundreds of other local governments who have made and are still making the kinds of mistakes that ultimately killed Detroit: spending money they don’t have, assuming massive debt loads, making promises they can’t keep, allowing public employee unions to run roughshod over taxpayers’ interests, creating environments that are hostile to businesses and employers, and so forth. Detroit isn’t the first municipal bankruptcy, and it certainly won’t be the last.
09:19 – As of yesterday morning, we were down to two of the SK01 core prepared slides sets in stock. We sold both of those yesterday, but I built a new batch and as of this morning we’re back up to 30 sets in stock. But as of this morning we’re down to only 15 of the CK01A chemistry kits in stock, which this time of year means we urgently need to restock. Other than a few of the chemicals, we have everything we need to put together another batch of 60 of those, which I’ll be doing over the next several days.