To Pillage and Plunder: Republican Leadership to Make 150,000 Homeless in Detroit

detroit foreclosures

Republicans absolutely love free, unregulated capitalism.

And why wouldn’t they?  In the absence of regulation, millionaires and corporations are free to exploit the working class for their own personal benefit.  With no set regulations in place, those at the top of the societal pyramid are free to do as they will with their accumulated wealth, including using their vast fortunes to provide themselves with even more money, even if others have to suffer for them to do so.  In a country where the richest 1% of Americans have captured 95% of the post-financial crisis growth since 2009, there have been limitless opportunities for them to add to their newly added wealth at the expense of other, less financially stable citizens.

Nowhere has this model been more apparent than the city of Detroit.

In the next year and a half, as many as 150,000 people are expected to lose their homes due to foreclosures, representing nearly 1/5 of the entire population of the city.  The first portion of these foreclosures was kicked off earlier this month where a plan was announced by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in collaboration with city mayor Mike Duggan.  Orr was personally appointed by Republican governor Rick Snyder and Duggan ran for mayor on a slogan of “Every neighborhood has a future.”  However, the plan that Orr and Duggan approved would end up selling off more than 6,300 properties in a public auction in the neighborhoods of Hamtrack and Highland Park in what is being termed a “blight bundle” due to the fact that roughly 1,000 of the properties are deemed valuable while the others seem destined for demolition.  By announcing this upcoming public auction, this unholy triumvirate of Republican leadership has proven to be willing to evict thousands of lifelong Detroit residents simply to give a billionaire or two an opportunity to swoop in and cash out on the city’s misfortune.

This announcement is coming on the heels of a manufactured water crisis where the mainstream media intentionally misled the public as to the true cause of the situation.  It was not, as major media outlets would have you believe, simply due to Detroit residents not paying their water bills but rather gross negligence by the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) who claimed that they had incorrectly billed Detroit residents for six years due to a “systems change.”  However, in an effort to reconcile what they believed to be missing income, the DWSD then sent bills out to reclaim its missing retroactive fees which ended up totaling $116 million dollars.  Unfortunately, this was done in such a way that there was no accountability nor fairness involved in the process.  For example, local churches were charged exorbitant fees despite having consistently paid their bills while some residents were charged for water usage despite not even having lived at that residence during the time period they were billed for.  Eventually, water was restored to the areas in the city affected by the water crisis, but the entire situation left a bitter taste for everyone involved.  As Monique Lin-Luse of the NAACP Legal Defense fund stated, “Hitting residents with six years’ worth of retroactive, cumulative sewage bills at a time when they are struggling to pay existing water bills is adding insult to injury.”

Things in Detroit got so bad during this time that the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a statement condemning the treatment of the city’s poor.  Part of the statement read:

About 80 percent of the population of Detroit is African American. According to data from 2013, 40.7 percent of Detroit’s population lives below the poverty level, 99 percent of the poor are African American. Twenty percent of the population is living on 800 USD or less per month, while the average monthly water bill is currently 70.67 USD. This is simply unaffordable for thousands of residents, mostly African Americans.

We were deeply disturbed to observe the indignity people have faced and continue to live with in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and in a city that was a symbol of America’s prosperity.

We were also distressed to learn from the low-income African American residents of the impossible choices they are being compelled to make – to either pay their rent or their medical bill, or to pay their water bill.

In other words, low-income people of color were being taken advantage of by Detroit’s rich, white elite.

And yet, this is exactly what Rich Snyder, Kevyn Orr, and Mike Duggan want.  They don’t want every neighborhood to have a future.  They want their neighborhoods to have a future.  They want a Detroit where rich billionaires can come in and cleanse the city of not simply decaying buildings, but a population of people that they find unworthy of living in the city, despite having lived there for generations.  They want a Detroit where they can build a half-billion dollar hockey stadium and spruce up the midtown area all while throwing out the poorest 20% of the population on the streets in the middle of the cold, Michigan winter.  It doesn’t matter that these people are lifelong Detroit residents and that their blood, sweat, and tears has built the city up over generations, all that matters is they don’t fit the kind of people that the Republican leadership of Detroit wants in its fair city.  What we are seeing in Detroit is an overt and obvious attempt by Republicans to rid the city of its poorest citizens by any means necessary.

Another shining example of compassionate conservatism at its finest.


Correction: Throughout the piece Kevyn Orr and Mike Duggan are referred to as Republicans, either implicitly or directly. Duggan was elected Detroit Mayor as a Democrat. Orr has stated that he is a lifelong Democrat. PoliticusUSA regrets this oversight and apologizes profusely for the error.

22 Replies to “To Pillage and Plunder: Republican Leadership to Make 150,000 Homeless in Detroit”

  1. With all the bad luck that this once great city has endured one wonders if there was some white paper written years ago on how to take back our city from the others?

  2. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you:

    Tent Cities Inc., where, for a nominal fee, you too can live the American dream, of making it on your own, just like the pioneers! In conjunction with Soylent Industries, soon you’ll be able to afford food, water, and shelter, for the cost of a few spare organs. Sell a finger, eat for a month! Sell a hand, eat for six months!

  3. The downfall of Detroit had NOTHING to do with Democrat control and the unions, just the Republicans fault. You all need to step away from your computers and go out, live your lives. Your obsession with your hatred of the Republican party is unhealthy.

  4. Community at it’s best. Together, we rise.
    pass it on!
    Briefly: The Healing Blues is a community based project spearheaded by Greensboro College that partners local musicians, artists, and philanthropists with individuals from the homeless community in order to share their experience, strength and hope. The Healing Blues Vol 1 tells the stories of 13 individuals, all different yet somehow the same; joined together through the messages of humanity, hope, and love expressed in their songs.

  5. I really wish people would stop purporting the idea that it has to do with race. This is not because black and white, that is the same misinformation garbage they have been feeding us since decades before I was born. It is as it always has been. The rich taking advantage of the poor, and building off of their misfortune, simply because they can, its easy, and it puts more money in their pockets.

  6. IMO opin it would be better for the city to just declare imminent domain on those foreclosed or abandoned homes, and then rent them out. Become a landlord. Another thought is for HUD to take over the abandoned homes and reconfigure them into low-cost rentals. In any event, SOMEONE has to take over the abandoned housing in Detroit and it looks like the City or State or Feds will do it.

  7. From my understanding they are taking the homes because of back property taxes some owing as little as a couple of hundred dollars. To me it looks like they are fast tracking this because Snyder is in real trouble and the emergency management law is set to expire

  8. Do you mean to tell us that you have led so sheltered a life that you haven’t seen rampant racism with your own eyes? You really need to get out more.

  9. Used to live in Tulsa, OK. Yes there are two blue peices of paper, they contain plans by the city for blacks to all move north of 36th street North. Unfortunately for them, just didn’t work as they intended. The most active buisiness in Tulsa the police dept and the David Moss jail…And the Day Center for the homeless.

  10. Destroying Detroit and its inhabitants especially, has been the Koch funded Snyder plan all along. We need to get this Koch Puppet out of our politics this November with our votes. We have a great guy, in Mark Schaumer to vote for who will stop the destruction of this state. Snyder has done nothing but tax us to death and rape and pillage the state, city by city. Get the tbaggers out of our state congress too.


    VOTE BLUE! while we can still vote.


  11. Yet, Obama chose to bail out the Banks instead of the American people.

    But it’s the GOP’s fault.

    Until you idiots realize that the GOP is the DNC is the GOP, you will fail and continue to fail.

    Stupid never learns.

  12. This could become more pervasive under GOP “GET OUR PROFITS”……….The middle class is irrelevant when it comes to getting richer and richer. Damn the middleclass……full speed ahead!!!!!

  13. Where was the outrage when the unions were lining the pockets of the democratic control city hall for the last 50 years. Making huge financial obligations that would fall on “the middle class and poor”. Where was the outrage then. You wanted fantasy land – you got the reality. Now the pain that comes from progressive rule of the past 50 years. Someone has to pay for the fraud done to the people of Detroit by the unions and democrats who won elections on the backs of the “middle class and poor.” The ones
    stuck with the bill.

  14. I was really dismayed that the Detroit Free Press (the more liberal of the two newspapers) endorsed Rick Snyder for a second term. He is a weasel who pretends to be moderate and then goes along with the teabagger GOP legislature. Nothing he can do. Oh my! When Snyder ran for governor four years ago, he promised to be a one term governor. Let’s make him keep his promise! He can move out of state again and brag that he never did live in the governor’s mansion. He had his own that he preferred.

  15. I get that you are a rightie so what I say will have no meaning, but please left leaning men: Women know that the repubs want to drag us back to the 1950s. We aren’t stupid. Please stop acting like this isn’t an issue. No, it’s not the only issue, but without indpendent and strong women we will never be all we can be. Our country will be in very bad shape withou women as equal partners.

  16. Old white guy, right? You blindness to realtiy makes me want to puke. Now you go out and be the stupid you are.

  17. Liberal ignorance. This is what democrats have done for years and slowly destroy an economy. Face the facts this is what they do. Now the city is out of money from all there programs and spending. Now they have to sell off assets do to poor leadership. The democrats in charge in this city should be jailed. But instead they blame republicans… its all about the blame.. Good sell the whole place and get the money back and start again

  18. Hey dummy did you ever think that when the auto industry moved out maybe that had something to do with it? Oh I forgot you are a dummy and cant think

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