It’s hardly helpful to a bankrupt Detroit to say “I told you so,” but I did tell you so. In the October 1995 issue of the Atlantic, I suggested that large Rust Belt cities such as Detroit, whose populations had declined drastically during the postwar era, needed to consider planned shrinkage. This may sound like a declaration of defeat. Yet as I wrote, “Downsizing has affected private institutions, public agencies, and the military, as well as businesses. Why not cities?”
Burlington, Vermont’s most-populous city, is on the verge of losing its investment-grade bond ranking with a municipally backed project to bring high-speed Internet service siphoning taxpayers’ funds and prompting a property-tax increase.
Michigan’s swift conversion to a right-to-work state has galvanized advocates of the law, who vow to seek similar legislation nationwide under the battle cry: “If it can happen in Michigan, it can happen anywhere.”