Once the beating heart of America’s motor industry, Detroit shows few signs of being the giant of industry it once was, becoming the largest city in the US to file for bankruptcy.
The slow decline has marked the landscape, factories stand empty and neighbourhoods deserted.
Residents appear resigned to their city’s fate.
“ It’s a dump now. Big old Detroit can’t even handle its own business? That’s sad,” declared one resident.
“Well, they’ve had enough time to straighten it out, so I guess – as they say – if you can’t handle it yourself someone else will. So I guess they did,” exclaimed another.
The mayor has assured public workers will be paid at the end of the month and public services will keep running, but with a current budget deficit of 380 million dollars, he has now passed the buck.
Peter Henning, Wayne State University Law Professor explains:
“Now it’s under the power of the federal judge, and so the decision-making is really out of the control of the people who had a say in the process before. Now what you’re talking about is a federal bankruptcy judge deciding who’s going to get paid and how much they’re going to get paid.”
Analysts fear that the bankruptcy could spread panic among businesses in the area, leading to further exits from the city.
However, US car giant General Motors, which has its headquarters in Detroit, has said the news should not have any impact on its operations.