Thursday, October 26, 2006

NPR : Auto-Job Cuts Spread Pain to Suburban Detroit. I'm off sabbatical.

This was my impetus for blogging again. I hadn't actually finished it when I received that email about Izzy's, but this story did get me so royally pissed off that I needed to write about it:

All, hi. Good to see you again. I decided to take a couple of months off from blogging anything. For some reason the idea of writing down the minutia of my life had less and less appeal as my job really got busy, and I spent the lunches that I used to spend researching "Produce Thursday" working on our new building move. I actually started to dread blogging. So I took some time off. People would email or ask me when I was going to post something again, and I really didn't know. I thought that maybe I'd just hang it up, and save my best thoughts for a novel.

Then, as is typical for me, I read something that just made me irate, and I needed to talk about it. This story was on NPR, and it's about how Michigan's crappy, flagging economy is spreading the pain around pretty much evenly (except at the very top, but you knew that already).

NPR : Auto-Job Cuts Spread Pain to Suburban Detroit

What's so upsetting? How about that between 2000 and today, the median household income in Detroit dropped $1500. Or that 7% more families are living below the poverty level than there were five years ago (31%, or three times the national average). Or that just about everyone's house is worth less than it was three years ago.

I'm writing this as someone who is pretty lucky, for now at least, when it comes to a housing and employment situation - but it's undeniable that a tremendous number of people are in real pain. A quarter of the houses in Oakland County have home equity loans. Even people with jobs have tuition, car payments, variable interest mortgages, credit card debt - all the normal issues of daily existence. If we ever want Michigan to be more than a depopulated, paycheck-to-paycheck state stuck in the good old days mindset that things will improve at the top of the cycle, it's time to realize that no one is going to bail us out. For the the first time in quite a while, people who used to work in the automotive industry and can't get decent jobs or who live in Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Township and can't sell their house are in the same boat. I can't claim to know how to fix this (although I am going to see if we can't poll some experts). I just feel like its time to sink or swim together. The article just emphasizes it for me.

See you on Produce Thursday.

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