DETROIT—According to federally appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s July 12th declaration of bankruptcy was hardly a solution to the city’s financial woes. Instead, it should be seen as the “beginning of a long and painful path to solvency:” a path that will certainly require courage and creativity from indebted Detroiters.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures. We’re in debt to the tune of $18 billion and our creditors; some 100,000 public employees stand to see their pensions slashed, if not lost entirely,” claimed a visibly perspiring Orr in a press conference. “We need some serious scratch. Pronto. So nothing is off the table.”
That open-minded approach to reform was on full display during Tuesday’s Emergency Management Meeting, where Orr urged all members of the 30-person committee, comprised of significant Detroiters and financial experts alike to “spitball” solutions to the debt crisis.
Ideas ranged from paying out pensions in Yen to firing all public schoolteachers and replacing them with tapes of the 2005 Hillary Swank film Freedom Writers. The proposal that gained the most traction, however, came from GM Vice Chairman Stephen J. Girsky, who suggested hosting a large-scale bikini carwash in the heart of Downtown Detroit.
“Think about it,” began Girsky, “We’ll have cars lined up for miles just waiting for a team of sexy co-eds to scrub down their every inch. We can even have a line where you can get washed up by some Chippendale types, for whoever might be into that. This city was built on cars, and I’ll be damned if cars don’t pull us back from the brink. Well, cars and skimpy-formfitting swimwear.”
Immediately after Girsky spoke, murmurs of approval could be heard throughout the crowd.
“What if instead of bikinis, the girls were just completely nude?” shouted Motown Records founder Berry Gordy from his seat toward the back of the room.
“And we could sell weed on every corner!” yelled another enthusiastic committee
A series of other hedonistic suggestions were tabled before the committee arrived at a loosely sketched vision of a livable Detroit: widespread drugs and prostitution, a police department unable to enforce any un-fun laws, and a City Hall willing to promise a slew of cushy services it has no intention of ever being able to deliver.
Back-patting quickly devolved into despair, though, after UM History Professor Alan Graham informed the committee that this plan was actually enacted in the early 1960s, and its results were still unclear.
Originally published: September 2013