In regards to Gene Henry’s letter “bankrupt presidency”…
I lived in Detroit for 10 years and it was there that I studied architecture and planning. I can say with confidence that Detroit’s decline began long before Jan. 20, 2009. If you are attempting to link Obama to the bankruptcy of Detroit, well that is absurd.
Detroit as an industrial giant existed quite well when it was a cramped, 50,000-people-per-square-mile city with an extensive trolley system and no freeways. The citizens of this country (i.e., middle class) robbed themselves by buying into the auto-centric, consumer lifestyle the suburbs were manufacturing and marketing.
The life of Detroit peaked in the mid-1950s and (surprise!) began its glorious decline parallel to the rise of suburban development. The post oil embargo years saw a trend of increasing shipping costs and globalization, and Detroit being an inland port, well, the decline of the city happened pretty quickly.