DETROIT – Based on recent articles in the Chicago Tribune, such as the one published in today’s online edition entitled How Chicago debt exploded, it appears a very real coming of age if they do not get their financial house in order. The article even makes reference to Detroit and its financial house of cards. Detroit’s debt is pegged some where near $18 Billion. Though the numbers are estimated, Chicago has a jaw dropping debt of, wait for it !, $33.4 Billion dollars. If all of this is true, then Chicago is in major financial trouble and Detroit can benefit big if it can prove it’s future is at hand.
There are stark contrasts between Detroit and Chicago. Chicago is a larger city with a much more diverse population than Detroit. Most of Chicago’s streets are cleaner and safer than Detroit has experienced in the years of its decline. The main core known as the Loop has never experienced the shear draining of major business operations like that of Detroit. That could start to change though and Detroit should be looking to court the major players of Chicago’s business community. Detroit has the land mass to build upon for most any corporations needs. It also has the international connection to Canada. One has to wonder how long will it be before the large corporations that call Chicago home start to look else where because they are going to potentially be taxed to death to help shovel Chicago out of its debt. Detroit tried that. It chocked off many a start-up by doing so.
Not only the City of Chicago but the State of Illinois is trying to come to grips with wide spread mismanagement and corruption over decades. Year after year Michigan has watched and waved goodbye to some of its most talented as they moved to the Windy City. There is no denying that Chicago is a fun and hip place to live and play. Chicago is on 24/7. But the newly educated, mobile, next generation players need to look harder at Chicago given what is coming into focus and if its a smart move to go to Chicago any more.
There is no doubt that Chicago is watching with great interest and intent as Detroit winds its way through bankruptcy proceedings. No other city larger than Detroit has ever filed for bankruptcy. Reports are that unfunded pension benefits of $19.5 billion and general obligation bond debts of $13.9 billion — for Chicago are looming large. The absolute difference between the two cities right now is this: Detroit is doing something about it’s financial mess right now whereas Chicago and the State of Illinois are still wringing their hands and pointing fingers about what to do next. Detroit’s future is looking brighter. Now let’s turn up the wattage.