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More Idiocy in Detroit
Townhall.com ^ | July 22, 2013 | Mike Shedlock

Posted on 07/22/2013 6:14:02 AM PDT by Kaslin

On Friday, a Michigan Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ruled Detroit bankruptcy is unconstitutional

 On Friday, a circuit court judge in Ingham County ruled that Detroit's federal bankruptcy filing violated a part of Michigan's constitution that protects union pensions. She ordered it withdrawn, a day after Detroit became the largest U.S. city in history to file for chapter nine bankruptcy. 

Judge Rosemary Aquilina also said the filing did not honor President Barack Obama's work for the city, who she said "took [Detroit's auto companies] out of bankruptcy." Aquilina said she would send a copy of her order to Obama. 

“It’s cheating, sir, and it’s cheating good people who work,” the judge told assistant Attorney General Brian Devlin. “It’s also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy.”

The Detroit News reported "attorneys representing the pension boards hurried into Aquilina’s court to ask for a restraining order" on July 18, but Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Detroit's emergency manager Kevin Orr "beat them by a few minutes" in filing for bankruptcy. The filing did not deter lawyers for union pension boards, who can use "court maneuvers to slow down federal bankruptcy proceedings."

Idiocy

The whole point of bankruptcy court is to resolve debt issues that cannot be paid. It is impossible for Detroit to meet its pension obligations and the only way to resolve the issue is in bankruptcy court.

Common Sense 

In a common sense position, Michigan Governor Says Detroit’s Bondholders Part of Bankruptcy 

 Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan said today that the bondholders of the city of Detroit should expect to be “part of the process” of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history

“Realistically, if you step back, if you were lending to the city of Detroit in the last few years, didn’t you understand there were major issues and problems?” Snyder, a Republican, said on the CBS’s “Face the Nation” today. “Look at the yields they’re obtaining compared to other bonds. They were getting a premium.” 

The plight of city pensioners is “one of the other tragic situations” in the Detroit bankruptcy, Snyder said on CBS. He said that during discussions with creditors, “no one” wanted to represent retirees, so he has asked the federal judge in the case to assemble a group of retirees to speak for them. 

Pension Funding

“Short-term through the end of the year, there won’t be any change,” Snyder said. “Beyond that, the real question also is, to the degree those pension plans are funded, that they’re our assets, that they are not part of this process.”

“It’s the unfunded piece, and there’s a terrible history there of mismanagement and poor investment that should get aired out in public and should be part of this discussion,” Snyder said on CBS.

In contrast to the idiotic circuit court ruling, the statements by governor Snyder represent a fresh breath of common sense.

1. Bondholders knowing took risks so they must take a haircut. 
2. The funded assets of the pension plan cannot be touched
3. Bankruptcy court will resolve the unfunded portion

What's not to like about that?

And in regards to point number three, I would hope the burden falls on the highest pension beneficiaries (most likely city officials, police, firefighters) but also taking into account length of service, rather than something like 50% haircuts across the board.

What's Next?

I expect the circuit court ruling will be overturned with prejudice, the pension plans will take a huge haircut, boldholders will take some haircut, and the overall fairness of the final decision as to how pension haircuts will be applied is up in the air.

Many other cities will follow Detroit's lead.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: chapter9; detroit; michigan; rosemaryaquillina

1 posted on 07/22/2013 6:14:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

The pensioners and employees need to take a haircut first.

Pray for America to Wake Up


2 posted on 07/22/2013 6:17:46 AM PDT by bray (Coming soon: The Republic of Texas 2022)
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To: Kaslin
Detroit's federal bankruptcy filing violated a part of Michigan's constitution that protects union pensions.

Hey, Your Honor, if the city IS bankrupt, it cannot pay the pensions anyway.

It doesn't take many brain cells to figure that one out.
3 posted on 07/22/2013 6:18:20 AM PDT by TomGuy (.)
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To: Kaslin

This isn’t idiocy. Its the breakdown of the rule of law. She’s protecting her president and one of her party’s biggest constituencies. More evidence that the Democratic Party is interested in one thing — grabbing as much power and money as it can, rules be damned.


4 posted on 07/22/2013 6:18:26 AM PDT by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: Kaslin

The judge is going to get slapped over this.

She’s an Ingam county judge ruling on events in Wayne county and trying to singlehandedly force a bailout.


5 posted on 07/22/2013 6:19:18 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Springman; cyclotic; netmilsmom; RatsDawg; PGalt; FreedomHammer; queenkathy; madison10; ...
I don't know this judge but she's obviously and idiot. Frankly I think she's proven that she's too biased to be a judge with her comments about dishonoring Obama.

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Michigan legislative action thread
6 posted on 07/22/2013 6:22:38 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Kaslin

I agree with the governor.

In a bankruptcy, the last in line should be those who bought risky bonds in order to receive a higher interest rate. They gambled. They lost.

A funded pension really doesn’t belong to the city. It belongs to the pensioners.

The unfunded pensions are the tragedy. I don’t believe that people who work in city clerk offices and the like are bad people just because they work for crooked or incompetent elected officials. And as they approach retirement, there is no denying they have needs just like everyone else.

Now, to the extent that they supported the system by campaigning for it, voting for it, and donating to it, they have culpability, but I’m guessing there are some who did not. I’m expecting to find some conservative voters in that group of unfunded pension holders.

So, with bondholders in last place, I’d expect pensioners to receive a real terms greater share of the proceeds. Even there, I can see some minimal graduated levels of protection. Those with outlandish pensions should be identified. Those with normal or minimal ones should be more protected.

In this, I’m not adding federal money. I’m thinking in terms of the city divesting itself of any sellable asset, to include real property.


7 posted on 07/22/2013 6:24:28 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Kaslin

It makes no difference what any judge says or doesn’t say.

If they are broke, they have no money. Period.........


8 posted on 07/22/2013 6:25:40 AM PDT by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name......Want to have fun? Google your friend's names........)
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To: cripplecreek

I hope someone here can educate us on what exactly does the Michigan constitution state about honoring union pensions. It’s probably nothing but in the worst case it would force the state of Michigan to cover the city pensions. This would put the liberals of Michigan in a bad position, either pay up or remove the pro-union clause from the state constitution.


9 posted on 07/22/2013 6:30:36 AM PDT by RadiationRomeo (Step into my mind and glimpse the madness that is me)
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To: Red Badger
It makes no difference what any judge says or doesn’t say. If they are broke, they have no money. Period.........

Oh, but that's where you're wrong. They "have" plenty of money. It's not really theirs but yours and mine. Do you really think Obamao will let Detwah go bankrupt? Too many votes involved.

10 posted on 07/22/2013 6:32:30 AM PDT by raybbr (I weep over my sons' future in this Godforsaken country.)
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To: raybbr
Do you really think Obamao will let Detwah go bankrupt? Too many votes involved.

And the tragedy will be that dozens of other towns and cities will be jumping in line for their 'fair' share, once the spigot is opened.

This will not be much different than the bailout mentality that began with GWBush and continued under Obama. Once they start, it is difficult to find a place to stop.
11 posted on 07/22/2013 6:41:05 AM PDT by TomGuy (.)
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To: Red Badger
...just delaying the inevitable and living in denial right up to the bitter end.

This process has been in the works since 1965 and sped up after 1967.

No hope, close the place down, bring in the wrecking balls, oh wait a minute, no funds for the demolition? Just let nature take it's course, let it rot and collapse. The city will be the Dark Ages for about 500 years and then a “Renaissance” will happen...

This Renaissance theme is what kept Detroit going after the 1967 riots but it was running on fumes.

As long as there is CRIME, CRIME, CRIME nobody will want to go there.

I grew up there and walked in the downtown area (Cass Corridor) will two rocks in my hand, like a caveman, ready to clobber any thief who would get close to me...primitive Hobbesian world.

12 posted on 07/22/2013 6:44:24 AM PDT by Netz (Netz)
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To: TomGuy

That is exactly why I have little sympathy for the creditors. They knew Detroit was never going to be able to repay the debt but they kept loaning money anyway because they expected the feds to step in and pay it off. They’re doing the same with hundreds of other cities as well.

However, I’m not completely unsympathetic. The environment for business is getting better due to GOP control of the state and I would offer the creditors property as partial payment. They’ll make the properties profitable one way or another. There might even be a way to do the same with the pensions. A developer’s deal to buy the old Packard plant appears to be days away now and he’s already hired the architecture firm that originally built the place.


13 posted on 07/22/2013 7:01:06 AM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Kaslin

Ingham County = East Lansing, 90 miles away? WTH??


14 posted on 07/22/2013 7:03:52 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: bray

Why should the pensioners take the haircut first? The bond holders take a risk when they invest in municipal bonds, especially from a city like Detroit. No doubt the interest rates were attractive enough so that the reward was worth the risk. They should take the biggest haircut.


15 posted on 07/22/2013 7:08:53 AM PDT by kabar
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To: TomGuy

What good is being a liberal if you can’t deny reality?


16 posted on 07/22/2013 7:09:58 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Lansing is the State Capital...


17 posted on 07/22/2013 7:11:45 AM PDT by VRWCarea51
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To: Kaslin

I am dumbfounded


18 posted on 07/22/2013 7:31:09 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: xzins

You said:

>> those who bought risky bonds... gambled. They lost.

So true.

You also said:

>> I don’t believe that people who work in city clerk offices... are bad people

Like you, I don’t believe they’re bad people, but whether they’re good or bad people is not the right question.

The relevant question is should they pay any of the cost.

Well, for years they consumed overly generous benefits, knowing that there was no way to fund them short of magic.

In a subtle way, isn’t that analogous to the bond buyers who took the upside of high interest rates?

Shouldn’t both bondholders AND pensioners, having enjoyed the upside well aware of the risk, now bear some burden in the downside?


19 posted on 07/22/2013 7:35:49 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Without GOD, men get what they deserve.)
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To: Kaslin

And the judge was elected.


20 posted on 07/22/2013 7:45:05 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Nervous Tick

The difference in my mind is that when a person needs a job and is looking for a job, they don’t pay much attention to whether the job they find is in the private or public sector. They just rejoice when they get a job.

I acknowledged that those who have extravagant pensions should also have their place at the end of the line, but I’m betting there are those who have regular pensions and regular pay. In the Army we called them privates, but every hierarchy has those who aren’t even close to being those who call the shots, and who aren’t pulling down the big bucks.

My sense wasn’t that they wouldn’t take a hit. My sense was that the hit should disproportionately strike those who have extravagantly played the system.


21 posted on 07/22/2013 7:47:32 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: cripplecreek
It's called "home cookin'" in the legal profession - a Judge's ruling that is sure to be overturned on appeal, which is delivered just for the local constituents (who may elect that Judge.)

I was pleased to see the Chapter 9 case filed. But after thinking about this state challenge, I wonder if I want to see this stay in Bankruptcy Court or be withdrawn. My paramount goal in this is that the people responsible bear the costs. I don't want to see either an explicit federal bailout, or an implicit (back door) federal bailout. The Obama Administration is getting very good at the back-door bailouts.

If it stays in the bankruptcy courts, it has the virtue of decisive bankruptcy Judges being empowered to put and end to a lot of things that caused the mess. On the other hand, if this Circuit Court Judge's patronizing of the retirees and public employees unions carries the day and they do not get bankruptcy protection, there may be less opportunity for implicit subsidy, and Detroit would have to make one whale of an explicit bailout request, which could be a good poster child for the GOP in 2014.

22 posted on 07/22/2013 7:50:40 AM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken
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To: Kaslin

“Judge Rosemary Aquilina said “It’s also not honoring the (United States) president, “

I recall another regime that declared it illegal to dishonor their leader. That didn’t end easily....


23 posted on 07/22/2013 8:14:54 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: xzins

Agree.


24 posted on 07/22/2013 8:25:19 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Without GOD, men get what they deserve.)
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To: Kaslin

Bankruptcy is federal and will trump the state court.

That said, Federal Bankruptcy Judges will often outsource the rullings on issues of state law UP TO THE POINT OF FINALITY becuase state courts know state law. The big example is mortage forclosures and other areas where federal law does not exist.

Pensions ARE covered by the bankruptcy code and federal law.

This judge should be sanctioned for violating the automatic stay.


25 posted on 07/22/2013 8:28:19 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Kaslin

The judge is an idiot. OK, we already know that. But the purpose of bankruptcy is to protect the viability of the bankrupt party from a tsunami of lawsuits and attempts to attach assets, temporarily protecting it from chaotic destruction. Obviously, putting the bankruptcy on hold doesn’t get any bills paid, but it does open Detroit up to complete financial destruction.


26 posted on 07/22/2013 8:35:10 AM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: xzins
. I don’t believe that people who work in city clerk offices and the like are bad people just because they work for crooked or incompetent elected officials.

Ef 'em. They voted for their Union representatives and in Detroit they're 98% lib-Dem voters. They deserve the screwing they're about to get. I don't care if they starve in the streets.

27 posted on 07/22/2013 10:31:56 AM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker

I’m a Christian. I care if they starve in the streets.

I don’t care if they suffer the consequences of their own actions, but those who are just the little people, who were just doing a job, who were not the big whigs, even though they might have voted wrong, I see no reason to wish them catastrophe.

At the same time, I pray they see the light.


28 posted on 07/22/2013 10:38:36 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: xzins

According to the law, the bondholders come first.

In the current environment, there are no laws.

I cite as examples John Corzine and MFGlobal and “rehypothecation”. Another example, The UAW pensions got moved way ahead of the bondholders in the GM case.

In place of laws, we now have political lynch mobs.

In the Trevon Martin case, we had a political lynch mob to indict and convict Zimmerman.

In the case of illegal immigation, we have a pro amnesty lynch mob.

Here we have a “screw the bondholders” lynch mob.


29 posted on 07/22/2013 12:07:37 PM PDT by staytrue
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To: RadiationRomeo
what exactly does the Michigan constitution state about honoring union pensions.

I don't think the state constitution has anything to do with it, pension plans fall under the ERISA guidelines.

With that being said, I recall the great Detroit Tiger pitcher and sociopath Denny McClain, along with his equally treacherous partner Roger Smigiel, bought out Peet Packing, a meat packing plant in Chesaning, Michigan in order to raid the company's 3 million dollar pension plan after it closed.

I know many retirees who are going to be affected and if my dad were still alive, he would be too since he was a retired cop as was my grandfather.

This isn't about penalizing retires simply because they were working for a liberal city government as several posters above seem to be pleased with, this is about people who spent their lives in their jobs, regardless of their political affiliation, and were guaranteed a pension upon retirement.

30 posted on 07/22/2013 1:00:56 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (')
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To: Hot Tabasco

Those guarantees came from the mouths of politicians. Anyone who believes the promises of politicians deserves to take it in the backside.


31 posted on 07/22/2013 3:43:14 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Lurker
Anyone who believes the promises of politicians deserves to take it in the backside.

Who are you refering to, the workers on pensions?

32 posted on 07/22/2013 3:45:23 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (')
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To: Lurker
Anyone who believes the promises of politicians deserves to take it in the backside.

Use that same argument to a retiree of Delphi and he's likely to put a bullet in your ignorant head.............

33 posted on 07/22/2013 3:52:42 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (')
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To: Lurker

Just curious Lurker, is there any private sector pension plan out there that went bankrupt that you wouldn’t blame the worker simply for his participation in it?


34 posted on 07/22/2013 3:57:07 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (')
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To: Hot Tabasco

I invite them to try to put a bullet into me.


35 posted on 07/22/2013 7:14:29 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Hot Tabasco

The “workers” in Detroit are 98% lib Dem. They voted for this crap for decades. Let them choke on it. I hope they all starve. Delphi workers didn’t work for government. Learn the difference, pogue.


36 posted on 07/22/2013 7:18:44 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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