"One of our mayoral candidates warned in 2000 that we had to diversify our economy," he said. "No one even blinked. Now we've found out what happens when you don't listen."In 2000 they were still betting on GM. Not just betting on GM - putting all their eggs in one basket.
"As a city we put all of our eggs in one basket with GM," [Mayor Clarence Phillips] said. "Now, as goes GM, so goes Pontiac."I would have stopped betting on the American Automotive Industry about the time Michael Moore produced "Roger and Me."
So why are there no small businesses to pick up the slack? Because Michigan is a very business unfriendly state. Big business can stand it, especially one already established, but small businesses are happier in other places.
Then there are the plainly stupid reactions.
"GM's news just left people numb," said city council member Kone Bowman. "Just how much reality do people have to take?"You have to take 100 percent of reality. In the Real World™ you don't get to arrange things the way you want them to be, or wish they would be. You can't even have things the way they used to be. You only get the cold hard reality of the way they are today.
In Pontiac, that means unemployment above 27 percent, thousands of homes in foreclosure, etc.
Will the folks in Pontiac or in Michigan generally do anything to encourage the creation of new businesses? Will they be willing to set aside union rules to save the old businesses? The future is in their hands, just as surely as they could have altered the present, if they started 9 years ago. But I doubt they will do anything reasonable. I expect that they will raise taxes on the few people/businesses left, forcing them out.
And while it sounds mean - they made their bed, now they have to sleep in it.