Mackinac Center analyst Jack McHugh has called the long process of hollowing out a private economy to prop up an unsustainable government "Detroitification." Detroit's most recent comprehensive annual financial report shows just how much the title-city itself has been hollowed.

The report lists the number of jobs provided by the city's largest employers, which indicates how sensitive its finances are to the actions of a particular firm. In Detroit's case, six of the top 10 employers are not private businesses at all, but government entities: public schools, the city government, the U.S. government, Wayne State University, the State of Michigan and the U.S. Post Office. Two others are health care providers intrinsically tied to government policy, the Detroit Medical Center and the Henry Ford Health System.

The remaining two are automaker recipients of federal bailouts, GM and Chrysler.

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This is a double blow to the city. Not only is it no longer the home of large businesses that have helped the city prosper, the governments that are now the city's largest employers are struggling.


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Jim Riley got his own fiscal house in order so he could retire. Now he wonders why his city government can’t do the same for their employees, and taxpayers who could end with huge bills from the unfunded retirement liabilities.

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