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April 25, 2011

Bankrupt Detroit Spends $1,092 Apiece on Library Chairs

Posted by Dave Blount at April 25, 2011 6:26 AM

The nice thing about socialism as compared to capitalism is that socialists don't have to pinch pennies. It doesn't matter whether you spend rationally when the money is someone else's. From the test city for communism in America:

Detroit Public Library officials say finances have grown so bad they could close most neighborhood branches, but in a few weeks plan to unveil a revamped wing of a main library that even administrators say spares few expenses.
The South Wing is stocked with 20 yellow and orange European lounge chairs that cost $1,092 apiece, artistic pendant light fixtures and two alcohol-burning fireplaces. The project morphed from a $300,000 furniture update to a $2.3 million overhaul with new floors, study rooms, lighting and built-in, wood-framed book shelves.

They may have to close a few branches, but they aren't going out of business until the entire system collapses, so why not continue spending like maniacs?

A Detroit News review showed that, since 2008, the library has paid at least $160,000 to food vendors, including $1,760 at an ice-cream shop, and spent $1 million on 6 percent raises to union workers at a time counterparts in City Hall took 10 percent pay cuts.
…Library Deputy Director Juliet Machie defended the renovation, saying it was a badly needed update…

But even Machie made a few admissions:

Machie said officials argued about the value of the two fireplaces — which cost $5,021 apiece — but she said staff pushed for them because they had seen them in suburban libraries. The 24 pendant light fixtures hanging above computers cost $531 each.
Machie said she wouldn't have approved the chairs because they can be easily damaged. She said she has had to remove new leather chairs from the Skillman branch downtown and replace them with wooden ones after homeless people defecated on them.

How's that for crapping our money away? Yet bureaucrumbs still bleat their credo: "It's not our fault."

Edward Thomas, chairman of the library commission, said the South Wing spending has no connection to the library's current financial crisis. The library is funded by a 4.63 mill tax and officials project revenues will drop 20 percent per year until 2015 because of declining property values and population. The tax that generated about $40 million in 2010 is only expected to produce $14 million by 2015.

Why are property values declining? Because we've abandoned the free market for a quasi-socialist soft tyranny in which looters can blow over a $1,000 apiece of other people's money on chairs for bums to crap on. Due to America's most liberal city being ahead of the curve on our progressive tailspin into national ruin, anyone willing to pull his own weight has either escaped this blighted zone or is trying to, resulting in property values collapsing there faster than elsewhere.

But until "the rich" have been bled dry, the spending and looting that have brought this once great city to its current condition will continue.

Here's what the extravagantly furnished South Wing will look like in a couple of years:

detroit-library-ruins.jpg

On tips from G. Fox and J.