Don't get too supercilious about Detroit, warns the Huffington Post--the same thing could happen to your city. Pretty much like "we're all Trayvon," if you can't identify anything about his behavior that fateful night that might have contributed to his problems. Detroit was just doing what a city's gotta do. Which is true enough, if you believe that a city's gotta have a unionized workforce that votes for more pension benefits than the city can possibly fund out of a combination of local taxes and sky-high borrowing.
Chicago is facing the same problem, so no doubt the refrain will soon become that you shouldn't get too supercilious about either Detroit or Chicago, because the same thing could happen to your city. It might be a good time to look into what cities are doing to bring fiscal disaster on themselves and stop doing that. Because one thing is true enough: nearly all of them are flirting with fiscal disaster. The thing is, flirting with disaster doesn't just "happen." There's no natural law that forces cities to pretend they can borrow indefinitely to fund more services than their taxpayers can or will pay.
In a sign of the opening of one of the seven seals of the Apocalypse, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing that his city should give its unionized workers the option of a 401(k) instead of a pension. The big difference between the two is that a 401(k) amounts to a "defined contribution" plan instead of a "defined benefits" plan. "Defined benefits" pensions are roughly a synonym for "a plan in which we promise to contribute some funds later even though you know and we know that we're lying through our teeth and couldn't do it even if we wanted to, which we don't very much, as long as you're falling for it."
We've got competing narratives for why certain cities implode. Detroit's apologists have been trying out the narrative that includes a string of bad luck that no one could have foreseen. It will be interesting to see Chicago try it on for size, too.