Whitman's latest Freep op-ed: economy is looking up, but not by much

December 19, 2014

Marina v.N. Whitman was featured in the December 13 edition of the Detroit Free Press as a Guest Writer. Her article, “The economy, looking up, but not by much,” analyzes the modest economic steps that Detroit, Michigan, and the United States have taken while noting a long road still lies ahead for all three.

Detroit, thought to be on its last legs, has transformed mightily in just one year. “The city is out of bankruptcy, the pension cuts are much less drastic than feared, the [Detroit Institute of Arts’] collection is intact and protected for the future, efforts to improve appallingly inadequate city services are underway, and there are signs of a cultural rebirth,” Whitman writes. Nonetheless, she cautions against being too optimistic regarding Detroit’s revival: poverty, unemployment, high-school dropout rates, and blight all remain ridiculously high, and much work remains before Detroit becomes a national power once more.

Whitman takes the same stance in her examinations of Michigan and the United States. Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped, but remains higher than the national average. Although the United States’ unemployment rate has also dropped fairly precipitously, “wages are stagnating, inequality in income and wealth is widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots,” Whitman states.

“It’s too early to tell whether our children and grandchildren will be better off than we are or, as many fear, worse off instead,” Whitman concludes. Nonetheless, hope remains the growth Detroit, Michigan, and the United States have recently seen manifests itself in the long-term.