Tag Archives: corruption

Book Review on “Detroit – An American Autopsy”

Charlie LeDuff’s raw and hard hitting book, “Detroit – An American Autopsy”  (287 pages) describes the underbelly of a city that was once powerful and wealthy, but now battles Baltimore for the highest murder rate of any American city and  has over 200 unclaimed bodies in the city morgue. It has areas that are vast wastelands of empty factories  and burned out houses. Firefighters, police officers and EMTs have broken down equipment, and parents have been asked to send their kids to school with toilet paper because of inadequate funding. City coffers have been looted by corrupt politicians and gangs have intimidated witnesses who can identify murderers. Hopelessness and crime go hand in hand. 

The automobile companies had gotten lazy and the good times slipped away quickly when the crash hit. When Obama sent in a team to review the financial affairs of the industry they were shocked by what they found. After looking at General Motors , for example, the team “encountered …..perhaps the weakest financial operation any of us had ever seen in a major corporation.” The end result is the dismissal of the poorest among those left behind, who are trapped and can’t get out because they have no ability to do so. Since 2000 over a quarter of a million people have left, leaving the population at  only 700,000. LeDuff was a reporter for the Detroit News and reported what he saw and  even helped  uncover corruption. At times it seemed he was the only one who cared. The unspoken message is that if this situation can develop in Detroit, it can happen anywhere.

If Detroit is to be turned around, corruption has to be stopped in its tracks and elected officials have to be held accountable. A sense of morality, fairness and human dignity need to be restored.  LeDuff summed it all up when he said, “If we are going to fix it, we are going to have to stand up and say ‘enough’ and then get on with the difficult work of cleaning it up.” This book is an eye–opener for those who live in the bubble and don’t have any idea what has happened, or what can happen,  to America.

Uninsured Employers Are Rampant In North Carolina

In North Carolina, 30,000 employers lack workers' compensation insurance.

The News and Observer and Charlotte Observer have reported that nearly 30,000 employers in North Carolina may not have workers’ compensation coverage, even though legislation requires them to have it in case a worker is injured on the job. Although there are stiff penalties and criminal sanctions (it is a Class H felony to intentionally not have insurance if the damages are over $1,000.00) the state has not aggressively enforced compliance with the statute.

Nearly 30,000 employers in North Carolina may not have workers’ compensation coverage

In New York, when the Fiscal Policy Research Institute did a similar study in 2008, it was estimated that as many as one-third of the employers required to have workers’ compensation insurance did not have it, and that as much as $500 million – $1 billion was being lost to the system. Immediate action was taken by then governor Spitzer to correct the problem and all agencies involved were ordered to cooperate and get the problem fixed.

There is no uninsured fund in this state, so if there is no insurance, you can guess who foots the bill: the taxpayer.

A similar massive effort needs to be taken in North Carolina. There is no uninsured fund in this state, so if there is no insurance, you can guess who foots the bill: the taxpayer. Those of us who pay taxes and buy insurance end up paying for the cost of these injuries. Employers cheat the system with no punishment, and we end up paying the hospital bills, providing the food stamps, and paying higher taxes. The crooked employer makes the money and leaves others to clean up the mess. Is this what we teach our children?

The crooked employer makes the money and leaves others to clean up the mess.

The vast majority of employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance. However, when 30,000 other employers don’t, the good guys are placed at a competitive disadvantage. And what message is being sent to those who want to do the right thing? If no one is enforcing the law, why bother to spend that money? Some will simply say: “I’ll take my chances. Even if I get caught, even now they just make you come into compliance and waive the penalty. That’s not a bad deal.” It’s like driving down an interstate highway, knowing that no Highway Patrol Officer is out there making sure people are not speeding. Most of us will drive carefully, but we all know that with no law enforcement there are many who will go as fast as they can, and eventually bad things will happen.

The current system is broken and simply must be repaired.

There is a two-fold solution: (1) enforce the law, and (2) create an uninsured fund to cover those who fall through the cracks. The current system is broken and simply must be repaired.