Huffpost Detroit

Detroit's $18 Billion Debt: What That Money Could Buy (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Since the extent of Detroit's fiscal crisis was revealed when the city filed for bankruptcy last month, efforts have been made to quantify its assets, especially those that could be sold off to satisfy creditors. Observers have ruminated on the potential value of the works at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the city's collection of classic cars, even its zoo animals. But the sale of any of those assets would just be a drop in the bucket.

At $18 billion, Detroit's staggering debt is simply a lot to wrap one's head around. Even the city couldn't fully comprehend the magnitude, it seems, until Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr actually went ahead and filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

How could a city of 701,475 people rack up $18 billion in debt? A full breakdown of that fiscal picture is right over here.

But to help you understand what $18 billion really looks like -- and could buy, if you weren't trying to repay city bondholders or to cover promised retiree health care costs -- HuffPost put together a handy infographic. It turns out $18 billion buys quite a lot in some cases, and not so much in others. As Detroit is quickly learning, it all depends on where your spending priorities lie.

Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post. Additional reporting by Kate Abbey-Lambertz and Simone Landon.

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