Contrary to media report after media report, none of these things are unique to Detroit: Abandoned factories. Boarded-up houses. Burned up houses. Deteriorating houses. Drug houses. Graffiti. Crime. Large vacant lots filled with weeds and trash. Depopulation.
As I drove from my home in Detroit to the event the day before it started, and listened to the radio along the 401, the Canadian news was laser-focused on what a shutdown would mean for the Canadian economy, and in particular, Canadian manufacturing.
Without events such as Manufacturing Day, factories are just huge buildings surrounded by tall fences and expansive parking lots to outsiders. It's good to let people inside, to see the intense, high-tech competition in which U.S. manufacturers are engaged -- if only once a year.
Through proactive engagement with our community and by opening the doors of our factories to students, teachers, parents and the broader community, we are dispelling antiquated stereotypes and, once again, getting people excited about "Made in the USA".
The Innovation library received a slew of press coverage when they announced the opening of the Innovation Lab -- a space that gives the public free access to 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC milling machines.
The President will be speaking about rebuilding America's middle class from the depths of an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee. His message and the site from which he'll deliver it are dissonant, given Amazon's prominence as a massive importer and employer of temporary workers.
Detroit's bondholder-friendly, worker/retiree-unfriendly bankruptcy tells the story of an economy -- and a society -- where the priorities are completely screwed up. This is not how you build a healthy sustainable economy.
If our leaders take certain lessons to heart -- and voters demand this change -- we can adopt policies that will grow exports, rebuild the middle class and put us on a path to a better fiscal position.