01/05/2012 10:35 am ET Updated Mar 06, 2012

Detroit Really Does Matter?

Cities throughout the United States, indeed the world, face economic uncertainty. Money cities once relied upon from the federal government no longer exists, while money that was once funneled down from the federal government to the states and passed onto cities have similarly dried up. That money many mayors once thought would come back may never come back if Congress and the President do not agree on the debt limit. For example, according to The Congressional Quarterly, this past Spring, Congress completed the 2011 appropriation bills (PL 112-10), but in doing so, eliminated "almost $40 billion in discretionary spending from the previous year's levels, and then trimmed an additional $7 billion by the time it finished fiscal 2012" last month. (PL 112-74).

Yet Detroit is special. The January 3, 2012 issue of the Wall Street Journal lists Detroit twice in its "U.S. Datebook," list of important dates in the United States in this New Year. No other city is mentioned yet it lists that January 27 is the deadline for the state review of Detroit's finances and on April 30, the City of Detroit is projected to run out of cash.

Mayors in cities across America are faced with making extremely difficult decisions to cut the very services their citizens rely upon from a city. For example, according to CQ, the mayor of Fresno, Calif. will probably cut meals to the elderly and cut back on efforts to clean up gang graffiti. The mayor of Mesa Ariz. will most likely close a youth center and others will reduce their police force and fire department ranks. As Congress looks at cutting discretionary spending, now the services many relied upon from the federal government will likewise by cut or eliminated.

So why all the interest in Detroit? Detroit remains relevant and of interest because Detroit for decades led the world in technological innovations such as the locomotive, elevator and automobile. We were leaders in the pharmaceutical industry and even agriculture. Our folks embraced creative designs that led to works of art that we can both drive in, work in and reside (architecture + design) and our creative sounds allowed people across the world to "Dance in the Street."

Detroit and Detroiters changed the way people live, work and enjoy their lives. Detroit then and Detroit today, stands as an emblem of America's spirit. After all, it was Detroit that created the middle class and built America. People care about us, because what happens to Detroit's economy, will eventually affect economies throughout the world.