Sorry to be so scatological about it, but any hopes that Detroit retirees could live a happy retirement should be flushed down the bowl along with Judge Steven Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Rhodes said Tuesday that the city could, sure, go ahead and try to erase $18 billion in debt incurred in part by under-funded pensions and health costs. It was OK, the judge decided, for Detroit to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

So The Motor City blue-collar guys get to pack it up and go home while the white-collar guys scrum around the table with glasses of scotch scratching out deals. Oh sure, the unions will be underfoot, trying to get theirs. But in the end, which group will scratch out the most scratch for its team? Bet it's the guys with the best lawyers.

The case now turns to the art of crunching numbers and trying to strike deals, although unions are pursuing an appeal.

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