Editor's Note: An economist's dim view of Detroit

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Economist, author and professor Walter Williams doesn't have the cheeriest predictions for Detroit. On a visit earlier this month, Williams discussed some of the challenges the city faces as it exits bankruptcy.

He says one of the most significant problems Mayor Mike Duggan must confront is that more residents are using city services than are paying for those services. That's a ratio Detroit must reverse before it starts making a true rebound.

Williams also points to the high crime rate and "fraudulent" education system that fails too many children as barriers to progress.

But the most glaring problem is the welfare system, which has directly led to the breakdown of black families. "The welfare state is an equal opportunity destroyer," says Williams, who is black.

Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University, understands what it's like to grow up poor. He started out in a Philadelphia housing project but through initiative and hard work, he became one of the most respected voices in his field.

A new documentary about his life, "Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools," will air at 10 p.m. Monday on Detroit Public TV, Channel 56. Don't miss it.