Detroit Continues To Maintain Horseshoer Despite The Absence of Horses

Detroit has long been viewed as an example of a catastrophic failure of a city with soaring crime, unemployment, and the continued reelection of corrupt or abusive politicians (here and here and here and here).  Unable to pay bills, the city has left whole areas without street lighting and even proposed allowing buildings to burn rather than spend the money on fire fighters.  However, the Detroit horseshoer remains fully employed . . . even if the city does not have a single horse to shoe.


It turns out that the water and sewerage department for the city of Detroit employs a horseshoer. Efforts to fire the horseshoer have run into problems with the local union president said it is “not possible” to eliminate positions under union rules.

The job is defined as requiring a person “to shoe horses and to do general blacksmith work … and to perform related work as required.” The article below says that the description was last updated in 1967.

A recent study found that the DWSD was bloated and required about twice the number of people to do the work to produce water than Chicago when measured in per gallon production. The study recommended that the department be reduced by a massive 80 percent. However, John Riehl, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207, insists that the department needs more not fewer employees.

By the way, the horseshoer position pays $29,245 in salary and about $27,000 in benefits.

Source: Michigan Capitol

45 thoughts on “Detroit Continues To Maintain Horseshoer Despite The Absence of Horses

  1. The Jonathan Turley blog has been played by a Troll. The author “accidentally” forgot to include the full comments of Brian Hurdling who was the head of the company that studied the operations of the department.

    “All job descriptions would be rewritten to be much broader than current ones to allow more flexibility. Brian Hurding, vice president of EMA, the firm that did the study, said the department had 257 job classifications, including “horseshoer.”

    “We didn’t find any horses,” Hurding said. “That’s the strangest job classification I’ve ever seen.”

    He noted later that the person in the job also was classified as a welder, which was his main job. Under the reorganization plan, the number of job classifications would fall to 31.”

    A half truth is a whole lie. — Yiddish Proverb

  2. “Spending other people’s money is socialist or communist, whatever you want to call it. ”

    Personally, I call it being a personal shopper. Oh, or investment banking, or theft, or having an expense account, or being allowed to pick out your own gift, or having a line of credit, or well you get the idea.

    What I don’t call it is government spending, because once you pay your taxes, it’s no longer your money. It’s the government’s, luckily enough, we get to choose your government, and even become part of the government. This “governments spend other people’s money” is a line of crap, it WAS your money, and then, in exchange for the services the government provides, and the representation in the government you have, you gave it to the government. The grocery store doesn’t spend YOUR money to buy more stock, it spends the money you gave it in exchange for your food. You get the food, it gets the groceries. The same thing applies to society. YOU get all the benefits of living in a first world nation, it gets your taxes.

    At any time you’re free to try and get laws changed, or try and find someplace that has a government more in line with your views. What you’re not entitled to is get very concrete benefits from society and then complain when society wants you to pitch in. Your hard earned money (made possible by all the laws and infrastructure that exists thanks to the government).

    So I don’t accept that what Detroit was doing WAS spending someone else’s money, let alone that that meets the definition of Socialism.

  3. Article doesn’t say what the horseshoer actually does in the absence of horses.

    Presumably there are various bits of junk he repairs as needed and the real problem is the job title ‘horseshoer’.

  4. This is a bullshit, sensationalist article and you should be ashamed for trying to present it as a truth. The job description says “horseshoer” but if you did ANY sort of research at all, you’d realize that the guy making $29K a year (I think we can all agree that’s a pretty modest salary for a skilled trade) is a, you know, BLACKSMITH, at a municipal water department, and he does, oh, basic things like REPAIR TOOLS AND PARTS. We get it: you hate Detroit (probably because you hate black people) and you want it to fail. Loud and clear. However, when you post crap like this, it just makes you look plain stupid.

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