Detroit failed after years of one-party rule (guess which one), mismanagement, and corruption. Businesses closed down. Buildings were left derelict until they were torched for the fun of it. Feral animals roamed the streets as the people fled. After the usual protestations that it would never happen, city officials were compelled to declare the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation's history.
And now, inevitably, Washington comes riding to the rescue.
"We're going to continue to support the efforts under way in Detroit and ensure the federal government is an active partner in supporting the revitalization of the city," said Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council, who has led federal discussions with Detroit on how best to help.
So, asReutersreports, the federal government will be spending public money to rescue a city from the consequences of its own misgovernment and profligacy. And what do we call that, children?
Well, we know what Washington does not call it.
The White House has said since July 18, when the city filed for bankruptcy, that it would try to find ways to help Detroit, while making it clear that a bail-out was not an option.
On the floor of the Senate today, Harry Reid, a Democrat, praised President Obama's auto bailout:
"As a matter of fact, Mr. President, the figures are really staggering," said Reid. "500,000 manufacturing jobs have been added, 1 million jobs have been saved due to the president's auto rescue program. So that's a fairly significant change."
The legislation to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy has been turned into something of a mini auto bailout, according to those familiar with the Obama administration's request. The request includes millions of dollars worth of cars, to be paid for by the federal government.
Obama's request, as detailed in a letter sent to Capitol Hill by the director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, includes these requests:
The auto bailout debate, already a triumph of narrative over reality, took another turn for the absurd last week as both presidential campaigns exchanged salvos over what amounted to a misunderstanding about Chrysler's plan to build Jeeps in China.
In the grand old days before the Irish real estate boom collapsed, the ruling Fianna Fáil party used to campaign the fun way. Infamously, the party held blowout fundraisers every year in a tent at the Galway races. Bankers and property magnates would show up, caked in bling, surrounded by attractive young women and occasionally even their wives, and get drunk with their elected representatives and regulators.
Motor Trend says the Volt has some of the most advanced engineering ever seen in an American car. The Volt can run up to 50 miles in pure electric mode before a backup gas engine kicks in to give it more range.
Frank vowed in February 2009 that he wouldn’t accept campaign donations from banks that received money under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) or political action committees tied to such institutions.
But Frank has hauled in thousands from top execs at Bank of America, Citizens Bank, Wainwright Bank, JP Morgan Chase and other institutions that received billions in TARP money.
Andrew Ross Sorkin has a very interesting column this week examining the signal sent by GM’s purchase of AmeriCredit. The short answer: GM looks like it’s trying to revive the old patterns of demand before the recession. It’s doing so by following some of the same business practices that led to its bankruptcy filing last summer.
Since 2008, the federal government and the Federal Reserve have spent some $3 trillion to secure the financial system and prevent a second Great Depression. What did all this money buy us? A really expensive life jacket.