Conservative columnist George Will put Detroit's problems squarely on its citizens with a barely concealed, shriekingly loud dogwhistle. That the citizens of Detroit are to blame for the city's bankruptcy, for poor voting decisions made in the last 60 years, but more insidiously he blames the 'cultural collapse'.
And just to emphasize his dog whistle he brought up the problem of Detroit's feral dog population (a problem of poverty).
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have to take a break. I want to go quickly back to you, Steve, on this question of the Detroit bailout. You, of course, you managed the auto bailout for President Obama. Wrote a piece in the New York Times last week saying he should consider federal assistance.The only 'report' I've found searching for this is on a conservative website where the poster praises Will's courage in 'going there' and calling it what it is.
Jack Lew seemed pretty definitive right there it's not coming.
RATTNER: First of all, there's is a difference between a bailout and somehow rescuing the creditors -- avoiding the whole bankruptcy process and some kind of help. And what I'm thinking about is in the second category.
I recognize Washington is not going to come in and undo this default and pay off the bondholders. But you have got a situation where 80 percent of the pain from this restructuring is being borne by the workers and the retirees if this plan goes through. You have a situation -- where I have read that whole plan, and I don't believe it can solve Detroit's problems. Detroit needs investment, and that's where the federal government and the state, particularly, can and should help.
WILL: Can't solve the problems, because their problems are cultural. You have a city, 139 square miles, you can graze cattle in vast portions of it, dangerous herds of feral dogs roam in there. 3 percent of fourth graders reading at the national math standards, 47 percent of Detroit residents are functionally illiterate, 79 percent of Detroit children are born to unmarried mothers. They don't have a fiscal problem, Steve, they have a cultural collapse.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I find that really insulting to the people of Detroit. I think there is a serious discussion about the future of cities in a time of deindustrialization. But in many ways, Detroit has been a victim of market forces, and I think that what Steve said is so critical, that retirees and workers should not bear this. And this story should not be hijacked as one of about greedy, fiscal, public unions.
WILL: But Steve said he...
VANDEN HEUVEL: And fiscally responsibility.
WILL: But Steve said in his op-ed was the people of Detroit are no more to blame than the victims of Hurricane Sandy, because apart from voting, he said. Well, what did they vote for, for 60 years of incompetence, malcontents, and in some cases criminals.
It's racism. Even if you dress it up by referring to it as 'cultural collapse'.