The new liberal talking point making the rounds today is that President Obama wasn't talking about the city of Detroit when he boasted about preventing bankruptcy during his re-election campaign in 2012; rather, he was talking about the auto industry. That's convenient.
This "clarification" says a lot about the voting population Obama was looking to reach with the bailout -- that is, the labor unions, not the residents of the city. And it's certainly not the message Obama sent voters when he openly criticized Mitt Romney for suggesting the federal government "let Detroit go bankrupt."
But after successfully overseeing the transfer of $80 billion from the federal government to General Motors and Chrysler, former "car czar" Steven Rattner now insists "we have to step in and save Detroit." Its residents are just innocent "victims,"he says:
No one likes bailouts or the prospect of rewarding Detroit’s historic fiscal mismanagement. But apart from voting in elections, the 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs, and eventually Congress decided to help them.
America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility. Government does this in so many ways; why shouldn’t it help Detroit rebuild itself?
I'm really intrigued by liberals' renewed calls for a Detroit bailout -- you know, because pouring federal dollars into the city has worked so well over the last five decades. Tom Bray, former editorial page editor for The Detroit News, has observed:
Detroit, remember, was going to be the 'Model City' of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, the shining example of what the 'fairness' of the welfare state can produce. Billions of dollars later, Detroit instead has become the model of everything that can go wrong when you hook people on the idea of something for nothing - a once-middle class city of nearly 2 million that is now a poverty-stricken city of less than 900,000.
Reason.tv offers more context: