July 29 2013
George Will was superb on why sending federal $$$ to Detroit is like pouring money down a rat hole yesterday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos:”
“Can’t solve the problems [of Detroit] because the problems are cultural,” Will said. “You have a city, 139 square miles. You can graze cattle in vast portions of it. Dangerous herds of feral dogs roam in there. You have 3 percent of fourth graders reading at the national math standards. Forty-seven percent of Detroit residents are functionally illiterate. Seventy-nine percent of Detroit children are born to unmarried mothers. They don’t have a fiscal problem, Steve. They have a cultural collapse.”
The Obama administration may have realized that it can’t offer Detroit a bailout. But don’t worry: Detroit is still exploring ways to milk the American taxpayer. This is the same sort of failure to take responsibility for actions that has put Detroit into overdue bankruptcy.
In this instance the bankrupt city is likely preparing to simply shift its own unaffordable health care costs to the rest of us. Namely, it is going to move people from municipal health insurance plans to that oncoming train wreck known as ObamaCare.
Yippee! We get to pay for Detroit’s decades of misgovernment and corruption after all!
Here is how the New York Times characterizes the situation:
As Detroit enters the federal bankruptcy process, the city is proposing a controversial plan for paring some of the $5.7 billion it owes in retiree health costs: pushing many of those too young to qualify for Medicare out of city-run coverage and into the new insurance markets that will soon be operating under the Obama health care law.
Officials say the plan would be part of a broader effort to save Detroit tens of millions of dollars in health costs each year, a major element in a restructuring package that must be approved by a bankruptcy judge. It is being watched closely by municipal leaders around the nation, many of whom complain of mounting, unsustainable prices for the health care promised to retired city workers.
Similar proposals that could shift public sector retirees into the new insurance markets, called exchanges, are already being planned or contemplated in places like Chicago; Sheboygan County, Wis.; and Stockton, Calif. While large employers that eliminate health benefits for full-time workers can be penalized under the health care law, retirees are a different matter.
So the municipal governments, which can’t pay the bills they have racked up, simply transfer the burden to the federal government. Given the problems of ObamaCare, however, this may not be a good longer solution. It’s likely to be simply delaying the inevitable, which Detroit has been doing for decades.
Instead of dealing with a problem of its own making, Detroit is looking for a way to send the rest of us the bill. Talk about a culture of rot!
Robert Samuelson has an interesting piece on how Detroit must reinvent itself to survive. Sending you and me the bill doesn't strike me as reinvention.
Thanks to the Daily Caller for recording Will's words.
Hat tip also to the Weekly Standard.