Monday, July 29, 2013

Saving Detroit: A Proposal

If you're standing near a microphone, you'd better get out of the way or be trampled by the mad stampede of public figures rushing to tell the world that, no,  not never, no way will we gave any money to bail out Detroit. 

Okay, but here's a suggestion.  Give 'em the White Sands Missile Testing facility.  Or the Los Alamos Nuclear lab.  Or any other of the array of goodies that flow from the Federal coffers to New Mexico, making New Mexico the biggest net importer of Federal dollars--a taker instead of a maker, as we might say.  Or if you prefer, any of the other 30-odd states who hold membership in the moocher club.  The list includes every single one of the old Confederate states except Georgia (which at least for a while used to pretend it was not rebel territory anyway).  It also includes a veritable who's who of the Republican leadership: Alaska, Utah, Kentucky, Alabama,, Oklahoma (Oklahoma?) and so forth: nothing like Senatorial power, I suppose, to keep the sluice gates open.

This is, of course, nothing new.  It's in the nature of nationhood that the rich parts support the poor parts--just ask the Liga Nord in Italy, or any German who lived through the shower of Deutschmarks that welcomed East Germany home to ein volk.  In the  United States, we generally do it in two ways: one by "federalizing" wealth transfers which in the nature of things flow from one part of the geography to another.  And the other, by doling out military resources: they used to say that Mendel Rivers' South Carolina had so much military hardware it risked sliding back into the Atlantic Ocean (to join, I suppose, the pirate ecology from whence it arose).

Of course, this may be precisely Grover Norquist's point.  It's a crime against nature for  Delaware to feed New Mexico, just as, I suppose, it is an offense for St. Louis to feed East St. Louis, or for Manhattan to feed--well, anybody above the top of Central Park.  Come to think of it, as I walk around my own neighborhood, I'd say the folks over past Sixth Street are looking a little grabby themselves.

Meanwhile, although we don't have separate rankings for cities, I see that the State of Michigan stands fairly high on the "makers" side of the equation--eighth out of the fifty, just ahead of Nebraska.  Even if we aren't going to bail out Detroit, how about smoothing down the distribution, so Michigan gets to keep some of the money they now send to, say, Maine or Maryland, and keep it for the homies?


Joan said...

I just shared this on fb and tweeted it, I think. Yes from East Lansing!

Anonymous said...

It's not about race.