From CNN comes the news that the once-great city of Detroit, which recently filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history because of President George W. Bush’s economy (he’s still president, right?), is moving forward with its plan to build a nearly half-billion-dollar hockey stadium for the city’s home team, the Red Wings.
Detroit’s unemployment rate for June was 9.4 percent. The argument that managed to convince Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, not to halt the construction plans is that building an arena for the whitest sport in America in one of the blackest cities in America will supposedly help boost Detroit’s economy and create jobs. Never mind that most of those will be temporary construction jobs. Gov. Snyder’s cognitive functions seem to have been adversely affected by being surrounded by Democrats.
There is one Democrat, State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, who, not realizing what political party she is a member of, actually argued something mostly sensible: “If you want people to live in the city, and not just visit to go to games, you have to invest in schools, in having the police to respond to calls.” (Remember, it takes an average of about an hour for police to respond to emergency calls.) “There are so many investments that should trump a sports stadium.”
Now, while I wouldn’t leave it to a Democrat to appropriate funds responsibly, at least Whitmer sees the absurdity of asking taxpayers to put up $444 million to prop up a city that is only a few technicalities away from being a literal fecal mound, just so that people can watch an occasional hockey game. The citizens of Detroit don’t have the disposable income to spend on such frivolous entertainment. Furthermore, the people from outside of Detroit are not going to want to visit Detroit when such an outing would probably result in their being the victims of a mugging or a drive-by shooting.
Could it be that Michigan’s government realizes there is no hope for Detroit, and so this will be their last big hurrah before abandoning the city altogether? Or could it be something even more conspiratorial? Let’s see—blowing exorbitant sums on a project that you don’t need and that will see no significant return? I think the real story here is that Gov. Rick Snyder is just a figurehead; the true governor of Michigan is actually President Obama.