President Obama’s former car czar, Steven Rattner, now says that federal taxpayers should bail out the entire city of Detroit. In a Friday op-ed for the New York Times, Rattner writes, “neither the state nor the federal government has evinced any inclination to provide meaningful financial assistance. That’s a mistake. 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.”
Except, of course, that the citizens of Detroit have voted repeatedly for the same politicians who got them into this mess over and over. But Rattner continues, “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?”
The big problem with this proposal is that it puts the burden on federal taxpayers for bad local decisionmaking. But that doesn’t bother Rattner: “Given the depth of Detroit’s hole, no one should doubt that one of the important principles of the auto rescue — shared sacrifice by creditors, workers and other stakeholders — should be maintained.”
The only problem is that the sacrifice is consistently made by taxpayers, not by those who make policy or benefit from it.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).