Opinions clashed on Detroit’s financial collapse during ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos earlier today when Washington Post columnist George Will suggested it was the “culture” causing the problems and more money wouldn’t fix those issues.
After former Obama White House auto czar, Steve Rattner, suggested the federal and state governments should step in with financial investments to save Detroit, Will replied:
“Can’t solve the problems because the problems are cultural. 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. 47 percent of Detroit residents are functionally illiterate. 79 percent of Detroit children are born to unmarried mothers. They don’t have a fiscal problem, Steve. They have a cultural collapse.”
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor for The Nation magazine, immediately took issue with Will’s assessment and shot back:
“I find that really insulting to the people of Detroit. I think there’s a serious discussion about the future of cities in a time of deindustrialization. But in many ways, Detroit has been a victim of market forces, and I think what Steve [Ratner] said is so critical. Retirees and workers should not bear this. And it should not be about greedy public unions and fiscal responsibility.”
Watch the exchange at about the 8:00 mark, courtesy of ABC News: