Councilwoman Watson: Obama should bail out Detroit after election support

Since Detroit overwhelmingly supported President Obama’s reelection last month, Councilwoman JoAnn Watson suggested today he should return the favor with federal funds to save the city from bankruptcy.

“Our people overwhelmingly supported the president, and there should be a quid pro quo,” Watson told council members during an emergency session on the cash crisis. “I think the federal government should come in. … Why not?”

Watson hinted that Mayor Dave Bing should lobby the president for the money, which she said would avert an undemocratic state takeover that would only worsen the city’s plight.

“The honorable Mayor Coleman Alexander Young went to Washington D.C. and came home with the bacon,” Watson said. “That’s what you do.”

Federal bailouts of municipalities aren’t unheard of. New York City avoided financial collapse in 1975 when President Gerald Ford essentially loaned the city up to $2.3 billion. The U.S. Treasury earned roughly $40 million in interest.

In recent years, the federal government also bailed out banks and two of the domestic automakers.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.