Detroit, the new film from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (2009’s The Hurt Locker), is actually three films. The first is a documentary-style dramatization of racial tensions in Detroit in 1967 that led to riots and fatalities. The second film is a horror movie in the style of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The third film is a standard courtroom drama.
Unfortunately, Detroit, which is powerful for its first half hour, sinks under the weight of those
Editor’s Note: The following is Alex Pollock’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the subject of Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems, delivered December 1, 2015.
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Leahy, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today. I am Alex Pollock, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and these are my personal views. Immediately before joining AEI, I was President and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago from 1991 to 2004. I have published numerous articles on financial systems and credit crises, including municipal debt crises.
The government of Puerto Rico, having run a long series of constant budget deficits, has accumulated a very large debt which according to its own statements, it cannot pay.
So the Motor City, through its emergency manager, has submitted to its numerous creditors a plan—still under wraps for now—to deal with its $18 billion debt. It’ll be interesting to learn what they propose to do about investors (screw ‘em, but how badly?); about pension costs; and about the city’s huge unfunded health costs. (Fearless prediction: a transfer of those costs to the feds, either through Medicaid or an ACA Exchange, will have to be part of any deal.) It will also be interesting to see just how the city proposes to pay its obligations going forward. That’s not just…
In "Limited Government and Individual Autonomy" Michael Ramsey joins the discussion in the current Liberty Forum on the Constitution as a Bill of Rights. Scott Yenor reviews in our Books feature this week Mark Brandon's States of Union: Family and Change in the American Constitutional Order: Brandon’s description of marriage and family life reflects a notable narrowing of what “constitutional” means. The original constitutional vision reflected a comprehensive system of how to sustain republican self-government in the long term. Government had its tasks, private institutions including the family had their tasks, and the proper functioning of each depended on the other. From…
The Manhattan Institute’s Steven Malanga is for my money the nation’s best expert on state and local finances, which in these days means mostly debt. His latest piece on the subject, in MI’s must-read City Journal, is here. Yes, Virginia (ok, maybe not Virginia but certainly Illinois and New Jersey) there is a debt crisis. It’s vastly more serious than state and local governments’ fraudulent numbers suggest. State courts have been complicit in the deception, and in the evisceration of constitutional limits on unsustainable obligations.