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Automakers could pony up cash to save DIA art

by: Eric B.

Tue May 13, 2014 at 11:34:46 AM EDT


Not so long ago, if you can believe Teh Twitters, Kevyn Orr, Snyder-appointed strongman in the city of Detroit, told legislators that if they don't kick in to help the city, he might be forced to hold a fire sale of city assets to pay off creditors. Does this sound like a soft form of extortion? You can chalk it up to out-state legislators saying that years of neglecting urban policy and investing in communities by state government had no ill effects on said communities and that Detroit should pull itself up by its own bootstraps, even if it creates lots and lots of pain.

To everyone else, including the Big Two, saving the art and preserving pensions is a good idea in its own right.

Detroit's Three automakers are considering making significant donations to the Detroit Institute of Arts worth potentially millions of dollars as part of a "grand bargain" to help the city of Detroit exit bankruptcy and protect city-owned art and public pensions.

A person briefed on the matter said at least one of the automakers was asked to contribute $25 million. It's not clear how much General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler Group LLC are considering donating, but it is sizable.

It is, of course, ridiculous that it's come to this -- squeezing cash from the state because the same Wall Street that defrauded global finance off the cliff thinks it's entitled to profit from Detroit's misery. But, at least it's being done for a good cause. The question is whether our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect can pursue the best interests of the state or if their individual parts are so motivated by selfishness, greed, a banal worldview and general stupidity to let it all slip through their fingers.

Eric B. :: Automakers could pony up cash to save DIA art
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