Let Them Eat Pucks


Bread and Circuses” (or bread and games) (from Latin panem et circenses) is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered “palliative.”    From Wikipedia

I was digesting the stuff a few weeks ago and it darn near turned my stomach.  I’ve been reading about how many pensioners in Detroit are soon gonna be subject to some really serious haircuts regarding their retirement benefits and their healthcare.  Now this.

People who worked 30 or 40 years in the City of Detroit are soon gonna find that promises made to them simply cannot be kept.  Were the promises unrealistic?  Yes.  Was believing the promises unrealistic?  Perhaps, but they were made, just like they were made to retirees at General Motors.  “Oh, we’re really sorry, but we have this crisis you see, and well, we’re really sorry.  But hey!  Look over here!  There’s this World Series, or Super Bowl, or reality TV series.  Check it out!  It’ll soften the blow, help ease the pain.”

Mike Ilitch and his ilk are truly disgusting people.  It’s one thing for a person to be in need, to need some assistance from others for a time, but for millionaires and billionaires to take, not ask, for the assistance of folks who simply do not have the money for funds to build playgrounds for their fellow millionaires is beyond ridiculous – it’s really sick.  Rich, white Republicans are evidently no different than poor, black welfare mommas.  If someone else can be abused to my benefit then so be it.  How many Detroit residents, not huge fans of hockey by any means, would, if they had to vote on the matter, help Mike Ilitch fund his latest playground?  Probably none of them.  That doesn’t matter.  The street lights are out, it takes about an hour for a police officer to respond to a call, but dammit, we’re gonna replace Joe Louis Arena.

Look below – the second article – at the quotes on how “investment” in such crap was gonna be a new renaissance for the city of Detroit.  It didn’t work out so well, but that doesn’t stop idiots in Lansing and Detroit from thinking it will this time.  They know it won’t help, but pockets will be lined in the process and all will, at some point, be forgotten.

The NHL just went through a lockout.  How is that gonna generate renaissance-quality revenue to pay off the bonds if it happens again?

What a real mess.  It’s interesting that this stuff hits the news about a week after all the bankruptcy revelations.

I thought America was at least a good decade away from the austerity measures folks in Greece and Spain are dealing with right now, but I was wrong.

Go Red Wings!  Go Tigers!  Go Lions!  Go casinos!

Go away!  Your bread is rancid and your circuses are, well, three-ring pain generators.



Let Them Eat Pucks


Adding insult to injury, the bankrupt city is going to be spending money to build a new arena for a bonafide billionaire. Mike Ilitch – who founded the Little Caesar’s pizza chain and owns both the Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers – and his family have a net worth of $2.7 billion, according to Forbes. The Red Wings are the sixth most valuable NHL franchise. Yet public money is being ponied up to give them a new home.



More Corporate Welfare for Detroit


Back in 2005, my colleague Michael LaFaive compiled a partial list of bold proclamations about projects in the Motor City:

  • Fox Theatre. “Their moving downtown (from the suburbs) was one of the pivotal events in turning things around down here” — Michael Hauser, marketing manager, Michigan Opera Theatre, on renovation of the Fox Theatre and office complex (“Fox Theatre’s rebirth ushered in city’s renewal,” The Detroit News, Sept. 18, 2003).
  • Comerica Park. “Still, the mayor contended that Comerica Park was crucial to Detroit’s comeback, if for no other reason than as a morale boost. ‘Comerica Park will help restore the excitement of urban living that has been missing far too long from downtown Detroit,’ Archer said.” (Gambling Magazine April 11, 2000).
  • Comerica Park and Ford Field. “Ford described the $505 million, two stadium deal reached at dawn Tuesday as historic. ‘It will mean a rebirth for the Lions and the city,’ he said.” — The Detroit News quoting William Clay Ford (“Detroit Comeback,” Aug. 21, 1996).
  • Ford Field. “Twenty years from now when people come downtown, they will look back at this day as the turning point in Detroit’s comeback.” — Deputy Executive for Wayne County Mike Duggan (Detroit Free Press, April 11, 2000).
  • Compuware Headquarters at Campus Martius. “Campus Martius was Detroit’s town square in John Mullett’s 1830 city plan, and officials hope the development project that borrows its name will be the rebirth of the city’s once bustling central business district.” (Detroit Free Press, April 10, 1999).


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