Last depression: tent cities. This depression: TARP cities.
Faced with a dwindling tax base, age-old infrastructure, and pension funds that have taken a severe hit, cities are asking for help from Washington.
MarketBeat: In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Friday, the mayors of Philadelphia, Phoenix and Atlanta asked for the creation of a $50 billion fund to spur infrastructure investments as well as for loans to cover unfunded pension liabilities and to address cash flow crunches amidst tight credit markets.
The mayor of San Jose wants $14 billion in help for his city alone!
San Jose Mercury News: Reed created a minor furor Friday when he told an Associated Press reporter he would seek 2 per cent of the bailout, or $14 billion, for San Jose — an eye-popping figure, given that the city’s entire annual budget is $3.3 billion. Reed later told the Mercury News that his remark was “off the cuff,” and based on the fact that the city contributes more than 2 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
Oh, and of course you might as well throw the entire state of Michigan into this pool. The Times profiles Governor Granholm:
Morning: Rev up government workers and ministers at a huge conference in Detroit to cope with expanding signs of poverty. Afternoon: Tell a room crushed with reporters here, in the state capital, why a federal bailout is essential for the Big Three automakers, who are also, of course, residents of her state. Evening: Pack for Israel and Jordan, where Ms. Granholm hopes to persuade companies that work with wireless electricity, solar energy and electric cars to bring their jobs to Michigan.
Whatever else Ms. Granholm, a Democrat in her second term, might once have dreamed of tackling as a governor (she barely seems to recall other realms of aspiration now), the economy is nearly all she has found herself thinking about, talking about, fighting about over the last six years. And Michigan, which has been hemorrhaging jobs since before 2001 and was once mainly derided in the rest of the nation as a “single-state recession,” now looks like an ominous sketch of just how bad things may get.
Bear in mind, actual tent cities aren’t totally a thing of the past. Here’s a melodramatic look at tent cities in Southern California today.
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