David Gregory: ‘Why Not Bail Out Detroit?’ [Video]

NBC’s David Gregory is in the news over something he said again. This time, the Meet the Press host was grilling Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder over the possibility of a federal bailout for the city of Detroit.

Ever since Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy last week, Governor Snyder has been saying that he will not provide state assistance to the city, and that a governmental bailout is not the answer.

“The bankruptcy is about the unfunded portion of the pension liability—which is still significant, I don’t want to underestimate it—but the funded piece is safe,” he told Gregory.

Gregory changed the subject, comparing the city of Detroit (the largest city to declare bankruptcy and seek federal aid) to various auto companies that the fed bailed out several years ago.

“The role of federal government is an obvious question here,” he said. “The federal government has intervened when the auto companies needed a big bailout. You go back to the 1970s and that famous headline of the New York Daily News when New York was in trouble: ‘Ford To City: Drop Dead.”

Gregory argued that the city of Detroit is facing less debt that auto companies, and that bailing out the city would be relatively easy… and cheap.

“You had $80-plus billion that flowed to the auto companies when they needed help,” Gregory said. “Now you’ve got a total debt in Detroit of $18 billion. Is there not some money that should be available, even from that initial bailout money to the auto companies, to help the cities?”

But Snyder’s response seemed to suggest that Gregory was missing the point. Detroit doesn’t just need money, they need to change things from the ground level, he implied.

“I’m not going to speak for the federal government,” Snyder said. “I view they can be an important partner in solving problems…but this isn’t just about writing checks.”