Conservative columnist George Will on Sunday suggested that "unmarried mothers" had a hand in pushing the city of Detroit into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Former Obama White House auto czar Steve Rattner told an ABC News panel on Sunday that the federal government should provide some help to the city of Detroit because "80 percent of the pain in this restructuring restructuring is being borne by the workers and the retirees if this plan goes through."
"Detroit needs investment, and that's where the federal government and the state, particularly, can and should help," Rattner said.
But Will argued that federal assistance "[c]an't solve the problems, because their problems are cultural."
"You have a city, 139 square miles, you can graze cattle in vast portions of it, dangerous herds of feral dogs roam in there," he opined. "Three percent of fourth graders reading at the national math standards, 47 percent of Detroit residents are functionally illiterate, 79 percent of Detroit children are born to unmarried mothers."
"They don't have a fiscal problem, Steve, they have a cultural collapse," Will added.
"I find that really insulting to the people of Detroit," The Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel shot back. "I think there is a serious discussion about the future of cities in a time of deindustrialization. But in many ways, Detroit has been a victim of market forces, and I think that what Steve said is so critical, that retirees and workers should not bear this. And this story should not be hijacked as one of about greedy, fiscal, public unions. And fiscal irresponsibility."
Watch this video from ABC's This Week, broadcast July 28, 2013.