Episode

9/26 Debt That Makes And Breaks U.S. Cities w/ Destin Jenkins

September 26, 2022

Emma hosts Destin Jenkins, assistant professor of history at Stanford University, to discuss his recent book The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City. Emma starts off by re-capping the troubling election results out of Italy showing that Giorgia Meloni and Italy’s far-right parties have most likely held enough seats to form a coalition, bringing Meloni into executive power. She then takes a look at Rep. Nancy Mace heavily implying to Chuck Todd (with no push back!) that Republicans, if they take the House back, will essentially impeach President Biden for no reason, and she may go along with it. Emma is then joined by Destin, and they discuss the origins of his scholarship, namely how he was able to identify the “brick and mortar of inequality” through the 2008 financial crisis and the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit. They then discuss the concepts of emergency managers and control board structures, and how instances of these leadership structures perpetuating, from the Flint water crisis to the bankruptcy in New York City in the 1970’s, show how they served to shield municipal financing from the scrutiny of any sort of democratic or popular input. They then touch on how exactly municipal debt structures work, who decides who is worthy of debt and who isn’t, as well as the prototypes to what former President Trump referred to as “opportunity zones”: federal projects that valued economic growth and opportunity over any semblance of infrastructural benefit to the community. They then get into some specific examples, namely that of San Francisco, and how there are some misconceptions as to the city’s reputation as a progressive bohemia sullied by the influences of Big Tech. Jenkins runs through how, due to the way many of the infrastructural upgrades and projects manifested themselves, San Francisco’s projects mostly affected a wealthier commuter into the city as opposed to a citizen of the city itself. They wrap up the conversation by re-emphasizing how something like budgeting and municipal debt can seem value neutral, when in fact these structural issues like redlining, environmental racism, and others directly stem from these allocations of resources by unelected bureaucrats.

And in the Fun Half, Emma and the MR crew take a look at Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon bravely joking about the kidnapping of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Gainesville Pride center getting vandalized in Florida, Kyrsten Sinema coming out into the open to…talk about her love of the filibuster at the Mitch McConnell Center in Louisville Kentucky, as well as a recap from the House GOP’s agenda rollout in Pennsylvania last week, where a “mama bear” talks about what’s really hurting kids: anti-bullying initiatives, among other “Marxist” plots. Plus, your calls & IM’s!

Check out Destin’s book here: https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo52825170.html

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