|The billionaires' pipe dream in Detroit.|
The Commonwealth of Belle Isle would be home to the finance and insurance industry.
At first blush, the proposal seems absolutely loony. It suggests the South never had to fight the Civil War after all. The confederacy could have just found some real estate developer to buy its 11 states from the North.
But look who's pushing the idea: The ALEC-linked Mackinac Center. Founded by the insurance industry in 1987, The Mackinac receives funding from an interlocking network of front groups supported by billionaires such as the
What's significant about The Mackinac Center is that it coined the idea of the Overton Window. Sourcewatch explains:
... it is designed to provide a spectrum which visualizes policies acceptable to the public with the various ends of the spectrum representing 'unthinkable' policies and the middle representing a policy that would be widely well received by the public. ... The Center advocates action by think tanks and other non-political figures which would "shift the window", bringing policies that would once be thought of as radical or unthinkable into the realm of possibility, allowing legislators to enact them.That may explain why The Detroit News bothered to report on the preposterous Belle Isle proposal on Sunday. The News, after all, is owned by the union-busting Dean Singleton. Perhaps he wants to expand the Overton Window to inclue exemption from taxes and laws for the finance industry.
Here's how the Detroit News spun the story:
As the broken city thinks big and radically about its future, a developer is stepping forward with a revolutionary idea: Sell the city's Belle Isle park for $1 billion to private investors who will transform it into a free-market utopia.
The 982-acre island would then be developed into a U.S. commonwealth or city-state of 35,000 people with its own laws, customs and currency.
City officials are likely to reject the plan. But on Jan. 21, supporters including Mackinac Center for Public Policy senior economist David Littmann, retired Chrysler President Hal Sperlich and Clark Durant, co-founder of Detroit's Cornerstone Schools, will present the Commonwealth of Belle Isle plan to a select group of movers and shakers at the tony Detroit Athletic Club.One thing is certain: If the Commonwealth of Belle Isle came into existence, it would be no utopia for workers.