I'd been to Gary, Indiana before. In April 2009, when the Obama fiscal stimulus had just begun, the city's mayor had told me that all the city needed was $400m of stimulus money in order to "fly like an eagle and make our country proud".
To put this in context you have to know that Gary, home to what is still US Steel Corp's biggest plant, is suffering from one of the most advanced cases of urban blight in the developed world. Its city centre is near-deserted by day. The texture of the urban landscape is cracked stone, grass, crumbled brick and buddleia.