Do the Feds Have a Responsibility to Help Detroit?

The federal government has a role to play in the financial crises afflicting cities across America, and most notably of late, in Detroit. Should Washington also play a role in helping them to recover?
July 23, 2013, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"America’s urban communities—and many not-so-urban communities—have for decades been battered by free-trade policies that foster deindustrialization, by tax policies that encourage offshoring, by all the missteps and misdeeds of Congress and successive presidents," says John Nichols. "Washington did plenty to create the crisis. Yet, as Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee notes, 'For too long lawmakers and regulators have stood aside as cities grapple with budget deficits, unfunded pensions and crumbling infrastructure.'”

As it did when the country's largest banks and automakers faced collapse, "[c]ommon sense says that the federal government, which has played a part in undermining the economic prospects of American cities, needs to start playing a useful role," he argues.

"To this end, President Obama and serious members of Congress must speak up about the vital importance of federal interventions not merely on behalf of cities but also on behalf of the people who live in major municipalities that cannot be allowed to fail."

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Published on Monday, July 22, 2013 in The Nation
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