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Detroit a warning for other cities

Updated: 2013-07-31 09:50
( China Daily)

The city of Detroit in Michigan, once the industrial center of the United States and famous across the world as Motown, has filed for bankruptcy protection, although the court has asked it to withdraw its application. The possible reasons for Detroit's decline are its failure as a manufacturing base, over-reliance on the market, rising labor disputes, racism tensions and wealth gap. But the structural defects of the US political system, too, is to blame for Detroit's decline from being the center of the world's automobile industry to almost a ghost town, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

The heavy debts that Detroit has accumulated have a lot to do with party politics that dominates the US landscape. In order to get popular votes and win elections, American politicians have spent huge amounts of money. They have also ingratiated constituencies with welfare policies that are unrealistic and unsustainable. As a result of massive welfare spending, Detroit has run up huge debts that it thinks cannot be repaid.

Besides, after spending huge amounts on welfare, governments usually cut down the funds for municipal construction and public services, especially reducing or stopping expenditure on education and infrastructure.

When it came to helping a "bankrupt" Detroit regain some of its past glory, Republicans and Democrats tried to shirk their responsibilities and, in process, have left the city's residents to fend for themselves.

Some media reports say that Detroit was forced to file for bankruptcy protection because of the political game played out between Michigan's Republican governor and Detroit's Democratic mayor.

Unfortunately, the federal government of the US has not paid enough attention to the plight of Detroit. This is surprising given the huge bailout package offered to the "Big Three" automakers - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler in Detroit - by the US administration just after President Barack Obama assumed power in January 2009. Obama even used the success of the auto bailout package to be re-elected for a second term.

The decision by Detroit to move court for bankruptcy protection has left other US cities mired in debts wondering about their future. The plight of Detroit has also left them brooding over their unfair exploitation under the American political system.

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