In 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy. The city is full of empty factories and dirty streets. Two years ago, when crossing the border from Canada back into Detroit, my family and I commented on the dramatic change in scenery that occurs when crossing this small border. On one side of the border, the streets are immaculate and bright with blues and greens, there are ongoing construction projects, and polite signs telling drivers to, “pull over and take a nap.” On the other side in Detroit, it seemed to me that almost everything was grey and brown. Many of the people crossing the street appeared to be living in poverty.
An article by economyincrisis.org comments that the city looks, “war-torn,” partially thanks to the fact that, “American automakers shipped their jobs to Canada and Mexico.” While Detroit could use economic assistance in its transportation, educational and architectural sectors, what the city really needs is jobs. Perhaps one place that these jobs could come from could be foreign aid.
USAID has lost funding since 2009. While a loss in funding is always an issue, USAID was already understaffed in 2009.
Foreign aid is shown to boost the United States’ economy and create jobs, so why is the countries aid organization losing funding?
USAID is one source of potential in the U.S. job market. If USAID were better funded, it would have the ability to create more jobs and expand in order to have locations to manage and contain those jobs. One city that could perhaps become a place of USAID expansion could be Detroit. In addition, USAID works with many partner organizations in order to help people abroad. If USAID had the economic ability to utilize these partners more often, then the partner organizations would expand as well. This leaves yet another avenue open for expansion into Detroit, or at the very least providing some of the unemployed people there with jobs.
Detroit had an unemployment rate of 24.8 percent in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While USAID expansion could in itself be at least a partial solution to the Detroit job crisis, sending more aid abroad will also be a great solution. AIPAC.org says that “by law, nearly all of U.S. assistance must be spent on American-produced items.” If the U.S. sends more aid, then it will have to open up factories in order to create projects to keep up with the increase in aid. As the aid brings greater numbers of people out of poverty, these aid products will become purchased products.
If more people abroad can afford these products from the United States, then more people will buy them. While these factories may begin as “aid” factories, they will in the end boost the American economy. The United States was once an industrial giant and Detroit was in some ways at the center of the industry.
Perhaps the solution is to return Detroit back to its roots and get the empty “war-torn” factories running again.
– Clare Holtzman