Saturday, June 13, 2009

US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive

It seems the Vietnam-era maxim destroying the village in order to save it dies hard. This is nothing more than Obama's spin on FDR's plow under every row, slaughter every other pig. In the Great Depression, while people were starving, FDR destroyed food that could've fed them, in order to create artificial scarcity to drive up prices. Now, as more and more Americans become homeless in the midst of this Greater Depression, Obama will bulldoze many of the 19 million unoccupied homes in America in order to create an artificial housing shortage to drive up prices. Of course, it won't work. If Americans aren't buying homes at their currently deflated yet still overvalued prices, what makes him think higher prices will "stimulate" the economy?

    The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

    Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.

    The radical experiment is the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes Flint.

    Having outlined his strategy to Barack Obama during the election campaign, Mr Kildee has now been approached by the US government and a group of charities who want him to apply what he has learnt to the rest of the country.

    Mr Kildee said he will concentrate on 50 cities, identified in a recent study by the Brookings Institution, an influential Washington think-tank, as potentially needing to shrink substantially to cope with their declining fortunes.

    Most are former industrial cities in the "rust belt" of America's Mid-West and North East. They include Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.

    In Detroit, shattered by the woes of the US car industry, there are already plans to split it into a collection of small urban centres separated from each other by countryside.

    "The real question is not whether these cities shrink – we're all shrinking – but whether we let it happen in a destructive or sustainable way," said Mr Kildee. "Decline is a fact of life in Flint. Resisting it is like resisting gravity."

So much for "hope".