Obama plan: Colombia to get 3 times more federal aid than Detroit

As Detroit plunges into bankruptcy after six decades of decline, President Obama plans to provide the city with just a third of the federal assistance that he plans to provide the South American country of Colombia.

Sure, Detroit has some of the highest rates of poverty, illiteracy, drug abuse and violence in the U.
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But the federal government also is fighting the endless war on drugs, which means Colombia gets the priority.

Under Obama’s proposal, Detroit wold receive $108.2 million in federal aid, compared to $323 million in Colombia.

Those figures come from a Bloomberg News report this morning that pointed out that the federal government spent $700 billion bailing out banks and automakers in 2008 and 2009, but has distanced itself from the city’s human crisis.

Calls for more funding in Detroit have largely fallen on deaf ears. Obama’s administration and Congress have indicated they would not inject the city with extra cash as services continue to shed.

Some of that blame falls on Detroit officials, who have mismanaged untold millions of federal dollars in the past three years. The city, for example, has been forced to return more than $10 million for failing to meet federal deadlines. And two years ago, federal agencies began yanking tens of millions of dollars from education and poverty-assistance programs like Head Start because of corruption and mismanagement.

“Detroit has been battling their fiscal problems for many years due to decades of fiscal mismanagement and public corruption,” U.S. Representative Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, said in a statement. “I have confidence that the city will rally through this stage and come out stronger on the other side.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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