I like this idea from Goldy.
When nature destroys a US city, we open up our hearts and our wallets. But when economic forces beyond the control of local citizens—forces that are the direct result of our nation’s free trade policies—wipe away jobs and savings and even entire landscapes, we turn a collective blind eye. Why?
US taxpayers have spent over $60 billion rebuilding Iraq and nearly $100 billion in Afghanistan, and with questionable results. So what would be so awful about spending $20 billion to help rebuild a major American city?
This! We have lost the notion that we’re all in this together. We have lost the notion that there is a common good. You can lecture about moral hazard, or responsibility, or bootstraps all you want, but we have lost our collective responsibility to help one another out in this country. On the individual level and from region to region.
We have lost the idea that when our policies, quite naturally, produce large swaths of economic losers that it is up to the places that have gained to help out. Much of the country has benefited from free trade, but Detroit has been crippled. It is up to those of us who gained by being able to sell planes, software, and agricultural goods around the world to help the places that have lost their advantage selling cars. We have to be able to help them find out what’s next for them.
While Detroit, or the Midwest, or the rust belt, or however you want to define it is the place currently in trouble, it’s only a matter of time before Seattle’s — or Washington, or the Northwest or however you want to define it — turn comes. That’s how our current vulture capitalism works, I’m afraid. When our hour of need comes, I want us to be able to say to Detroit, “we had your back” and be able to mean it. It’s the moral thing to do and in our long term best interests.