Daily Ticker

Detroit Goes Begging as Obama Sends Money Overseas

At least one thing seems pretty clear since we learned the Motor City has run out of steam: Uncle Sam will not be offering up any emergency reserves.

Detroit, which has filed for a record-setting $18 billion bankruptcy, will not be getting federal assistance if you believe the rhetoric coming from Washington officials.

This has people debating not just whether or not Detroit should get a bailout (lawmakers coughed up billions for the automakers and banks), but debating more broadly how tax dollars are spent at a time when budgets are tight in general.

Related: Detroit Bankruptcy a “Game-Changing Event,” Meredith Whitney Says

Bloomberg makes this comparison: $323 million in proposed U.S. aid would go to Colombia next year versus only $108 million that will go to Detroit.

Most of the money flagged for Colombia will go to “peace and security.” Meanwhile, Detroit (where it takes almost an hour for police to respond to 911 calls) has an 81 percent higher homicide rate than the South American country, according to Bloomberg.

And Colombia is not even in the top five of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid. National Priority Projects reports that for fiscal year 2013, U.S. funding for foreign countries amounts to $23 billion – the number jumps to $37 billion when you add in our foreign military assistance.

When it comes to cities, former New York lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch points out to Bloomberg that helping cities is a state responsibility. Ravitch has told The Daily Ticker the same thing.

Related: Here's the “Enormous Problem” Facing States: Ravitch

And to be sure, the states get much more money (over 15 times more) than foreign countries at $573 billion (in 2011) – according to the Census Bureau.

The problem is that many states have been struggling with their own fiscal crises and mismanagement, so many struggling cities may not get the help they need (or even the tax dollars they are owed in a timely manner – as this writer can attest having been a local reporter in California back when the state was in a major budgetary bind).

Check out the video to see The Daily Ticker's Lauren Lyster and Aaron Task take on the debate.

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