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Subject: Why support cities? rss

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Scott Russell
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Clarkston
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What is the moral and/or practical case for taxes from state or federal level to be used to improve cities?

If the city is not self-supporting in the long term, why does propping it up make sense?

The specific case that prompted this is Flint, MI who just estimated that it will take $100,000,000 to fix their water system, but they cannot raise that money from the residents. There are several other cities in the same position, but Flint makes a good headline, so it's in the spotlight.

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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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qzhdad wrote:
If the city is not self-supporting in the long term, why does propping it up make sense?
I think any citizen of any depressed city has the belief that someday, in the long term, it will be self-supporting. Can we really make the case that Flint will always be liability? Should it be ghost-towned and left to nature? I'm not being sarcastic either, there are places that should be abandoned because they are a liability to society. Most coastal cities, cities built on fault lines and possibly post-industrial cities that concentrate commerce/people for no productive reason. It's an interesting discussion because society/civilization is changing all the time and what appears to be a liability now, could be a prosperous community at some point.
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Chris
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Holy shit, that much money to fix Flint? Might be cheaper to just move everyone out and start over.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Because do you want to have the citizens of Flint tuning up ruining your town?

Those people are not going to just disappear of cities becoming decaying hell holes, they will move out and raise the house prices in your local town.
 
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Adrian Hague
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galad2003 wrote:
Holy shit, that much money to fix Flint? Might be cheaper to just move everyone out and start over.
That's a drop in the ocean compared to the amounts involved in bailing out the banks after the 2008 crisis (currently stands at 16 trillion USD)

If banks can be bailed out, why not cities? (or am I comparing apples to ferrets here?)
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10/₆
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AdrianPHague wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
Holy shit, that much money to fix Flint? Might be cheaper to just move everyone out and start over.
That's a drop in the ocean compared to the amounts involved in bailing out the banks after the 2008 crisis (currently stands at 16 trillion USD)

If banks can be bailed out, why not cities? (or am I comparing apples to ferrets here?)


Well, banks have economical possibilities of growth in the future, while cities might not. If Flint goes down, what affect will it have on the economy as a whole? If it stays afloat, what affect will it have on the economy as a whole? Might just be a long term liability.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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AdrianPHague wrote:
That's a drop in the ocean compared to the amounts involved in bailing out the banks after the 2008 crisis (currently stands at 16 trillion USD)

If banks can be bailed out, why not cities? (or am I comparing apples to ferrets here?)
No, I think it is a good point. If an investment bank dies a horrible death what really is lost? The death and abandonment of a city seems to have a much uglier downside. If we are going to spend money fixing mistakes, ignorance of the past then we should pick things that actually benefit society the most and are the most cost effective. The odds of a different investment bank taking the place of Goldman Sachs is high, the odds of the abandoned real estate of Flint being anything but a nasty brown field for the foreseeable future is very low. The costs then come into a much better perspective.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Which meso-Amercian civilization was it that running cities into the ground and when they because untenable would just move and build a new one?
 
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Christopher Seguin
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galad2003 wrote:
Holy shit, that much money to fix Flint? Might be cheaper to just move everyone out and start over.


In Centralia, PA the underground mine has been spewing forth methane and/or other gases for some 55 years, and everyone in the town just said "screw it" and moved out.

It essentially became a ghost town, with a few remaining residents and a proposed highway that was never completed.

But Flint is "too large" of a city (when compared to Centralia) for everyone to move out, so the only option is to fix the system? Still, that seems like quite a bit of money. Someone's gotta pay for it!

How's this? Have the federal government use some of the frozen Iranian assets that they have been holding since 1979 to pay for it? Oh, wait...
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Moshe Callen
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Is this supporting cities per se or supporting the people in the city?
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Bimmy Jim
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Who manages the 'bailout' money? The city?

"Hey guys, let's make our water dirty so the feds will give us some money!"
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J.D. Hall
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slatersteven wrote:
Which meso-Amercian civilization was it that running cities into the ground and when they because untenable would just move and build a new one?

I believe that was the United Kingdom....

Why support cities? We had this argument back in the 1970s and 1980s when New York City almost went broke. Everyone said fuck 'em back then, but realized that actual living human beings (not just month-old fetuses) lived there. I hesitate to mention the whole "social contract" thing, but it does seem appropriate (to me at least).
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jeremy cobert
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qzhdad wrote:
What is the moral and/or practical case for taxes from state or federal level to be used to improve cities?


The practical case is that the Democrats need voters. If people leave these monetary plantations, they may become self sufficient and realize they don't need the government handouts.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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jeremycobert wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
What is the moral and/or practical case for taxes from state or federal level to be used to improve cities?


The practical case is that the Democrats need voters. If people leave these monetary plantations, they may become self sufficient and realize they don't need the government handouts.
And whoes land will tehy take?

The cattle fares, the golf course and country clubs or the estates of the enormously rich?

You cannot become self sufficient without land to grow food.
 
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J.D. Hall
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jeremycobert wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
What is the moral and/or practical case for taxes from state or federal level to be used to improve cities?


The practical case is that the Democrats need voters. If people leave these monetary plantations, they may become self sufficient and realize they don't need the government handouts.


And here's how the Republicans respond.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/us/critics-see-efforts-to-...

So let's see -- one party attempts to clean up lead contaminated water and is assisting the GOP-lead state government in treating people exposed to dangerous chemicals. The other party not only passes legislation making it harder for poor people to vote, it then sends the cops out to shake down minority voters.

"Monetary plantations" -- that's funny. Does it matter that Flint was once of the most productive places on the planet when it came to automotive manufacturing, and that the town almost died when GM et al outsourced their work to other countries where workers are given trash wages? No, I guess it doesn't. As a "manly man," you blame the folks in Flint for being there in the first place.
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Damian
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qzhdad wrote:
What is the moral and/or practical case for taxes from state or federal level to be used to improve cities?

If the city is not self-supporting in the long term, why does propping it up make sense?

The specific case that prompted this is Flint, MI who just estimated that it will take $100,000,000 to fix their water system, but they cannot raise that money from the residents. There are several other cities in the same position, but Flint makes a good headline, so it's in the spotlight.

I don't quite understand what you're getting at here. Cities are just arbitrary divisions of people, just as states and even federal is. If your argument is why give tax money from one group to another group, well, that's how taxes work. No one benefits from every tax expenditure.
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Scott Russell
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TheChin! wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
If the city is not self-supporting in the long term, why does propping it up make sense?
I think any citizen of any depressed city has the belief that someday, in the long term, it will be self-supporting. Can we really make the case that Flint will always be liability?


How long do you give it? Remember the movie, Roger and Me? That was in the 80's.

Quote:

Should it be ghost-towned and left to nature?


Possibly, it might be cheaper to move everyone than to fix it.

Quote:
I'm not being sarcastic either, there are places that should be abandoned because they are a liability to society. Most coastal cities, cities built on fault lines and possibly post-industrial cities that concentrate commerce/people for no productive reason.


I thought it made sense to move New Orleans to above sea level. We have land that doesn't require constant maintenance. I'm right with you that cities that are in places where they will be knocked down should pay for rebuilding themselves.
 
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Scott Russell
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galad2003 wrote:
Holy shit, that much money to fix Flint? Might be cheaper to just move everyone out and start over.


That doesn't fix Flint, that's just to repair the water system. Currently it's "losing" half the water that comes in. The report on NPR said that this loss is a split between broken/leaking water mains and non-functional meters.
 
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Scott Russell
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AdrianPHague wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
Holy shit, that much money to fix Flint? Might be cheaper to just move everyone out and start over.
That's a drop in the ocean compared to the amounts involved in bailing out the banks after the 2008 crisis (currently stands at 16 trillion USD)

If banks can be bailed out, why not cities? (or am I comparing apples to ferrets here?)


I'd have voted against that bailout, too, if we actually lived in a democracy instead of a plutocracy.
 
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Xuzu Horror
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I'm sure if you pay each of the citizens enough money to force their relocation, most would probably accept, but the amount you'd have to pay would likely have to pay would outweigh the amount above.

Also, if you were evacuating a town, many things would have to be shut down as some structures do not work well without use - thus costing yet again more.

And, as a side note, to if the city itself was forced to burden all of the expenses, one of 2 things would happen, possibly both.

A) The city would try to sue the state/agencies
- Costing all money, but difficult to prove since state/federal laregely have immunity unless gross negligence is shown.
B) The city would declare bankruptcy - leaving residents in a state of emergency and back to the issue of others footing the bill anyway.

State/federal were involved in causing the issue so they should be involved in paying for it. It will look bad if they push back on doing so after contributing to the mess that caused it.
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Daniel Edwards
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Because the distinction between local/city, state and federal government authorities is artificial. It's all the state (in the UK we might say the Crown) and its arbitrary and against the public good to let any particular part of it "go under".

You can chop up any entity into parts that make a profit or make a loss on their own.
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Scott Russell
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whac3 wrote:
Is this supporting cities per se or supporting the people in the city?


It's supporting the people, but by propping up an unsustainable system. Detroit is another example. At one point it was 3.5 million people, it's 800,000 now. Unfortunately, it's also geographically a very large city, so the population density is more like a rural, or possibly suburban area, but they are trying to maintain services like a city and for a per capita cost of a city. (It's not working.)
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Steven Woodcock
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TheChin! wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
If the city is not self-supporting in the long term, why does propping it up make sense?
I think any citizen of any depressed city has the belief that someday, in the long term, it will be self-supporting. Can we really make the case that Flint will always be liability? Should it be ghost-towned and left to nature? I'm not being sarcastic either, there are places that should be abandoned because they are a liability to society. Most coastal cities, cities built on fault lines and possibly post-industrial cities that concentrate commerce/people for no productive reason. It's an interesting discussion because society/civilization is changing all the time and what appears to be a liability now, could be a prosperous community at some point.


I think over time as people generally become richer and populations decline we'll see folks spread out more again, becoming smaller towns and "clusters" of houses with lots of individual spreads scattered about. There will always be a need for cities, but I suspect they'll be smaller and draw more of their immediate resources (food, energy) locally.

It'll take quite a while though...decades if not centuries. Probably happen in North America first, then gradually Europe and perhaps Russia.



Ferret
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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myopia wrote:
Because the distinction between local/city, state and federal government authorities is artificial. It's all the state (in the UK we might say the Crown) and its arbitrary and against the public good to let any particular part of it "go under".

You can chop up any entity into parts that make a profit or make a loss on their own.
I live near a city...no wait it's part of a county...oh no wait it's a unitary authority, Which is a city in all but name.

 
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C Bazler
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Maybe because 100,000 people live there and don't deserve to live with poisoned water. Because many of them are poor and don't have the means or support system to move somewhere else, much less find a job or home there.

This isn't rocket science: their local, state, and federal government promised them (through laws and regulations) clean water and was unable to provide it. It is now the responsibility of that government to fix what it screwed up, not to thrust the financial burden onto innocent citizens (by essentially forcing them to move).

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