If a city ever needed a shout-out, it’s Detroit. There’s 30% unemployment, rampant budgetary issues, and a crappy football team. You don’t need Chaucer to tell you that idle hands are trouble. The best economic bailout for Detroit? Give that city enough money to hire its residents to
- tear down abandoned buildings.
- learn how to plant and maintain community gardens — and then do it.
- staff the local schools with teachers aids, custodians, and crossing guards who can make the streets safe.
- drive school buses.
- drive taxis for the elderly.
- clean up parks and other public areas.
- clean up brownfields.
- staff health care centers.
- care for feral cat communities in the area (there are tons).
- work in nursing homes and help the staff with outings and events for the elderly.
- work as big brothers/big sisters with kids who need positive role models.
This doesn’t have to be a big government program. You can use a mix of good old fashioned technology and community accountability to ensure that the money is being spent wisely. If you pay people a living wage, these jobs become coveted and relevant to the community’s way of life.
I’m also a big advocate of pay-for-performance, believe it or not. I would pay addicts and felons (who can’t get jobs) to stay sober and stay employed.
So if anyone knows anything good about Detroit, put it in the comments. They need our help.
Also, tell me about the awesome things in your life, this week.