Affleck: U.S. Should Send Foreign Aid to Detroit

Actor/Director says struggling city needs more taxpayer help.

Oscar-winner Ben Affleck told NBC’s Brian Williams that the city of Detroit would be a more deserving recipient of U.S. foreign aid than the countries currently receiving funds.  Affleck discussed several of his new film roles in an interview broadcast on “Nightly News” Sept. 30, including his leading role in the Batman movie being filmed in Detroit because of its “post-apocalyptic” feel, according to NBC.  

He said of Detroit: “And you know, we get invested in, in nation building elsewhere, and I think sometimes for good or ill, but we have nation building to do at home for sure.”

Waxing nostalgic, Affleck bemoaned: “It’s, it’s really, frankly, I think quite disgraceful that we’ve allowed a great American city that we leaned on in the Second World War to produce our tanks, to produce our planes, to help us in the war effort to now be, you know, um, to lie fallow in the way that, that it does.”

Though Detroit’s downturn in recent years was sobering, what Affleck seemed to forget was that “we” as Americans should not be expected to collectively shoulder the blame for the city’s current economic condition.  Fiscal irresponsibility, out-of-control pensions, big labor inflexibility, government corruption and more contributed to the city’s decline and resulting bankruptcy.

Detroit’s woes were not something “we’ve allowed,” as Affleck suggested, but stemmed from economic factors and local and state policies that Americans in other states bear no responsibility for.  

It is easy to demand the government spend other people’s money on a problem. But Affleck doesn’t appear to be taking his own advice. NBC noted that Affleck continues to focus his own philanthropic efforts on Africa.