Helping Detroit, and others

President Obama must have known a Motor City bailout would go nowhere in Congress


Whether or not President Obama considered a federal bailout of Detroit, he must have known that such a proposal would have gotten nowhere in Congress.

But last week, his administration did the next best thing, cobbling together more than $300 million from existing programs and private funding to assemble a sensible aid package for the city, which is declaring bankruptcy.

Half of that aid is for blight removal, badly needed in a city with tens of thousands of derelict buildings. Big portions of the rest of the money will go to add firefighters and police officers.

The officials who came to Detroit to announce the aid, including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and Attorney General Eric Holder, sensibly avoided getting drawn into a blame game. They concentrated on the only thing that matters: making Detroit a functioning, viable city again.

“We all believe this will be one of the great comeback stories in the history of American cities,” Mr. Donovan said. All Michiganians, and northwest Ohioans, should remember that their fortunes are partly linked with those of Michigan’s biggest city, and hope — for their own sake — that the HUD secretary’s prediction turns out to be true.