Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 24, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size


They Are Watching You




The Divide


Truthdig Bazaar
The Case for Big Government

The Case for Big Government

By Jeff Madrick
$15.61

more items

 
Ear to the Ground

Camden, N.J.: A Catastrophic Cautionary Tale

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Dec 12, 2013
AP/Mel Evans

A boarded-up building in Camden, N.J., in 2011.

Camden, N.J. is right across the Ben Franklin Bridge from tourist-friendly Philadelphia, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi notes, but it’s nothing like its relatively shiny neighbor city. It’s one of the starkest examples of communities in crisis across the nation—an “un-Fantasy island of extreme poverty and violence” where everyone is scarred in one way or another and few are employed.

Camden’s implosion isn’t just the result of the mass industrial exodus that took once plentiful jobs in shipyards and factories out of the picture—nor is it only the byproduct of the illegal drug trade that cropped up in part to fill that vacuum.

And although the federal government and Wall Street did their bit to plunge Camden into economic chaos, this most recent and acute crisis was brought on in large part by homegrown politicians (here’s looking at you, Gov. Chris Christie) and serves as a bellwether for what could happen in all our backyards—or front yards, for that matter.

Here’s Taibbi’s read on the Camden catastrophe:

It’s a major metropolitan area run by armed teenagers with no access to jobs or healthy food, and not long ago, while the rest of America was ranting about debt ceilings and Obamacares, Camden quietly got pushed off the map. That was three years ago, when new governor and presumptive future presidential candidate Chris Christie abruptly cut back on the state subsidies that kept Camden on life support. The move left the city almost completely ungoverned – a graphic preview of what might lie ahead for communities that don’t generate enough of their own tax revenue to keep their lights on. Over three years, fires raged, violent crime spiked and the murder rate soared so high that on a per-capita basis, it “put us somewhere between Honduras and Somalia,” says Police Chief J. Scott Thomson.

“They let us run amok,” says a tat-covered ex-con and addict named Gigi. “It was like fires, and rain, and babies crying, and dogs barking. It was like Armageddon.”

 

—Posted by Kasia Anderson.

 

More Below the Ad

Advertisement

Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


 
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.