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Four Reasons Philadelphia Isnít Detroit
The Philly Post ^ | 07/22/2013 | Joel Mathis

Posted on 07/22/2013 10:28:25 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

That didn’t take long. I’d barely just heard the news Thursday afternoon that Detroit had declared bankruptcy — the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history — when a challenge to me arrived fresh from the Twittersphere:

@joelmmathis im pretty sure the pple from Michigan would not oppose Detroit seceding from the rest of the state, what do you think?

— Rafalito (@IgnatiusGReilly) July 18, 2013

“Rafalito,” you may gather, is the nom de twit of a rural Pennsylvanian a Philly resident who didn’t much care for my column, earlier this month, proposing that Philadelphia secede from a state that doesn’t realize the benefits we bring to it. Detroit’s bankruptcy, he concluded, provided a trump card in our ongoing debate.

Except it didn’t. Philadelphia isn’t Detroit.

Oh, sure, lots of people look at the cities and think they’re seeing double. Both cities had thriving, union-driven manufacturing bases that crumbled away; both have municipal debt problems, and both have an extraordinary levels of poverty. What’s more, both traditionally suffer from municipal leadership that veers between merely ineffective to devastatingly corrupt. Observers here and around the country have been linking the two cities for years — some, like Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky, have even eyed Detroit’s ruins with a bit of perverse envy.

“Ideas like that are born of a desperation that has not yet gripped Philadelphia,” Stu wrote in 2011, giving his approval to Detroit’s consideration of urban farms to replace empty neighborhoods. “Maybe it should.” Gotta love it when your metro columnists root for the destruction of the town they write about.

But again: Philadelphia — for all its problems — isn’t Detroit. That’s not to say we won’t someday declare bankruptcy, only that the conditions that pushed Detroit over the edge aren’t even close to present here at the moment. A few quick reasons why:

The bond ratings agencies think we’re managing our finances adequately. That’s probably a surprise, given what we know about the pension problems squeezing Philadelphia’s budget. But it’s true: Standard & Poor’s last month upgraded Philadelphia’s general obligation debt from B+++ (half-decent) to A- (decent) for the first time since 1979.

We were never a one-horse town. Detroit, once it became a car-production town, was pretty much only a car-production town — and when the American auto industry largely cratered over the last decade, Detroit lacked the resiliency to survive.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, had a more diverse base of manufacturing (and, for that matter, still does). We had textiles and the Navy shipyard and even machine-making manufacturers — and while most of that stuff is gone today, it disappeared in stages, meaning Philadelphia has never taken the roundhouse knockout blow Detroit has during the last decade.

And S&P? Part of the reason it upgraded the city’s bonds is because of the diversity of rising economic sectors here, including health care, higher education, and services. We aren’t perfect, but we’re diverse, and that’s made us better able to weather the really bad times.

We’re growing. Thanks to births and an influx of international migration, Philadelphia’s population has grown six years in a row. Detroit, meanwhile, saw its population decline from 1.8 million in 1950 to barely a third of that today. And that makes a difference: When you’re trying to run a city built for three times as many people as it actually holds, finding the money to maintain services can be difficult, if not impossible.

Philadelphia’s population also peaked in 1950, and did decline for most of the decades thereafter. But never at the same rate as Detroit — just (!!) a quarter of the population, not two-thirds — not even close. It makes a huge difference, sustainability-wise.

We’re living in a bigger ecosystem. Detroit is situated within 100 miles of just two other “major” cities — Toledo (which maybe doesn’t count) and Cleveland (which does, jokes aside). Meanwhile Philadelphia counts four major cities in that proximity — Newark, Jersey City, New York, and Baltimore—with Washington D.C. just 123 miles away.

It makes a difference. Go down to 30th Street Station any weekday morning, and you’ll find hundreds of Philadelphians waiting to get on a train to New York. They live here and work there, and yes, that means Philadelphia is something of a bedroom community — we’re cheaper than Manhattan! — but it also means we’re not as isolated from, say, New York’s relative economic success. It’s a cushion, and inter-city rivalries aside, we should embrace it.

We’ve got our problems. The murder rate is unacceptable in Philadelphia, the schools must be fixed, and the pension crisis isn’t going away. But by dint of a number of factors — some of them, admittedly, involving luck — this city isn’t in nearly as dire a situation as Detroit. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; US: Michigan; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: bankruptcy; detroit; philadelphia

1 posted on 07/22/2013 10:28:25 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Read the above article as opposed to this:

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/mikeshedlock/2013/04/18/5th-largest-city-in-us-is-effectively-bankrupt-n1571060/page/full

5th Largest City in US is Effectively Bankrupt

You know a city is in deep trouble when its mayor invites Wall Street but not the press and not private citizens to a closed meeting to discuss the future, including a sell-off of city assets.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, whose municipality has the lowest credit rating of the five most-populous U.S. cities, did just that.

My translation: Philadelphia is bankrupt. However, that easily discernible fact will of course be denied until it officially happens.

CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE REST...


2 posted on 07/22/2013 10:29:37 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

wishful thinking?


3 posted on 07/22/2013 10:30:46 AM PDT by GeronL
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To: GeronL

The First 10 City Pensions That Will Run Out Of Money
#2 Chicago...Unfunded liability: $44.8 billion Unfunded liability per household: $41,966 Solvency horizon: 2019
#1 Philadelphia..Unfunded liability: $9 billion Unfunded liability per household: $16,690 Solvency horizon: 2015

Their day in the sun is coming:

http://www.businessinsider.com/first-city-pensions-insolvent-2010-12?slop=1#slideshow-start


4 posted on 07/22/2013 10:31:51 AM PDT by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad & lived with his parents most his life.)
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To: TurboZamboni

bump


5 posted on 07/22/2013 10:33:22 AM PDT by GeronL
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To: SeekAndFind
You know a city is in deep trouble when its mayor invites Wall Street but not the press and not private citizens to a closed meeting to discuss the future, including a sell-off of city assets.

Chicago sold off the cash stream from the right to park a car anywhere in the city for the next 75 years.

Of course, the contract that solemnized that deal is only one Supreme Court decision from becoming "inoperative," but still.

6 posted on 07/22/2013 10:34:13 AM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: SeekAndFind
The unmentioned tidbit here is that Philadelphia annexed the entire Northeast section of the city to fatten it's checkbook. The Northeast section was and remains largely white and jewish.

If the Northeast section was never taken over, Philly would have been Detroit fifty years ago.

Still just a matter of time.

7 posted on 07/22/2013 10:39:51 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: SeekAndFind

translation: Unlike former Detroit Mayors who went to prison, Fast Eddie Rendell was able to insert himself at the highest levels of the Democrat Party to ensure we remained tapped-into those sources of money.


8 posted on 07/22/2013 10:42:11 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: SeekAndFind

Bull. Philly IS detroit.


9 posted on 07/22/2013 10:44:18 AM PDT by Celerity
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To: SeekAndFind
• The bond ratings agencies think we're managing our finances adequately

And those rating agencies have such a terrific track record too.

10 posted on 07/22/2013 10:46:16 AM PDT by shove_it (long ago Orwell and Rand warned us about 0bama's America)
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To: blackdog

RE; The Northeast section was and remains largely white and jewish.

What’s to stop the folks living in the Northeast section from migrating to friendlier climes OUT of Philly?

Most of the productive folks in Detroit did it over a decade ago.


11 posted on 07/22/2013 10:46:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: blackdog

when i left roxborough n manayunk were white.
lots of cops and FD.
also south philly were italians and polish. not so much now?


12 posted on 07/22/2013 10:48:25 AM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Bandstand vs Motown...I’d call it a push


13 posted on 07/22/2013 10:50:01 AM PDT by bigbob
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To: SeekAndFind
Northeast Philly is very blue collar white. The jewish segment which dominated until the 70's moved away with their wealth. Many of the blue collar jewish stayed. The police and detectives in Northeast Philly keep things tight. A lot of ethnic Russians and like have also back-filled the void of those who have left. Once you cross the line into Bucks County, like Croyden, Neshaminy, you hit pretty much the same thing. There are very few cultural divides in that direction.

Now if you head south of Erie Street, you are in peril no matter what color you are.

14 posted on 07/22/2013 10:53:11 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: SeekAndFind

RE: Meanwhile Philadelphia counts four major cities in that proximity — Newark, Jersey City, New York, and Baltimore

And these cities do not have pension and budget problems? I’m not sure that depending on cities with their own hilly-like problems is something to comfort oneself about...


15 posted on 07/22/2013 10:54:25 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: Donnafrflorida
Why did you leave? Your parking brake not hold?

(That's a Manayunk reference that only Philly natives would get)

16 posted on 07/22/2013 10:55:09 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Not only that, Philly has cheese steak, what does Debtroit have?


17 posted on 07/22/2013 11:00:00 AM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class.)
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To: blackdog

North Philly is America’s Mogadishu.


18 posted on 07/22/2013 11:00:12 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: SeekAndFind

The only other thing Philadelphia has going for it is that the business and tourist areas of Center City are relatively safe.

19 posted on 07/22/2013 11:01:23 AM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto
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To: EEGator

W. Wilson Goode had the right idea when he firebombed it and burned down twenty square blocks of it. Urban renewal, democrat style!


20 posted on 07/22/2013 11:02:45 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: EEGator
North Philly is America’s Mogadishu.

That's why I left in 1994. The irony is that I ended up in Memphis, which is only about half as bad as Philly.

21 posted on 07/22/2013 11:05:35 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: blackdog

It could use a MOAB right about now.


22 posted on 07/22/2013 11:06:39 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: blackdog

Memphis isn’t much better is it?

Just less people to murder?


23 posted on 07/22/2013 11:07:23 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: bigbob
"Bandstand vs Motown...I’d call it a push"

Ah, BUT! The kids of Bristol are still sharp as crystal when they do the Bristol Stomp!

24 posted on 07/22/2013 11:11:40 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: EEGator
Memphis is much better, despite it's national recognition. Remember, anything in the south is at a media biased disadvantage.

I live in the midtown area of Memphis, equivalent to Chestnut Hill in Philly. A series of a few three and four bedroom homes, one with a gunnite pool. I rent them out to rich trust fund kids who attend a very high priced university within walking distance. I live in the one in the middle.

25 posted on 07/22/2013 11:13:58 AM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: blackdog

Okay. It sounds like you have it pretty good down there. Make some decent cash, and you get to keep an eye on your places.

Rhodes College?


26 posted on 07/22/2013 11:21:07 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: SeekAndFind

5. They aren’t spelled the same way. I was our fifth grade spelling bee champ.


27 posted on 07/22/2013 11:21:50 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: SeekAndFind

Phillys just a little smarter as their wage tax is higher. The magic bullet wage tax ya know.


28 posted on 07/22/2013 11:27:56 AM PDT by keving (We get the government we vote for)
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To: blackdog

too funny.try going UP green ave.
lost my master cylinder on shawmont ave. age 16.
just got my DL. OMG


29 posted on 07/22/2013 11:53:20 AM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: EEGator

Yep!


30 posted on 07/22/2013 12:10:09 PM PDT by blackdog (There is no such thing as healing, only a balance between destructive and constructive forces.)
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To: GeronL

The fact that the author is bragging about an abysmal A- bond rating is indicative of how low they have sunk.


31 posted on 07/22/2013 12:26:17 PM PDT by expat2
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To: SeekAndFind
I guess not. Philadelphia's Detroit is spelled "C-A-M-D-E-N" and is in another state. Philly does manage to have a more balanced economy, a livelier downtown, and some big-time colleges. Detroit was lacking all those things (sorry, Wayne State).

But even if Mathis is right, he's wrong. Getting into a flame war with an anonymous commenter -- not being able to avoid settling petty personal scores -- is a sign that a media person has no taste and no class.

32 posted on 07/22/2013 12:39:10 PM PDT by x
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To: SeekAndFind
These writers are delusional. Almost every city in America has a government pension time bomb ticking down. Yes, Detroit has suffered abandonment by manufacturers but so has every city. It is the governments that refused to change and adapt. Not only that, those governments were elected by the government unions who campaigned, voted and financed their elections. Boston suffered race riots, had burned out abandoned sections of the city and huge manufacturing losses as well. I grew up in Boston and trust me, Boston of the 70’s is long gone. The government did not rebuild Boston, the people did. Boston's government pension system is in about the same shape as Detroit's. We will even add a casino just like Detroit did. No, we don't have abandoned factories rusting out like we use to but our city government looks the same as theirs. Those unions voted for those elected officials, they created their own mess.
33 posted on 07/22/2013 1:06:48 PM PDT by outpostinmass2
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To: outpostinmass2

The First 10 City Pensions That Will Run Out Of Money

#10 Fort Worth...Unfunded liability: $2 billion Unfunded liability per household: $7,212 Solvency horizon: 2023
#9 Detroit...(already Obamasized)

#8 Baltimore...Unfunded liability: $3.7 billion Unfunded liability per household: $15,420 Solvency horizon: 2022

#7 New York City...Unfunded liability: $122.2 billion Unfunded liability per household: $38,886 Solvency horizon: 2021

#6 Jacksonville...Unfunded liability: $4 billion Unfunded liability per household: $12,994 Solvency horizon: 2020

#5 St. Paul...Unfunded liability: $1.4 billion Unfunded liability per household: $13,686 Solvency horizon: 2020

#4 Cincinnati...Unfunded liability: $2 billion Unfunded liability per household: $15,681 Solvency horizon: 2020

#3 Boston...Unfunded liability: $7.5 billion Unfunded liability per household: $30,901 Solvency horizon: 2019

#2 Chicago...Unfunded liability: $44.8 billion Unfunded liability per household: $41,966 Solvency horizon: 2019

#1 Philadelphia..Unfunded liability: $9 billion Unfunded liability per household: $16,690 Solvency horizon: 2015

http://www.businessinsider.com/first-city-pensions-insolvent-2010-12?slop=1#slideshow-start


34 posted on 07/22/2013 3:49:22 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad & lived with his parents most his life.)
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To: Jimmy Valentine
I hate it when you young-uns get the lyrics wrong. Just like "Nuke" LaLoosh in Bull Durham singing "She may be wooly"

Bristol Stomp refrain goes:
"The kids in Bristol are sharp as a pistol
When they do the Bristol Stomp
Really somethin' when the joint is jumpin'
When they do the Bristol Stomp"

Just Remember what The Orlons claimed:
South Street is the hippest street in town

35 posted on 07/23/2013 4:56:27 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine's brother (01-21-13, Obama declares war on The Constitution of the United States)
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To: SeekAndFind

Yet.


36 posted on 07/23/2013 6:49:35 AM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: Jimmy Valentine's brother

I need to see what “The Geeter with the Heater” Gerry Blavit has to say about that.


37 posted on 07/23/2013 7:05:28 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine (DemocRATS - when they speak, they lie; when they are silent, they are stealing the American Dream)
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To: Donnafrflorida
Without further immigration, ethnic neighborhoods cannot survive. There hasn't been sizable Italian immigration since right after WWII, hence no more "Italian" neighborhoods.

South Philly today is an amalgam of Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexicans, white trash, black trash, and a handful of elderly folks of Italian heritage.

38 posted on 07/23/2013 2:56:59 PM PDT by Clemenza ("History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil governm)
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To: Jimmy Valentine
I think you mean Jerry Blavat - the Geator with the Heator; the Boss with the Hot Sauce; the King of Philly Rock & Roll.

You kids.

39 posted on 07/24/2013 4:41:59 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine's brother (01-21-13, Obama declares war on The Constitution of the United States)
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