Bankrupt U.S. Cities Indicate Nation’s Future
BY JEREMIAH JACQUES
July 12, 2012
When selecting a setting for his nbc sitcom The Office, Executive Producer Greg Daniels decided on Scranton, Pennsylvania, in part because the city is typical. The Emmy-winning show wanted to ridicule American corporate life, and needed a typical American city to let the mockery happen in. Scranton embraced The Office, and has enjoyed nationwide recognition as a result of the hit show’s setting. But now, the former coal town is making headlines for a very different reason.
Last Friday, the city of Scranton sent out paychecks to its employees, as it does every two weeks. But these checks were for amounts significantly smaller than usual because Mayor Chris Doherty reduced all city employees’ pay—including his own—to the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
After sending out Friday’s checks, Scranton had only $5,000 left in the bank and still owed its 400 employees almost $1 million.
Scranton’s police unions, firefighters’ union and public works unions have taken the city to court over the reduced pay, but Doherty says he has no other choice because the city is broke. His planned solution is to immediately raise taxes by 29 percent, and by 78 percent over the next three years. But the council wants the city to instead borrow money to solve Scranton’s fiscal woes.
On Monday, Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis said, “It should be perfectly obvious to every soul on the planet that Scranton is bankrupt. Tax hikes are not the answer. The solution is filing bankruptcy with the hope of killing public union wages and benefits.”