An Independent Voice That Advocates For The Classroom Educator Without The Corrupting Politics Tied To Our Union And DOE Leadership.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Why New York City Is Not Detroit.
I read the article by "Ed the Apple" and must disagree that the bankruptcy in Detroit is a warning sign for New York City when negotiating with the unions. The differences between New York City and Detroit are like "night and day" and here's why.
Per Capita Income: New York City has a per capita income of $31,500 compared to only $14,200 for Detroit. More importantly New York City's average household income is $56,009 compared to only $25,000 for Detroit. This shows that New York City has more income to spend and is less reliant on government assistance.
Poverty Rate: While the New York City poverty rate is at an all time high of 21% under Mayor Bloomberg, the Detroit poverty rate is an astounding 36% and the unemployment rate is 18%, compared to less than 9% for New York City.
Unfunded Liabilities: Detroit has billions of unfunded liabilities and when 38% of the budget pays
for legacy costs (retiree pensions and health care), it does not leave much for existing City services. By contrast New York City, while under pressure, is only 12% of the City's budget. In addition, New York City has been able to cover the ever escalating legacy costs while Detroit cannot. In fact, New York City has shown a budget surplus every year since 2005.
Economic Future: New York City has experienced an economic boom with tourism at an all time high and the financial industry, while still losing jobs, providing the engine to power the City's economy. Detroit, on the other hand is an economic wasteland with rows oi boarded up houses and long abandoned factories. Furthermore, New York City has a low crime rate and a booming technology sector while most small businesses are fleeing Detroit with its high crime rate, the highestin the nation, where it take an hour for the police to respond to calls for assistance. In the misery index, Detroit finds itself one or two nationally, depending on the methodology.
Vibrant Middle Class: New York City fared fairly well in the recession and are seeing many poverty ridden areas attracting middle class families and singles into the area. Despite the ever widening wage gap under the Bloomberg Administration, the City has maintained diverse middle class communities and has seen housing prices rise that has attracted ever increasing number of middle class families to the City. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Detroit. The middle class is almost non-existent. "White flight" after the 1967 riots was followed by the auto industry leaving and along with them the black middle class. Left was the poor minority class with high unemployment and low wage jobs, many of them living off government benefits to survive.
Public Services: Say what you like about the Bloomberg Administration's policies, "good or bad", for the most part City services for the residents are top notch. Good schools, police, fire, and sanitation are a hallmark for the City. By contrast, city services are almost non-existent as police, fire, and sanitation is cut to the bone and response times are counted by the hours not the minutes. As for the schools? Over 75 schools are closing and the new schools are staffed by TFA recruits, the two year wonders, will take their place. Will the Detroit schools get better when TFA recruits replace the experienced teachers laid-off by the school closings? Yeah when it snows in the Caribbean.
Comparing the problems in Detroit with New York City is like comparing "apples and oranges". While they are both cities, one is losing population while the other is attracting more people, many with the skills that make them productive citizens in a vibrant City like New York. The problems in Detroit should not and will not affect contract negotiations with the City.