News and Commentary

These Are The 5 Worst-Run Major American Cities

Politicians are often far better at campaigning than governing. This is especially true for big-city politicians. Kept in office by loyal constituencies, big-city politicians turn to corruption and nepotism just because they can.

It’s no surprise that America’s metropolitan centers are run predominately by Democrats. Democratic city councilmembers, Democratic mayors, Democratic judges, Democratic prosecutors. You name it. The donkey party enjoys a virtual monopoly over densely-populated urban districts. Many of these urban centers are in dire need of infrastructure development due to years of neglect.

Here are the 5 worst-run major American cities:

  1. Chicago.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably well-aware of the Windy City’s failures. From rampant gun homicide to gang violence to unprecedented high-school drop-out rates, Barack Obama’s hometown is a pit of devastation. The city is suffering as Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushes proposals to declare Chicago a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants. Perhaps city officials should worry about legal citizens of the city before opening its doors to illegals.

The city sits at the bottom of the ranking, according to an analysis of fiscal strength issued by American cities countrywide. The Fiscal Times reports:

The Windy City has become a poster child for financial mismanagement, having suffered a series of ratings downgrades in recent years. Aside from having thin reserves and large volumes of outstanding debt, Chicago is notorious for its underfunded pension plans.

For example, the city’s Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF) reported $4.7 billion in assets and $14.7 billion of actuarially accrued liabilities at the end of 2015, representing a funded ratio of just 33 percent. The actuarial calculations rely on a controversial practice of discounting future benefits at a rate of 7.5 percent, which is the assumed return on the fund’s portfolio return. If a more conservative assumption was employed, MEABF’s liabilities would be higher and its funded ratio lower.

2. New York City.

Liberals love to hold NYC up as a beacon of progressive values. But who knew financial turmoil was a progressive value? Headed by self-styled progressive hero (and former Sandinista-sympathizer) Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Big Apple is now riddled with debt.

Despite a bull market and soaring real estate prices injecting massive tax revenue to the city’s coffers, de Blasio’s city government has been spending recklessly, drying up reserves at astoundingly rates.

Heavy spending has landed the city just above Chicago in terms in terms of fiscal strength, according to a 2015 analysis.

“At the end of its 2015 fiscal year, the city’s general fund reserves amounted to just 0.67 percent of expenditures — well below the Government Finance Officers Association recommendation of 16.67 percent (equivalent to two months of spending),” explains The Fiscal Times. “A city’s general fund is roughly analogous to an individual’s checking account.”

3. Reno.

This one may surprise a few folks. Eclipsed by the bright lights of Las Vegas, the Nevada city has been slow to diversify its economy, relying on gaming and entertainment to generate the bulk of revenue.

As the recession hit and tourist dollars dried up, Reno was left struggling without a contingency plan. While the city’s non-partisan mayor appeared promising, she failed to broaden to scope of business activity and attract more home buyers. Property prices in the city are still stagnated and local businesses continue to board up their doors

According to the 2015 analysis of fiscal strength, Reno landed in the 113th spot (out of 116). Long term obligations as a percentage of total revenues was a staggering 217.54%.

4. St. Louis.

Just a couple miles away from “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” epicenter Ferguson, the Missouri city has been ravaged by bleed over protests and a lack of stability. The city’s police has been questioned and harangued by racial agitators as the city sinks deeper into financial ruin. The stats are deeply worrying.

Citing the PNC Bank 2015 forecast, the St. Louis Business Journal lists some of the challenges the city is up against:

Employment in retail sales has declined for two years, another result of the slow recovery here.

The St. Louis labor force is still 2.5 percent lower than it was before the recession.

Incomes are mostly stagnant, though what little growth there is will likely stay ahead of inflation, for now.

Home sales and building permits lag the national average. “It will take a return to job market equilibrium before buying and building activity pushes prices significantly higher, a condition that is unlikely to hit with any force until 2016,” the report states.

  1. Philadelphia.

The liberal enclave has long been plagued by financial turmoil. A revolving door for ambitious Democratic politicians with their eyes on state and federal office, the city has been utterly neglected over the years. The proliferation of government housing has done little to alleviate the plight of the city’s rising homeless population. Government housing, colloquially known as “the projects,” sits at the center of the city’s drug trade.

According to the, “the Philadelphia metro area was ranked 250th for economic growth from 2013 to 2014 in a survey by the Brookings Institution of the world’s 300 biggest metropolitan economies.”

Despite high public spending, the city has not yet fully recovered from the recession.