Indians fans chanting "Detroit's bankrupt". This is true, but Cleveland can't be far behind.
— P (@Toirtap) August 8, 2013
It will interesting to see if this taunt follows the Tigers around the league.
I will concede the point that — at least this week — the Indians have the inferior ball club. In Wednesday’s game the Tribe had the advantage of a sparking performance by the highly touted prospect Danny Salazar, who struck out ten in seven innings. The Indians took the lead in the 7th inning, lost it in the eight, and sat by while the Tigers chewed through their bullpen until Detroit finally broke through to take the lead for the final time in the 14th inning, winning the game 6-5.
But is it true that Cleveland is not far behind Detroit in the bankruptcy department? Actually, no.
On Wednesday Crain’s Cleveland Business reported that Cleveland has been able to avoid many of Detroit’s mistakes and is on much stronger financial footing. The multiple financial experts they consulted attributed the city’s relative financial stability to it’s long history of conservative fiscal management.
Public finance analyst Kevin O’Brien said,
The big change came after Cleveland defaulted on $14 million in debt in 1978 — the first American city to hit a financial bottom since the Great Depression — and [Republican] George Voinovich replaced Dennis Kucinich as mayor in 1979. In turn, Mr. Voinovich appointed William Reidy, then a partner with the Coopers & Lybrand accounting firm, as finance director.
Ever since, the city has conservatively budgeted and managed its money.
The city also does not face the pension crisis we see in Detroit. Cleveland does not manage their own pension system but is part of the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System managed by the state. Last year the Republican Ohio legislature passed (and Governor Kasich signed) sweeping legislation to reform the state’s pension system, assuring that all its liabilities would be paid within 30 years.
So while we Indians fans would sure like to see our team in the World Series — or at least see them beat Detroit — fiscal responsibility is a pretty darned good alternative.