Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fifty Largest cities graduation rate

The chart in today's WSJ shows Detroit at the bottom of the 50 largest cities with a graduation rate of 24.9; San Francisco is near the top with 73.1.

However, about 5 years ago the WSJ published an article, "Curse of the Creative Class" about creativity and entrepreneurship. There was a "Bohemian Index" created by one Richard Florida which showed that cities with a large gay population, many forms of entertainment and high tech companies, i.e., "the no-collar workplace" were very attractive to upwardly mobile knowledge workers and the "culture class." Guess who was at the top of that index? San Francisco, of course. The article continues about where the real growth was:
    In 2001, a National Commission on Entrepreneurship study entitled "Mapping America's Entrepreneurial Landscape" ranked U.S. cities on how well they hatch high-growth companies. . .

    Among major cities, Detroit--omitted from Mr. Florida's most creative cities--finished second in the commission's report, incubating about 50% more fast-growing companies than the average of all major cities, with a particular strength in nurturing high-growth manufacturing businesses. . .

    The city that sits at the pinnacle of Mr. Florida's list, often jokingly referred to as the "People's Republic of San Francisco" because of its socialistic political culture, is the perfect example of what happens to cities that follow this heavy-handed governing philosophy. While San Francisco sports taxes higher than all but a few U.S. cities, and passes laws forcing business to boost wages, San Francisco's jobs economy has expanded at only one-fourth the rate of the national economy over the past 20 years.

    Similarly, high-tax New York has been caught in a cycle of boom and bust that has produced no net job growth in 40 years. During the mid-1990s, the city briefly got back to basics when the Giuliani administration focused on fighting crime and cutting some taxes and spending, and--presto!--for the longest period since World War II, the city's economy outpaced the nation's. However, now that the city's political culture has veered sharply to the left again, with a mayor who declares that taxes don't matter to businesses or residents, New York is once again an economic slacker, having lost 200,000 jobs, or nearly 6% of its jobs base, in the current recession.
So isn't that odd. Detroit with a dismal graduation rate seems to be an incubator for manufacturing, and San Francisco with its over regulated vegans and heavy handed government, can't catch a break on growth.

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