Prayer fails to save Harrisburg, PA from bankruptcy. Are other cities next?

Who would have guessed that prayer, rather than math and wise decisions, wouldn’t work?

If all the brightest minds in Harrisburg’s government can’t solve the city’s financial problems, maybe God can.

That seems to be the thinking in Pennsylvania’s capital city, where Mayor Linda Thompson and a host of other religious leaders are about to embark on a three-day fast and prayer campaign to cure the city’s daunting money woes.

Now that Harrisburg has filed for bankruptcy, the question is whether this is the beginning of a trend or an isolated event. Meredith Whitney believes this could be the first of possibly hundreds, though others are less convinced.

At this time there are lot more questions than answers, but what is certain is that the economic crisis is far from over.

Pennsylvania’s capital has authorized a bankruptcy filing, making the city the nation’s highest-profile municipality to acknowledge that it can no longer handle its burdensome debt.

Harrisburg’s city council authorized the measure Tuesday after the government spent the past year and a half trying to find a solution to its $300 million debt crisis.

Harrisburg has become something of a national poster child for government debt run amok. Banking analyst Meredith Whitney has cited the city as an example of why perhaps a hundred or more municipalities across the country would default on their debts, causing hundreds of billions in damages.

Whitney’s forecast has yet to materialize as municipal bonds actually have done quite well this year, and her call is receiving increased criticism in the financial community.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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