Harrisburg Mayor Thinks God Will Fix the Economy June 22, 2011

Harrisburg Mayor Thinks God Will Fix the Economy

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is in some economic trouble:

According to a recent analysis from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development, Harrisburg is likely to end the year with a nearly $3.5 million deficit in its $58 million budget, and things are only expected to get worse.

By 2015, the deficit is likely to be $10.4 million, which will eat up about 16 percent of the city’s general fund budget.

“The City of Harrisburg is facing a direct, immediate and grave financial crisis,” the [Department of Community and Economic Development] wrote in a massive 422-page analysis of the government’s perilous condition. “The financial crisis is so severe that the City teeters uncomfortably on the verge of bankruptcy that could be triggered at any moment by parties outside its control.”

So what’s Mayor Linda Thompson doing to fix the problem?

She’s taking a page from Texas Governor Rick Perry‘s book and pandering to her gullible religious base while doing nothing to improve the city’s financial situation at all.

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.

“Things that are above and beyond my control, I need God,” Thompson told WHTM TV, the region’s ABC news affiliate. “I depend on Him for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That’s why it’s really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer.”

She a phone call away from experts at the Wharton School but she’s counting on an invisible friend for guidance?

Harrisburg, you’re fucked.

The deficit problems aren’t simply “above and beyond” anyone’s control. They happened because of poor decision-making by previous Harrisburg leaders.

Jeff Cox at CNBC explains:

Harrisburg’s financial problems are multi-pronged but stem primarily from a disastrous 2003 incinerator project that was supposed to be a revenue driver but instead ended up costing millions in cost overruns and malfunctions. As a result the city still owes $220 million on the bond issue. The debt service on that project alone is $18 million per year, which amounts to nearly one-third of the entire 2011 budget.

… irresponsible public spending combined with crippling fixed costs and an inability to grow have sent Harrisburg’s leaders to their knees in search of spiritual guidance — and perhaps a little extra generosity from the collection plate.

Unless God signed off on that incinerator, it’s a man-made problem that requires tough decisions to be made by the current leadership.

Praying to a god to fix everything is the coward’s way out. Thompson should just admit she’s ineffective and doesn’t know what to do.

She’s the same mayor, by the way, who led her staff in prayer to “forgive” former grants manager Stover Clark because he didn’t accept Jesus as his savior.

This is precisely why you shouldn’t vote for overtly-religious people for public office.

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  • “Things that are above and beyond my control, I need God,” Thompson told WHTM TV, the region’s ABC news affiliate. “I depend on Him for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That’s why it’s really no struggle for me to join this fast and prayer.”

    Then resign from public office and make way for someone who is able to make decisions and take control.

  • Anonymous

    Harrisburg, you’re fucked.

    If I was in a position to do anything about it, I’d try to get her yanked. Three days of fasting? She’s a fanatic, and perhaps not all that well.

  • Apparently god didn’t know how to balance a fucking check book to begin with.

  • Did you see the recent Bill Mahar’s “New Rules” episode?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS9RD19X6pk

    I’m not much for quoting comedians in political discourse (I prefer my sources to be a little more credible), but in this case, I think it’s fitting. My favorite line is when Mahar said something to the effect of “if our official government policy in dealing with crisis is ‘YEE-HAW! Jesus, take the wheel!'” then we’re dead already.”

    Honestly – these people scare the crap out of me.

  • lurker111

    “Unless God signed off on that incinerator, it’s a man-made problem that requires tough decisions to be made by the current leadership.”

    I thought God was all about incineration …

  • The law should be changed so that anyone who thinks that prayer works over action should be forced to go see a pastor or priest instead of a doctor.

    That’s definitely one way to cull the herd.

  • Your post title is a bit inaccurate – I would suggest striking the word “Economy” and replace it with “Budget” instead. The economy is a force beyond most people’s comprehension, so it’s not that irrational (relatively speaking) for religious people to hope a higher power will stabilize it. Hoping that God will clean up their own mess of a budget, on the other hand, is just plain loony.

  • T-Rex

    There should be a way to oust these officials when they make comments like this because it shows they are clearly incompetent. She may as well have said. “I give up because I have no clue how to handle this”. The fact that so many of these corrupt and inept officials get elected time after time is disheartening. Unless people wake up from this stupor they seem to be in our nation is fucked.

  • Claudia

    Thompson and a host of other religious leaders are about to embark on a three-day animal sacrifice and spell-casting campaign to cure the city’s daunting money woes.

    “Things that are above and beyond my control, I need the Gods,” Thompson told WHTM TV, the region’s ABC news affiliate. “I depend on Them for guidance. Spiritual guidance. That’s why it’s really no struggle for me to join this sacrifice and spell-casting ceremony.”

    An only very slightly different situation, and yet it would yield a totally different reaction.

  • Bill

    Slight edit for you, Hemant:

    “This is precisely why you shouldn’t vote for overTly-religious people for public office.”

  • Matto the Hun

    If you really feel like being sad, read the comments in the linked article. Apparently some people think this is a good idea (I guess that’s no surprise somebody had to be idiotic enough to vote this stupid cow into office)… also they blame the imaginary arch enemy of their imaginary friend for their budget woes.

    Shit like this make me feel like Will Ferrel’s character in Zoolander “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills”

  • @ Summer-

    The law should be changed so that anyone who thinks that prayer works over action should be forced to go see a pastor or priest instead of a doctor.

    They already do this. It’s called faith healing.

  • Ibis

    @Matto Can we drop the misogynist slurs? Thanks.

  • Brian Wood

    So when “god”™ doesn’t fix the economy, will
    the eternal anal orifice get excoriated for that failure?

  • Bones

    This problem was obviously caused by witches. We should burn them.

  • Incinerator project? They talked to the wrong supernatural being. Satan would have had that sucker operating below budget with no malfunctions. You go where the knowledge is.

  • Annie

    Can you imagine being given a problem to solve by your boss, and responding with, “It’s too much for me. I’m going to pray about this for a while.” Crazy.

  • Rick

    My prediction is that after fasting for three days, she will come to the conclusion that she needs to ask the Pennsylvania state legislature for a “temporary” bailout.

  • Karen

    Harrisburg obviously voted in the mayor they deserved. Maybe they’ll be a little more cautious next time.

    Sorry for the bad attitude, but I’m losing all ability to fathom why people would vote for such a loser.

  • erger

    a child dies every 5 seconds from starvation, and this woman dares to pray for economic help!? wow… just wow… i mean, even if god was real, it’s still fucking mindblowing.

  • JTorch

    Praying to a god to fix everything is the coward’s way out.

    It’s not a way out, just cowardly.

  • Brian Wood

    Here’s a good site explaining how god helps:
    http://www.whydoesgodhateamputees.com

  • Richard Wade

    Mayor Thompson could save the city a lot of money by hiring preachers (her denomination only, of course) to sit in the fire stations instead of those expensive, well trained firefighters. They could just pray the fires out.

    And why pay those expensive, well trained police? She could just have a couple of her favorite shamans at the police station, calling on God to smite down criminals.

    Is the Susquehanna River flooding Harrisburg? No need for those expensive, well trained engineers and emergency workers, and their expensive equipment. Thompson’s crack team of prayer professionals will part the waters.

    According to the article linked at the bottom of the post, Thompson’s religiosity has done a lot more damage to the city’s staff and budget than just a lame solution of prayer. She has created a hostile work environment for staff members if she disapproves of their religious views or sexual orientation, and she’s been hostile to at least one investor who wanted to bring business to the city, apparently because he’s Jewish. Both Stover Clark and Chuck Ardo resigned because of Thompson’s overt religious and sexual bigotry. Ardo said,

    “After having had a meeting with a developer who I would have to assume was Jewish, the mayor commented loud enough for me to hear that she was unhappy with this guy and the only way he would get what he wanted was if he brought that ‘Israeli money to town.’”

    Oh now I understand. She doesn’t want any Jews, fags or ugh, seculars either on her staff or even bringing business to her town. She wants to purify Harrisburg, not repair its budget.

  • Edmond

    I’d be very curious to know if they “consulted” their god before signing off on the incinerator project.

    If he encouraged and approved of it, and that’s the source of their financial woes, then they SHOULD know who to blame.

  • Defiantnonbeliever

    It’s witches and warlocks I tell yah, build some bonefires! You know how to tell who they are don’t yah? They preach and pray officially/publicly while in office. Perhaps enforcing the separation of church and state would be sufficient to exorcise these demons against democracy.

  • Vanessa

    So glad I didn’t end up moving there for grad school.

  • Awww man, really? Why is my area hitting up on FA for something negative again? Damnitallsomuch Pennsyltucky, get it together!

    And for the record, look into Linda Thompson a little closer sometime. This isn’t her first foray into Batshitcrazytown, USA. She is constantly on the news, locally, and never in a good light. If PA had the ability to remove our elected officials (someone didn’t think our cunning State Constitution all the way through), that crazy whackado would have been removed ages ago!

    Here’s a good place to start: http://judicial-corruption.net/2011/02/rally-to-call-for-harrisburg-mayor-linda-thompson-to-quit/

  • @Mrs. Chili
    I agree. “You don’t need prayer, you need a calculator.” That is so true. As for your other comment about credible news sources, I have come to the conclusion that Bill Maher and Jon Stewart are sadly more credible than most major news outlets.

  • So, what are her success criteria? What does God need to do so that she can feel all warm and snuggly after not eating for three days? What is her control group so that she can knew if her actions were valid, or just inevitable irrespective of what she did?

    We need to know otherwise she’s just a wacky kook.

  • gerard26

    I feel remorse for the citizens of Harrisburg they are being lead by incompetent religious zealots.

  • Jean Derouge

    Jesus saves, Moses invests. GET MOSES! (God won’t mind; she is very busy elsewhere.)