Is Columbus the 'Brokest city in America'? - Mayor responds - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Is Columbus the 'Brokest city in America'? - Mayor responds

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson sent a letter to 'The Daily Beast' Wednesday afternoon demanding they take the article claiming Columbus is the "Brokest City in America" down from their website based "on its inaccuracies and misleading statements."

[Read the entire press release here.]  

Tomlinson also cited the discovery of a partnership between 'The Daily Beast' and Expedia and Hotels.com, two businesses with which the city has been in a five-year long lawsuit to recover unpaid hotel taxes. 

The announcement that Columbus, GA was named the "Brokest City in America" on Tuesday became a joke for many. For others, they felt it legitimized their dissatisfaction with the town.

Mike Daniels, an Economics professor at Columbus State University, told News Leader 9 he decided to run the numbers himself before believing it.  "I went back and I re-did their study. I took their data that they presented. I put it in my computer and re-ran it just to see if they were right.  And, they were not."

Daniels said using their data and their model, the article had the cities in the wrong order.

He spent about 2 hours working the numbers.

He said economists are always in the business of trying to figure out the health of an economic system, but ‘The Daily Beast' went about it the wrong way with the wrong criteria.

He also said the data they used in their study was inaccurate.  The average household income should be about $2,000 more than their number at $36,000. And, their unemployment rate was two percentage points higher than it actually is.

But, he says the biggest problem was the model itself.

"The financial community looks debt to income, what is your percentage of income tied up in debt. So, I created that number and re-ran the analysis using debt to income and unemployment and you get a totally different list," explained Daniels.

"They were trying to make a splash, they did.  Obviously they got the attention of the media, and the mayor, and to be honest, they should get our attention. But, the end result is that you cannot trust what came out of the article," said Daniels.

The original article on The Daily Beast can be found here.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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