Blogs

The Chicago Machine’s Favorite After School Charity

One of the great scams of modern political life is the charitable contributions of tax-exempt foundations associated with politicians.  A perfect illustration is one charity associated with former Chicago Mayor Daley which has received some attention.  read more »

Subjects:

Housing Bottom? Not Yet.

Weakness in housing activity and in housing prices continues to be a major drag on the overall economy. My colleagues at California Lutheran University's Center for Economic Research and Forecasting have long maintained that the home ownership rate (HOR) needs to fall back to its historical norm of 64% before housing can recover. Their view has been that the attempt to increase the HOR by loosening credit standards contributed to creating financial instability.  read more »

Suburban "End-Times" Reality Check

The Atlantic's Alex Madrigal announces "The Beginning of the End for Suburban America," a wish and hope long dressed-up as reality by a well-placed few who believe that the "be - all and end - all" is living anywhere but the suburbs. This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with living in the core urban core if that is what one wants to do.  read more »

Obama's New $50 Billion Infrastructure Stimulus --- Old Wine in New Bottles

President Obama's new $50 billion infrastructure initiative --- part of his $447 billion American Jobs Act (AJA)---offered no surprises. It's almost an exact replica of his FY 2012 budget request which included a sum of $50 billion for transportation to "jump start" a proposed $556 billion six-year surface transportation reauthorization.  read more »

Major Texas Metro Areas Are Confirming Failures in Rail Transit

Despite the success of the Main St. line, I've been concerned for a long time now that the next set of rail lines will essentially bankrupt Metro while providing minimal benefit (except for possibly the Universities line, which has moderate benefits, but may not get built anytime soon because of the money drain of the other lines being built first).  Now the Coalition On Sustainable Transportation (COST) has come out with the numbers from other cities (especially Dallas) that don't bode well for Houston at all.  read more »

Urban Densities Exclude Rural Areas: Avent Postscript

We recently noted that Ryan Avent was one third right in his recent Sunday New York Times article on urban density. Avent has posted a response suggesting that it is inappropriate to use average urban densities in urban productivity analyses, as we had done, but that "weighted average densities" should be used instead. Weighted average density was not mentioned in his New York Times article.  read more »

Avent on Cities: Understanding Part of the Equation

Ryan Avent hits a home run, strikes out and earns a "yes, but," all in the same article ("One Path to Better Jobs: More Density in Cities") in The New York Times.  read more »

The Economist: The Great High Speed Train Robbery

The Economist magazine has called on the British government to cancel plans for the HS-2 high-speed rail line that would run from London to Birmingham and Manchester. The Economist said:  read more »

Interactive Graphic: Job Growth by Sector for all Counties in the Nation

The fully interactive map below indicates job growth and decline for all US counties from 2006 to 2011. These show up as hot or cold spots; red for growth, blue for decline. You can select a state to zoom in on and find a county that way, or simply click on a county to drill in. Once you’ve chosen a county, the table under the map will show you job numbers by industry category.  read more »

Infrastructure Bank: Losing Favor with the White House?

Eighteen months ago, on January 20, 2010, a group of influential politicians, accompanied by a large coterie of representatives of the Washington transportation community, gathered at the Capitol to urge Congress and the Obama Administration to create a "National Infrastructure Bank" to help finance infrastructure investments. The speakers included all the well-known advocates of the Bank: Pennsylvania’s Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), author of an Infrastructure Bank bill (H.R.  read more »