Blogs

The State of Illinois’ Long Term Decline

Barack Obama’s home state is in the news but not for positive reasons. Fitch downgraded Illinois debt. At the end of March, according to the Bond Buyer:

Fitch Ratings late Monday downgraded Illinois’ general obligation rating one notch to A-minus and warned of possible further action by leaving the state’s credit on negative watch ahead of $1.3 billion of short- and long-term GO issuance in three deals over the coming weeks.  read more »

Let's Not Fool Ourselves on Urban Growth

There has been a lot written lately about the return to the city. I’ve noted myself how places like central Indianapolis have reversed decades of population declines. That’s exciting. And the New York Times, for example, just trumpeted how “smart growth is taking hold” in America.  read more »

What Seneca Falls Can Learn from Toronto

One of the most enduring myths in public policy is that local government consolidations save money. The idea seems to make sense, and most of the academic studies support the proposition. However, rarely, if ever, does the promised reduction in public expenditures or taxes actually take place.  read more »

The Harvard $7 Per Gallon Study: Missing the Point Completely

A new study by researchers at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University suggests that President Obama’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal will require gasoline prices of from $7.15 to $8.71 per gallon by 2030. This is not only untrue, but also represents a “roadmap” to economic and environmental folly.  read more »

Sydney: Choking in its Own Density

The Daily Telegraph reports that air pollution is getting worse in Sydney, with one in ten days rating “poor” in 2009. Critics of the ruling Labor state government claim that increasing air pollution and the lack of public transport are the cause. They are half right.  read more »

Over-Charged and Under-Stimulated

As we reported in July of last year, Goldman Sachs and other US bank bailout success stories are reaping big dollar benefits from the “nebulous world of public-private interactions.” Goldman Sachs – somehow always first in line for these things – even got transaction fees for managing the Treasury programs that funded the bailouts.  read more »

Anti-Smart Growth Governor Wins Primary

There are many factors and issues that go into winning a political campaign, and the ones swirling about the Texas Republican Primary were numerous. Incumbent governor Rick Perry cruised to an easy victory over sitting U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and activist Debra Medina on Tuesday to set up a general election showdown with former Houston mayor Bill White, a Democrat.  read more »

Recessions Destroy Lives

Thursday a man flew an airplane into the Austin, Texas, IRS Building. The Left claimed he was a “Tea bagger,” their vulgar term for Tea Partiers, apparently because he was anti-government. The Right claimed he was a whacky leftist, apparently because he was critical of Bush. A Muslim group claimed he was a terrorist, apparently because he wasn’t a Muslim.

They all miss the point, and quite frankly, the attempt to make political points out of personal tragedy is pretty disgusting.  read more »

Obama Throws Life-Line to Smart Growth Areas

President Obama has announced a special program of assistance for home owners in the five states that have been hit hardest by the housing crisis. The proposed program is targeted at California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, where house price declines are more than 20% from the peak of the bubble.  read more »

Norfolk Light Rail: Expensive Rising Tide

The Virginian Pilot reports that the cost of the Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach-Norfolk metropolitan area) “Tide” light rail line has now escalated to nearly $340 million. This is up nearly one-half from the estimates made when the project was approved by the Federal Transit Administration. According to federal documentation, the line will carry 7,100 daily passengers in 2030.  read more »