Blogs

Housing Price Shifts Vary by US Region

Here's a look at the monthly Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight monthly housing price index by US Census Region. The OFHEO index gives us a little different geographic cut than the popular S&P Case-Shiller Housing Index. We can see the extreme fluctuations in the western US, especially in the Pacific states. These are seasonally adjusted numbers current as of October 2008.  read more »

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Laughing During 'Gran Torino'

Recently, I saw Clint Eastwood’s extraordinary new film, 'Gran Torino' in Hollywood. Set in a declining Detroit neighborhood, the movie chronicles the unlikely relationship retired auto worker Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) forges with his new Hmong neighbors.

Walt is cranky, surly, and bigoted while still possessing a certain rough-edged charm. His dialogue is laced with racist terms and stereotypes that would mandate a lengthy “sensitivity training” seminar if he came of age in a different era.  read more »

Calling Pittsburgh Depression-proof is a Journalistic Felony

A guest-post from Bill Steigerwald in Pittsburgh:

If the New York Times went to Berlin in 1936 to write a story about how that city was "Depression-proof," would it forget to mention that Germany was being run by a bunch of Nazis? If it went to Pyongyang tomorrow would it go ape over that city’s tidy orderliness without noting that North Korea was a totalitarian hellhole? If the Times bureau in Moscow reported on wheat production in Ukraine in 1933, would it overlook the government-designed famine that was killing - oops, sorry, let's not go there.  read more »

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How Much do they Really Drive in Houston?

Our friend Tory Gattis pointed out yesterday at Houston Strategies that conventional wisdom (and the US DoT Federal Highway Administration) are wrong. Quoting a recent report by New Geography contributor Wendell Cox:  read more »

Skepticism Towards Congestion Pricing in San Francisco

If there’s one place in America most likely to adopt congestion pricing, you would think it would be San Francisco. The combination of affluence, deep-seated environmentalism and a tradition of progressive politics would lend itself to adopting the program. But even residents there are skeptical.  read more »

Case-Shiller Index, Housing Price Correction Continues

Today's latest release of the Standard and Poor's Case-Shiller Housing Price Index indicates a continued price free fall across the board. Hyper-inflated markets such as Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, San Diego, and Las Vegas continue to come back to earth. Check out the chart.  read more »

State Budget Woes

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlights the increasingly precarious fiscal situation faced by state governments confronting the ongoing economic downturn. According to CBPP, "at least 44 states faced or are facing shortfalls in their budgets for this and/or next year, and severe fiscal problems are highly likely to continue into the following year as well."  read more »

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Railcars as Economic Indicators

With the nation locked in the firm grips of recession, one indicator of our country’s import demand and manufacturing capacity is being stockpiled in Montana. Just south of Great Falls, along the Missouri River, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Co. is stockpiling flatbed container cars – a lot of flatbed cars.  read more »

Infrasystems Build 21st Century Economies

Infrastructure investment has been a key driver of economic development throughout American history. In our country’s earliest days, the building of canals and turnpikes, followed by construction of railroads, greatly catalyzed expansion and development. Later, investment in electricity and telephone networks facilitated the development of vast expanses of the American landscape.  read more »

Auto Bailout: Follow the Money to House Votes

This probably won't shock you, but MapLight is reporting today that those House of Representatives members voting for the auto bailout received 65% more in campaign contributions from the auto industry than did those who voted against:

House Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor of this bill, 205 voting Yes and 20 voting No (11 not voting). Democrats voting Yes received an average of $74,846 each, about 19% more than those voting No, who received an average of $63,140.  read more »