We’re seeing a lot of debate in Washington about what is commonly referred to as the "national debt ceiling." This post is an attempt to shed some light – and provide some good resources for further information – on what this really means. National debt is not the total future obligations of the federal government to pay. It is basically all the public debt (like Treasury bills) plus money we owe to other governments – in other words this ceiling only puts a limit on how much the federal government can borrow, not on how much they can spend. read more »
Paul Krugman really doesn’t like the possibility that there is a structural shift in employment, because it weakens the argument for the massive Keynesian spending spree he’d like to see the government initiate. To that end, he published this piece on his blog February 13th. read more »
It is always encouraging to see greater objectivity in the treatment of the suburbs. In fact, the urban form includes not only the urban core, but also the suburbs and economically connected rural areas and exurban areas that are beyond the urban footprint. This fact has often been missed by some urbanologists who imagine no city extends beyond the view on the foggiest day from a central city office tower. read more »
The widely dispersed opposition to proposals for high speed rail (genuine and faux) led Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to say that the Administration would press forward in a patchwork fashion if necessary. read more »
Vice President Joe Biden announced today a plan to spend $53 billion over the next six years on passenger high-speed rail projects that will help reach the goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years. read more »
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is looking like a prophet now. In late October, the Governor cancelled a new tunnel across the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City, because of the potential for cost overruns, which would be the responsibility of New Jersey taxpayers. By that point, the cost of the tunnel had escalated at least $1 billion to $9.7 billion. read more »
"Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail." With this ringing statement in his State of the Union address, President Obama injected new hope into the flagging spirits of high speed rail advocates. Predictably, spokesmen for industry associations, progressive advocacy groups and other stakeholder interests praised the President’s goal as a symbol of his renewed commitment to support investment in infrastructure. But hardly any one we spoke to at the TRB meeting took the President’s ambitious goal seriously. read more »
Remember cigar-smoking union leaders, those portly white guys who sat around the pool at AFL-CIO conventions in Miami Beach?
We called them the “old guard” and blamed them for allowing what looked at the time to be a very foreboding decline in union density, power and influence.
When I started in the Labor Movement in the 1980s, the struggle to replace that generation with smart, progressive and militant leadership was well underway. read more »
Could these awful events in Tucson really forge a national “cooling off period?”
Many would make the case that American tragedies are exploited by media and government elites to manipulate public sentiment.
But even if that’s true, I believe there is an American community that grieves, celebrates and grows together.
Despite my dedicated opposition to George Bush, for example, I was moved four years ago by his memorial speech after the Virginia Tech massacre.
Americans look to the president for comfort. read more »
I studied with the Austrian economists at New York University. The Austrian school of economics (as contrasted to Keynesians or Chicago school economists) work with a theory about business cycles that essentially starts from the understanding that what appear to be almost mechanical, regular ups and downs in the economy are actually caused by the periodic disappointment of the expectations of entrepreneurs. The alternative is to suggest that business owners periodically and collective wake up stupid one morning and start making a lot of bad decisions. read more »