Confirming International Research: Hudson Tunnel Costs Explode

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 »

The President's Unserious Proposal

"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 »

Labor’s End?

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 »

One of Us

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 »


The Tax Cut that Killed California?

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 »

Chicago Magazine Asks Why Illinois is So Corrupt

Chicago Magazine has an interesting article on the sore subject of Illinois corruption. The article was written by Shane Tritsch who interviews several experts on Illinois political history. There’s no “good old days” of clean government in the Land of Lincoln. Tritsch explains a major reason for Illinois’ historical graft:  read more »


Beyond Grassroots and Into Congress: California High-Speed Rail

While most of the substantial opposition to high-speed rail in California previously came from local government leaders and citizens, primarily in the Bay Area, Congressmen are now taking the issue to the entire country for debate. House Representative Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, introduced H.R.  read more »

Rasputin's Tunnel?

First, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cancelled the proposed intercity and suburban rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan because of the financial obligations its out-of-control costs could impose on the state's taxpayers. Then he delayed the final decision, under pressure from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and other supporters of the tunnel.  read more »

Australian Local Governments Stop Forced Amalgamation

Local government consolidations are often proposed by a wide range of interests, often out of the belief that they will produce more efficient (less costly) governments. Much of the academic literature supports this view. However, the evidence indicates that material savings routinely fail to occur from such amalgamations. The claimed $300 million annual savings in Toronto's megacity quickly became higher costs and a larger bureaucracy.  read more »

The Myth of the Sustainable Public Budget

Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman caused a stir on ABC's This Week, expressing the following view to Christina Amanpour on the recommendations by the leadership of the US Debt Reduction Commission:  read more »