Economics

Impact of California's Housing Prices on Construction Workers

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This report takes a close look at the impact of California’s very high residential prices on the ability of construction workers — the very people who build our homes — to afford to live within the markets where they are work.

It does so by reviewing the number of workers and pay scales in 50 different construction occupations. It distinguishes between pay levels for all construction workers and those who are in unions. The research separately studies Southern California and the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area since real estate markets are subject to very different forces depending upon their geographic location.  read more »

Escaping the Strait Jacket of "Place"

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We like to think of "place" as something positive, something that sets our patterns of living in a good way, but sometimes those patterns and forms become a strait jacket that keep our communities from evolving and growing. Sometimes you have to throw off that strait jacket, and Seattle, where 150,000 people have moved in the last 20 years, seems to be doing just that.  read more »

Sorry Kids — The Next Energy Alternative Is Not Here, Yet

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The thousands of young climate change activists in more than one hundred countries that played hooky to march to save the climate on March 15th were vague on their definition of “renewables”. The mass hysteria among politicians, the press, and environmentalists is a constant bombardment about renewable energy and the goal of the Green New Plan for a super renewable grid.  read more »

Economics Needed for People-Based Urban Planning: Alain Bertaud Book Review

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Alain Bertaud’s new book, Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities (MIT Press), is particularly timely, because of the rising concern about the challenges facing middle-income households. The broad based affluence that followed World War II brought unprecedented affluence to many millions of people, principally in the high income nations. This also raised the standard of living for people living in or near poverty.  read more »

RTD’s Death Spiral

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Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) has entered what is known in the transit industry as the Transit Death Spiral. Ridership has fallen 7 percent since 2015. This reduces the funds available to operate RTD buses and trains, so RTD has cut service and increased fares to be some of the highest in the nation.  read more »

Chinese Sci-Fi Writers Give Us A Glimpse Into China’s Dystopian Present And Future

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A thoroughly scientific dictatorship will never be overthrown — Aldous Huxley

In contemporary China, it’s hard to know what people outside the party dictatorship think about the future. As in the former Soviet Union, often the best guide may be not in the controlled media or cowed academia, but in the speculative wanderings of writers.  read more »

The Cure for Inequality is More Laissez-Faire

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That means less cronyism and more competition.

“Inequality is not necessarily bad in itself: the key question is to decide whether it is justified.”____ Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

Piketty’s words read like a premise that is only half right, followed by a problematic corollary. Reasonable people will agree that some inequality is not only “not necessarily bad” but also very desirable and very necessary in order to stimulate the economy’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirits. Further, if some inequality is desirable, how much is enough and how much is too much? And who gets to decide?  read more »

San Bernardino Slams Brakes On Big Solar

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The San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors slammed the brakes on big solar projects and highlighted a challenge California could face if it seeks to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.  read more »

Los Angeles Rail: Ridership Decline Estimated at 42 Percent

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The Reason Foundation has just published an important review of transit in Los Angeles County, by transportation consultant Thomas A. Rubin and University of Southern California Professor James E. Moore II. A total of four reports have been released, under the title A Critical Review of Los Angeles Metro’s 28 by 2028 Plan. Links are provided at the end of this article. More reports are to follow.  read more »

The City Of Dallas Needs A Homebuilding Boom To Ensure Economic Success

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While the North Texas economy is booming, the core city of Dallas faces challenges bedeviling other cities: a dwindling middle class, bifurcation into neighborhoods of haves and have-nots, and an emerging home affordability problem.  read more »