Economics

California in Danger: Why the Dream is Dying and How We Can Save It

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In the latest report from research and policy organization Environmental Progress, "California in Danger: Why the Dream is Dying and How We Can Save It," Michael Shellenberger highlights the most pressing issues facing California today and how we can solve them. Read an excerpt from the executive summary below.  read more »

The New Opportunity Boomtowns

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A century ago Detroit was a boomtown and Los Angeles a sleepy refuge for sun-seeking Midwesterners. A half-century later, L.A. was the fastest-growing big city in the high-income world, while Detroit was beginning its long tailspin. In the ’70s, New York was the “rotten apple” and seemed destined for further decline. But for the past 20 years it has enjoyed an enormous surge of wealth, as have many of the countries’ dense, culturally creative cities.  read more »

Chicago Is the American Metropolitan Platypus

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"What the hell is going on in Chicago?"

I must admit, when I first heard that statement from President Donald Trump, it angered me. The Donald has said a lot of cringe-worthy things over the years, but this struck a nerve.  read more »

Housing Affordability Drives the Cost of Living

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Housing affordability is what largely drives the standard of living the United States. The 14th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey showed that, in 2016, there was a 0.83 correlation between the housing unaffordability, measured by the Median Multiple (median house price divided by median household income) and the composite cost of living (Note 1) for households entering the housing market in the 107 metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 residents (Note 2).  read more »

Getting On The Road To Republican Resurgence

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In his bitter attack on the new budget agreement, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, stumbled on the reality of his party’s grim identity crisis. Since the Reagan era, the GOP represented a convergence of corporate interests, social conservatives and free market libertarians.  read more »

Confessions of a Rust Belt Orphan (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Northeast Ohio)

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Go to sleep, Captain Future, in your lair of art deco
You were our pioneer of progress, but tomorrow’s been postponed
Go to sleep, Captain Future, let corrosion close your eyes
If the board should vote to restore hope, we’ll pass along the lie

-The Secret Sound of the NSA, Captain Future

 read more »

Rising Car Access Sends LA’s Transit Ridership Falling

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Transit ridership is down in a number of markets, but LA’s declines have attracted a lot of attention – and for good reason. LA has invested billions of dollars in rail transit but has failed to grow ridership, which is still below its 1985 levels. And ridership has actually been falling in recent years, even on the existing core rail lines. (New and expanded lines saw some growth).  read more »

Uber, the “Metropocalypse,” and Economic Inequality in D.C.

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Public transit infrastructure in Washington, D.C. is crumbling. Metro and bus services have been cut. Fares have gone up. And, safety remains a problem. After 40 years of deferred maintenance, poor management, and the lack of decent, long-term funding, the Metro system needs $1.4 billion worth of repairs, and it must close a $290 million budget gap just to continue basic operations. Some call this the “metropocalypse.”  read more »

Dan Gilbert’s Post-Mortem of Detroit’s Amazon HQ2 Loss

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Billionaire Dan Gilbert has posted a lengthy post-mortem on Detroit’s first round loss in the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes.

He pooh-pooh’s the idea that talent was the reason, instead suggesting it was Detroit’s negative reputation.  read more »

Revisiting the "Big Theory" on American Urban Development

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I like to think I've come a long way since the start of this blog nearly six years ago. There are some early things I've written that have become the focal point of my work today, things I tried to tackle but were better left alone, and things I initiated and warrant a deeper look. This post certainly fits in that third category.  read more »