Economics

More on Columbus, Indiana

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I want to share a few additional thoughts on Columbus, looking at the question of whether things really could have been different in the Rust Belt with different policies. I believe the answer is Yes, with caveats.  read more »

The Rust Belt Didn't Have to Happen

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I knew a number of things about J. Irwin Miller, the former Cummins Engine CEO who financed Columbus, Indiana’s world-renowned collection of modernist architectural masterpieces.  But when I read Nancy’s Kriplen’s recent short biography of him, I learned a lot I’d never suspected. Clearly one of the most distinguished Hoosiers of all time, among other things, Esquire magazine put him on its cover in 1967 saying that he should be the next President of the United States.  That was a pipe dream, of course.  read more »

Is America About to Suffer Its Weimar Moment?

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Is America about to suffer its Weimar moment, culminating in the collapse of its republican institutions? Our democracy may be far more rooted than that of Germany’s first republic, which fell in 1933 to Adolf Hitler, but there are disturbing similarities.  read more »

Amplified Advantage: Why Education is Not the Answer to Our Class Problems

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Thirty years ago, after having dropped out of college after just one term, unable to pay for my dorm room, I was unsure if I would ever leave the working class. Two years later I was a student at Barnard College, an elite small liberal arts college three thousand miles from my parents’ home. To this day, I am not sure how I made that leap, but it was smoothed over by significant financial assistance from the college. Unable to pay for my public university, I was able to graduate from one of the best private colleges in the country virtually debt-free.  read more »

Immigrant Entrepreneurs Drive Main Street's Growth

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In cities and towns in all reaches of America, businesses started by immigrants are critical pieces of the fabric of our economy and communities.

My children attend a Montessori preschool started by an Indian immigrant. Like many, she did not come to this country to start a business. But after multiple college degrees in the U.S. and some years working in corporate America, she opened her first Montessori school. Nearly 15 years later, she owns two schools, employs 100 women, and touches the lives of hundreds of students each day.  read more »

California's Low-wage Jobs Crisis

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Media, the political class and policy wonks have identified the “housing crisis” as California’s existential challenge.

Yet, in reality, more critical may be a “jobs crisis” that is condemning ever more Californians to permanent low-wage purgatory.

Viewed in aggregate, California employment growth in the past decade has outperformed the rest of the country, although the state lags its prime competitors Utah, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Nevada. In more recent years the state has remained ahead of the national average, although clearly losing momentum.  read more »

California Preening: Golden State on Path to High-Tech Feudalism

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“We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta,” declared then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. “Not only can we lead California into the future . . . we can show the nation and the world how to get there.” When a movie star who once played Hercules says so who’s to disagree?  read more »

Afterburn

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Here in California we’ve just received our first rain since last winter after another brutal round of massive forest fires. Our Mediterranean style climate cycles from a long dry hot period to a few short cool wet winter months. October is our most fire prone time of year. It’s hot, the earth is bone dry, the vegetation is brittle, and windstorms stir up fires like a giant hair dryer. Cyclical burns are part of the ecosystem here and are normal and necessary.  read more »

Third World Countries Remain the Losers of Climate Change Activism

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For the poorest in the world there are more things that are far more important to survival than climate change. Third world countries are the big losers of today’s climate activism. Why? Because they still lack purified drinking water, sewage sanitation, adequate nutrition, reliable electricity (or any at all), adequate health care, i.e., the infrastructures and products we take for granted that are all based on deep earth minerals and fuels.  read more »

Report: California Getting In Its Own Way

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Although Governor Gavin Newsom promised to deliver 3.5 million new housing units in eight years, California severely missed this mark: as reported by the Public Policy Institute of California, housing production actually decreased during each of the past 2 years, and in 2019 is on track to fall about 80% short of the annual mark required to build 3.5 million new homes in 8 years. At this pace, it will take 39.6 years for the Governor to achieve his 8-year goal.  read more »