Economics

The Nation’s Worst Transit Agencies

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The Antiplanner has often called San Jose’s Valley Transit Authority (VTA) the nation’s worst transit agency (with some competition from DC Metro). It would be nice, however, to confirm that with hard data. The question is what are the best ways to measure agency performance?  read more »

Russia’s Not-So-Secret Plan To Control The World’s Energy

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If you haven’t been paying attention, and you should have, the balance of power energy-wise has shifted. Today, the U.S.A., Russia, and Saudi Arabia are neck and neck in oil production. The other OPEC countries, Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola, and Algeria together run a close second.  read more »

America’s Future Depends on the Bedroom, Not the Border

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With a historically low unemployment rate, America is running low on workers in everything from high-tech to construction, manufacturing and services as Donald Trump’s stronger immigration policies help raise wages for existing US workers, from the lowest paid to well-paid construction workers, for the first time in decades.  read more »

A What If - The Chicago White Sox and Armour Field

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(In the mid-1980's the Chicago White Sox were struggling on many levels -- to win on the field, to excite a fan base, and to upgrade their old home ballpark. That spurred them to push for a stadium deal either in the Chicago area or elsewhere. The Sox nearly moved to suburban Addison until the promise of a new stadium was narrowly defeated in a referendum, and nearly moved to Tampa Bay until the Illinois State Assembly intervened. That deal brought us the Guaranteed Rate Field the Sox have today, which opened in 1991.  read more »

Class(room) Warfare

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The actress Felicity Huffman—along with 13 other parents charged in the college admissions scandal—entered plea deals last week, putting pressure on actress Lori Laughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, to do the same. Prosecutors are hinting that if Laughlin doesn’t accept a deal she could face 20 years in prison, 3 years of probation, and a $250,000 fine.  read more »

California’s Impending Grid Problem

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Can the California grid handle the charging challenges for the EVs the state is promoting to be on the grid? The knee-jerk reaction to going green as fast as possible has the potential to crash California’s already fragile economy. No one’s even talking about the load it’s going to put on the current grid. The silence is deafening.  read more »

The Philadelphia Revival Story

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My latest piece will be in this Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer but is already available online now. It’s about the nascent revival in Philadelphia over the past decade, and its relevance, or rather lack of relevance, to many other struggling cities in Pennsylvania. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

Clippers Offer A Better Model For SoCal Than The Lakers

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This year’s basketball season, with the collapse of the Lakers and the surprising rise of the Clippers, poses a metaphor for the region. On the one hand, there’s the Laker obsession with the “star system” and impressing outsiders, notably on the East Coast. The Clipper model, reflecting a culture of hard work and teamwork, relies not only on celebrity but the raising of often obscure people into prominence.  read more »

The End of Aspiration

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Since the end of the Second World War, middle- and working-class people across the Western world have sought out—and, more often than not, achieved—their aspirations. These usually included a stable income, a home, a family, and the prospect of a comfortable retirement.  read more »

Candidate of Big Tech

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In the free-form, roller derby race for the Democratic presidential nomination, few candidates are better positioned than California’s Senator Kamala Harris. She is a fresh and attractive mid-fifties face, compared with septuagenarian frontrunners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, or the aging progressive Elizabeth Warren. Part Asian-Indian, part Afro-Caribbean, and female, Harris seems the frontrunner in the intersectionality sweepstakes that currently largely defines Democratic politics.  read more »