Economics

Cronyism and its Scapegoats

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Cronyism destroys trust and assigns the blame to scapegoats of its own creation.

Only a fiercely committed left or right-winger would fail to recognize that there is today a social and political divide that does not easily fit within the traditional mold of left vs. right. If, loosely speaking, the left leans socialist and the right leans capitalist, there is a third branch, cronyism, that is characterized by the rising power and wealth of rent-seeking industries and individuals.  read more »

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Where Small Town America Is Thriving

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Big city America has long demonstrated a distaste for its smaller cousins. This sentiment has, if anything, intensified with the election of President Donald Trump, whose improbable victory was made possible by strong support in small cities and towns across the country.  read more »

Why We Should Fix It First with Infrastructure

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My latest column is now online in the March issue of Governing. It’s called “A Tip for Infrastructure Builders: Fix It First.” Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

Working-Class People on the Snowfields: Class at the Winter Olympics

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The combination of renewed interest in Tonya Harding (due to the film, I, Tonya) and the winter Olympics made me think of class and sport lately – especially sports that involve snow and ice. Although winter sports might be considered quite ordinary for some who live in very cold climates (such as Norwegians), most require expensive equipment and travel.  read more »

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

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