Economics

Transit’s Declining Importance

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The steady decline in transit ridership, combined with the growth of driving, is revealed in passenger-mile data published by the Department of Transportation. The table below shows changes in transit’s share of motorized travel for the nation’s 25 largest urban areas. Outside of these areas, transit’s share declined by more than 10 percent in Sacramento, San Jose, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, among many others.  read more »

Is It Too Early For Democrats To Give Up On Ohio?

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While Ohio has been trending Republican for more than two decades, electing mostly Republican governors and state legislators, it is not yet fully a red state. If not quite color blind, Ohio remains purple.  read more »

Understanding The Appeal Of Democratic Socialism Key To Defeating It

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In their race to save an unpopular president and their lack of a positive agenda, many Republicans and conservatives increasingly identify the rise of “democratic socialism” as their ultimate, if you will, Trump card. Given the fact that most Americans, particularly older ones, still favor capitalism and are less than enthusiastic about expanding federal power, this approach might work.  read more »

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 »