The financial crisis of 2008 paved the way for the employment crisis of 2009, which has now paved the way for the upcoming public finance crisis of 2010. Most federal, state and municipal budgets are strained to the breaking point while the economy still has not found its footing. Meanwhile our national politics is obsessed with expensive overhauls of environmental policy and healthcare reform. Our latest policy strategy is an attempt to borrow and spend our way to prosperity, ala Japan of the past twenty years. read more »
If the U.S. were a stock, it would be trading at historic lows. The budget deficit is out of control, the economy is anemic and the political system is controlled by academic ideologues and Chicago hacks. Opposing them is a force largely comprised of know-nothings--to call them Neanderthals would be too complimentary.
Not surprisingly, many Americans have become pessimistic. Two in three adults now fear their children will be worse off than they are. Nearly 40% think China will become the world's dominant power in the next 20 years, as indicated by a recent survey. read more »
By Richard Reep
2009 was ugly. A swirl of dispiriting events stalled over much of the world this year, and Florida was no exception: state depopulation and tourism decline hit the state’s only two legitimate growth industries.
Yet the bad times contain within them some good news. This end of an era meant that economic planners might finally turn to productive industries to generate jobs and revenue, just like the rest of the nation. read more »
Many large American cities are hurting from the recent recession. Unrealistic revenue assumptions based on ever higher real estate prices and sales tax receipts have left cities unable to pay their basic bills. As asset and consumer prices deflate, from a lack of demand, those cities with “sticky” costs – the result of overly powerful unions and excessive business regulations – are stuck in an economic quagmire.
Chicago has become a leading poster child for recent urban economic malaise. With the election of Barack Obama, 2009 was supposed to be a year in which the Windy City basked in glory. read more »
The once unstoppable green machine lost its mojo at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. After all its laboring and cajoling, the movement at the end resembled not a powerful juggernaut but a forlorn lover wondering why his date never showed up.
One problem is that the people of earth and their representatives don't much fancy the notion of a centrally dictated, slow-growth world. They proved unwilling to abandon either national interest or material aspirations for promises of a greener world. read more »
If Brookings' plan for Detroit isn't enough to get the job done, what is?
Turning around Detroit means facing head on the core problems that hobble the region, notably:
• America's worst big city race relations
• A population that is too big for current economic reality
• A management and labor culture rooted in an era that no longer exists and is unsuited to the modern economy
• A tax, regulatory, and political system toxic to business read more »
The Brookings Institution recently unveiled “The Detroit Project”, a plan to revive Detroit, in the New Republic. Brookings' plan has good elements and recognizes some important realities, but also has key gaps. It relies excessively on industrial policy and conventional approaches that are unlikely to drive a real turnaround in America's most troubled big city. read more »
President Obama's quick exit from Oslo and late arrival in Copenhagen suggest he's finally ready to shift focus from Nordic adulation and fighting climate change and diplomacy to fixing the American economy. About time. As former Clinton adviser Bill Galston observed recently, the president needs "to pivot and make 2010 the year of jobs."
White House operatives, as well as the Democrats in Congress, know high unemployment could bring big political trouble next year. But in their rush to create new jobs, policy makers would do well to focus on the quality of jobs created over the next year and beyond. read more »
A Reuters article that was widely picked up around the globe recently raised the question, Are Doctors What Ails US Healthcare? Comparing the New York suburb of White Plains to Bakersfield, California, the article uses the evergreen two-Americas paradigm to discuss disparities in health care. read more »
Barack Obama may be our first African-American president, but he’s first got to stop finding his muse in Scandinavia. With his speech for the Nobel, perhaps he’s showing some sign of losing his northern obsession.
On the campaign trail, Obama showed a poet’s sensitivity about both America’s exceptionalism and our desire to improve our country. His mantra about having “a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas” resonated deeply with tens of millions of Americans. read more »