Economics

California Can’t Afford To Be An Economic One-Trick Pony

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For the past decade, the soaring stock prices and nosebleed valuations of Silicon Valley’s IPOs and unicorns has been a boon for California, helping create a record budget surplus of almost $22 billion.

Yet this bonanza has occurred just as the state’s overall job creation, once among the country’s leaders, has slowed to a more middle of the road status, well below the rates for key competitors such as Nevada, Arizona, Washington State and Texas.  read more »

The Stockton Sandwich

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I just spent a few days in Stockton, California visiting old family friends. They’re a recently retired Lutheran pastor and his wife who relocated from Southern California and returned to their hometown. Being lifelong members of the church has many benefits, but making lots of money isn’t one of them. They run a lean operation and found a modest three bedroom two bath fixer upper for $195,000 and proceeded to do almost all the renovation work themselves.  read more »

Ranking the Best & Worst Transit Agencies

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The nation’s worst-managed transit systems lose 65 cents for every dollar they spend on operating costs, fill only 42 percent of their seats, carry the average urban resident just 40 round trips per year, use more energy and spew out more greenhouse gases per passenger mile than the average car, carry fewer than 14 percent of low-income workers to work, and lost 4 percent of their customers in the last four years.  read more »

Judenrein Europe

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Some people go their whole lives without seeing a ghost; me, I see them all the time.

Detective Bernie Gunther in Phillip Kerr’s Greeks Bearing Gifts

Last month the German commissioner for “Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Antisemitism” used his impressively titled office to advise German Jews against wearing kipahs in public. The commissioner’s response to a surge of anti-Semitic violence in his country was a sheepish acknowledgment that Germany is once again a dangerous country for Jews. And as Germany goes, so goes Europe.  read more »

Is There A Future For Transit-Oriented Development in Orange County, CA?

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California was once a state of great builders, and its legacy of grand construction projects remains plenty visible today. Major infrastructure investments like the California Aqueduct enabled the sprawling metropolises of the Southern California desert to thrive, becoming some of the most prolific economic and cultural centers in the world. The Golden State pioneered highway construction, linking its cities with each other and the rest of the nation. And perhaps the most iconic symbol of California, the Golden Gate Bridge, was a remarkable civil engineering feat of its time.  read more »

What Do the Oligarchs Have in Mind for Us?

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There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific
dictatorship should ever be overthrown.
~Aldous Huxley,
Brave New World Revisited

The recent movement to investigate, and even break up, the current tech oligarchy has gained support on both sides of the Atlantic, and even leapt across the gaping divide in American politics. The immediate concerns relate to such things as the control of key markets by one or two firms, the huge concentration of wealth accruing to the tech elite and, increasingly, the oligarchy’s control over and manipulation of information pipelines.  read more »

China's Urban Crisis

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China stands as the primary exhibit of twenty-first-century urbanism. At a time when elite cities in the West barely manage to grow in population, Chinese cities have emerged out of virtually nothing, as hundreds of millions of people have moved from farm to city.  read more »

As United States Divide, the Green New Deal Could Be Democrats’ Undoing in 2020

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If next year’s election is a referendum on Donald Trump, you can hand power to the Democrats now. But fortunately for the president, and the Republican Party, politics remains more about interests than personalities.

More than by cultural memes touching on race, gender, and even taste, the United States are divided by where we live and how we make our living. America, after all, is a vast country and its remarkable economic diversity is what makes it so dynamic and capable against all competitors.  read more »

What Is Social Justice?

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Perhaps no issue more motivates progressive activists than social justice. Good intentions may motivate the social justice warriors, albeit sometimes sprinkled with a dollop of self-hatred. But good intentions do not necessarily produce good results. Indeed, often the policies favored by progressive idealists hinder the economic and social progress of the very people they seek to rescue.  read more »

The Populist Dilemma

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The recent upsurge in support for populist conservatives, not only across Europe, but in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and even India has inspired talk of “a nationalist revival” and “the cosmic magnetism” of Donald Trump and Brexit. Here, it is argued, is a movement that finally can take on both the Green-oriented and increasingly authoritarian left.  read more »