Economics

How Vital Is Transit to Your Region?

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Transit ridership is plummeting almost everywhere, yet officials in many cities are still devising hugely expensive plans for transit projects. One such city is Austin, whose leaders are talking about spending between $6 billion and $10.5 billion on new transit lines (and the final cost always ends up being more than the projections).  read more »

Peer-to-Peer Carsharing: A Peek Under the Hood

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While the media tends to studiously report – and often sensationalize – the latest developments involving Airbnb, e-scooters, and ride-hailing (especially Lyft and Uber), another booming “sharing economy” sector has recently been gaining attention. Peer-to-peer carsharing enables individuals to make their privately-owned vehicles available to others for short periods of time at a fee of the owner’s choosing.  read more »

Making Life Worse: The Flaws of Green Mandates

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“Saving the planet” should be an unbeatable political slogan. Yet consistently the imagined “green wave” mindlessly embraced by most of the media continues to fall short, as evidenced by recent elections in Canada and Australia, as well as across much of Europe.  read more »

Bremerton, Washington: Challenges of an Industrial Town

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Recent statistics from Indeed.com show that Washington, DC, the winner of the HQ2 contest, ranks second only to San Jose in the percentage of high-tech job listings. This tells us that most of the 238 cities that submitted bids --- despite assurance from Amazon --- were never seriously in the running. If mid-sized places like Indianapolis did not really stand a chance, however, what does that tell us about the economic prospects for smaller, more industrial places that have virtually no software companies?  read more »

The New Shame of Our Cities

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A metropolitan economy, if it is working well, is constantly transforming many poor people into middle-class people, many illiterates into skilled people, many greenhorns into competent citizens. . . . Cities don’t lure the middle class. They create it.
—Jane Jacobs  read more »

The Plight of the Midsized Midwest Industrial City

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Bloomberg’s Justin Fox tweeted out a link to this piece from a professor in Peoria, Illinois who left a coveted tenure-track position because he couldn’t bear the thought of living there. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

Trouble for the Bubble Down Under

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In a remarkable and most unexpected outcome, Australia’s conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has retained the country’s leadership at the recent Australian Federal Parliamentary election (18 May, 2019). Morrison’s victory confounded a wide array of commentators, academics, advocacy groups, industry groups, all of the opinion polls, most of the media and a host of fringe political groups who not only predicted victory for the Labor opposition but an emphatic one.  read more »

America Can’t Ignore The Economic Threat Of A Rising China

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In the aftermath of the Communist victory in the late 1940s, the question often asked in Washington was: “Who lost China?” That fueled the McCarthyite inquisition that followed. The question our children might ask is: “Who lost America?”  read more »

Milwaukee Puts Ribbons Over Brooms

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Due to circumstances entirely within the city of Milwaukee’s control, it can’t afford to fix potholes in city streets and it certainly won’t pay to repair the damage to at least 45 cars caused by those potholes so far this year.  read more »

Mayoral Mismatch

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Mayors have had little success in becoming president, with only one big-city chief executive, Grover Cleveland of Buffalo, later governor of New York, actually making it to the White House.  read more »