Environment

Up Next: The War of the Regions?

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By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

It’s time to throw away red, blue and purple, left and right, and get to the real and traditional crux of American politics: the battle for resources between the country’s many diverse regions. How President-elect Barack Obama balances these divergent geographic interests may have more to do with his long-term success than his ideological stance or media image. Personal charm is transitory; the struggle for money and jobs has a more permanent character.  read more »

The Change We Need - Part II: Will We Sustain The Current Economy, Or Create A Sustainable Economy?

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Yesterday, Rick Cole discussed the theoretical basis for the most effective kinds of economic change. Today, he provides specific suggestions. – The Editors

No brief outline can do justice to weaving together the potentially convergent strands that compose the key elements of the remaking of the American economy. None of the policy prescriptions here are original, but it is important to see them as complimentary parts of a larger whole:  read more »

The Change We Need: Will We Sustain The Current Economy, Or Create A Sustainable Economy? Part I

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The Change We Need will run in two parts. In Part I, Rick Cole lays out the kinds of changes we need, and why. Part II outlines his specific policy prescriptions.- The Editors

Will this historic election alter the American physical landscape as well as the electoral one? Much will depend on whether the Obama Administration will focus on trying to revive the economy or move to reshape it.

Bold leadership sounds great in the abstract, but embarking on profound changes in the economy is both politically risky and economically daunting. Government, especially the one the new president will inherit, is severely limited in its competence and capacity to reshape the American share of the global economy.  read more »

Two-Timing Telecommute Taxes

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Telecommuting — or telework — is a critical tool that can help employees, businesses and communities weather the current financial crisis, and thrive afterward. However, right now, the nation is burdened with a powerful threat to the growth of telework: the telecommuter tax. This tax is a state penalty imposed on Americans who work for employers outside their home states and sometimes telecommute.  read more »

Appalachia and Energy

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When I think of the energy crisis, I cannot help but think of the poignant story of Martin Toler. A victim of the Sago Mine disaster, he was found sitting alongside his 12 fellow miners in darkness. Deep in the heart of the earth he wrote a note to his family as air and time was running out: “Tell all that I’ll see them on the other side,” read the note found lying beside his body. “It wasn’t bad. I just went to sleep. I love you.”  read more »

Regulating People or Regulating Greenhouse Gases?

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It seems very likely that a national greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction standard will be established by legislation in the next year. Interest groups are lining up with various proposals, some fairly benign and others potentially devastating.

One of the most frequently mentioned strategies – mandatory vehicle miles reductions – is also among the most destructive. It is predictably supported by the same interests that have pushed the anti-automobile (and anti-suburban) agenda for years, often under the moniker of “smart growth.”  read more »

Old Manhattan Had a Farm

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Old Manhattan had a farm
Ee-yi ee-yi O

As a child of the early Sixties, I fondly remember the days when colossal albeit stupid technological projects were fashionable. I remember in particular a cartoon that showed a subway running from the U.S. to China right through the center of the earth. Of course, this brings to mind Thoreau’s quip that, while the telegraph might connect Maine to Texas, would Maine and Texas have anything to say to each other? But the very point of the trans-core subway was its pointlessness. If titanic, useless engineering projects like the Hoover Dam are impressive, then how much more impressive are titanic, useless engineering projects!  read more »

Guzzling BTUs: Problems with Public Transit in an Age of Expensive Gas

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As gas prices inch up toward $5 per gallon, many environmentalists and elected officials are looking to public transit as a solution to higher transportation costs and rising fuel consumption. A closer look at the numbers, however, warrants more than a little skepticism that public transit can fulfill the nation’s energy conservation goals.  read more »

Suburbs Will Adapt to High Gas Prices

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Will high gas prices doom the suburbs? The short answer is no. America’s investment in suburbia is too broad and deep and these will drive all kinds of technological and other adaptations. But the continued outward growth of new suburban housing tracts and power centers is unsustainable.  read more »

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policy: From Rhetoric to Reason

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Greenhouse (GHG) gas emission reduction has moved to the top of the public agenda. Virtually no field of public policy will escape being examined through the prism of this issue.  read more »