Middle Class

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 »

Densification Efforts Like SB50 Are The Wrong Fix To California’s Housing Problem

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For decades California’s regulatory and tax policies have undermined our middle class, driving millions out of this most favored state. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in a drive that seeks to destroy the single-family neighborhoods preferred by the state’s middle-income households.  read more »

The Once-Lucky Country

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Few places on earth are better suited for middle-class prosperity than Australia. From early in its history, when it was a refuge for British convicts, the vast, resource-rich country has provided an ideal environment for upward mobility, from the pioneering ranches of the nineteenth century to the middle-class suburbs of the late twentieth. Journalist Donald Horne described Australia in 1964 as “a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.”  read more »

Our Suicidal Elites

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The French nobility, observed Tocqueville in The Ancien Regime and The Revolution, supported many of the writers whose essays and observations ended up threatening “their own rights and even their existence.” Today we see much the same farce repeated, as the world’s richest people line up behind causes that, in the end, could relieve them of their fortunes, if not their heads.  read more »

The End of Aspiration

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Since the end of the Second World War, middle- and working-class people across the Western world have sought out—and, more often than not, achieved—their aspirations. These usually included a stable income, a home, a family, and the prospect of a comfortable retirement.  read more »

The Opium Of California

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The current frenzy of new IPOs — Uber, Lyft, Slack, Postmates, Pinterest and Airbnb — seems destined to reinforce progressive notions that California represents the future not just for the state, but the nation. It will certainly reinforce California’s fiscal dependency on tech-dominated elites — half of the state’s income taxes come from people making over $500,000 a year — and provide a huge potential multi-billion dollar windfall for the state treasury.  read more »

California's Message: You Built That, Now Get Out!

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The people who build our homes increasingly can no longer afford them. As the state elite and their academic cheering crew celebrate our progressive boom, even the most skilled, unionized construction workers, notes an upcoming study, cannot afford to live anywhere close to the state’s major job centers.  read more »

Direction of Dallas and Urban Growth

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Should the direction of Dallas urban growth continue to grow north? Does inserting low-income housing in North Dallas create an inclusive urban growth direction for Dallas? Does the direction of Dallas and its current goal of moving low-income wage earners closer to higher wage jobs in North Dallas increase or decrease wealth for low-income families? The SMU/George W. Bush Institute Conference, Policies to Promote Inclusive Urban Growth, was a meaningful conference on the direction of Dallas and cities and gave clues to all these questions.  read more »

Cities Point the Way in Promoting Opportunity and Reducing Poverty

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American cities are laboratories of democracy. Their differences in policies and economic patterns shed considerable light on the challenge of promoting upward mobility and alleviating poverty. 

As we have studied America’s top 60 metropolitan areas over the last several months, five – Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Denver, Portland (Oregon), and Omaha – stand out for their success in delivering broad-based prosperity.  read more »

Twilight of the Oligarchs?

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Amazon’s decision to abandon New York City—leaving a $3 billion goodie bag of incentives on the table—represents a break in the progressive alliance between an increasingly radicalized Left and the new technocratic elite.  read more »