Policy

The Dark Side of Japan's Bullet Trains

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In 1964, the Japanese National Railways (JNR) was on a roll. The state-owned but largely unsubsidized company had just finished seven years of uninterrupted profits. Moreover, in 1964 it opened the Shinkansen (meaning new main line) between Tokyo and Osaka in time for the Summer Olympics.  read more »

Despite Wishful Thinking, Cities Won't Come Back Without Major Reform

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America’s urban leaders seem to prepare for the post-pandemic future with delusions that everything will go back to the way before the COVID-19 pandemic set in. Nothing can be more dangerous to the prospects for cities; the pandemic and recent rise in crime have created a vastly different prospect for cities, necessitating serious reconfiguration.  read more »

Nor'easters Would Be Disastrous to a Green America

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Wind chills below zero from a nor’easter have hit much of the country.  President Biden’s push to go Green at any cost would leave America dependent on intermittent electricity from wind turbines and solar panels.  This would be an energy disaster.  read more »

The Other California

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California’s coastal urban centers, once the ultimate land of opportunity, suffer notorious traffic congestion, unaffordable housing, and a social chasm defined by a shrinking middle class, a small wealthy sector, and a sizable population seemingly locked in poverty.  read more »

Give Me Paris? -- Or Detroit and Bismarck, Odessa and Midland

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It looks like the early days of the Biden administration are setting up an economic faceoff between the sensibilities of the coasts and the realities of Flyover Country. Or, as an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal put it, "Will Biden Choose Paris Over Bismarck and Pierre?"  read more »

Will COVID Kill Robotaxis?

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One of the victims of COVID-19 may be robotaxis and with them one path towards a future of autonomous vehicles. Before the pandemic, there were two views of how driverless cars would take over the road.  read more »

If Biden Can't Build a Better Economy, America is In Trouble

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Donald Trump’s finally gone, but if Joe Biden wants his return to normalcy to be any more successful than his predecessor’s appeal to greatness, he’ll need to take on the real issues dragging red and blue America down: economic torpor, ever increasing inequality, and policies that diminish people’s prospects of making it into or maintaining their positions in the middle class.  read more »

Now That the Suburbs Are No Longer Evil, When Will They Get More Functional?

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Nothing like an Urban Riot (and a Pandemic) to cause renewed flight to the suburbs. This recalls when I was starting out in 1968, shortly after the riots in Detroit that caused one of the strongest explosions of suburban growth this nation has ever seen. Suburbs are now more diverse, but they are still far from the egalitarian ideal they could envision.  read more »

Woke Politics Are a Disaster for Minorities

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Bill Clinton may have been lionized as the “first black President,” and Barack Obama actually was half African, but no politician in American history owes more to African-American leadership and voters than Joe Biden. His campaign never smoldered, much less caught fire, until he was embraced by South Carolina’s heavily black Democratic electorate.  read more »

Time to Deliver: How Biden Should Respond to the Insurrection

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“The faith that anyone could move from rags to riches – with enough guts and gumption, hard work and nose to the grindstone – was once at the core of the American Dream.” –Robert Reich, economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor

“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” –Dante Alighieri, inscription on the gates of Hell, The Divine Comedy, circa 1321  read more »