Policy

Pittsburgh & Rochester: Best 2018 International Housing Affordability

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Pittsburgh and Rochester have the best housing affordability among 91 major markets (metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population) in eight nations. Both have a median house price that is 2.6 times the median household income, a measure called the Median Multiple. This is the conclusion of the 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which rates housing markets based on estimates from the 3rd quarter of 2018.  read more »

Will Canada Break Up Over Carbon Dioxide?

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Countries have broken up for very serious reasons like slavery, religious differences and ethnic tensions. But, so far, never in history has a country been at risk of breaking up because of a harmless gas – carbon-dioxide. Canada could, thanks to an ideologically-driven federal government.  read more »

The Middle Kingdom and the U.S. Economy

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In the poker match between President Donald Trump and China’s new all-but-emperor, Xi Jinping, it’s widely assumed that Xi holds the best hand. Yet President Xi’s hand may not be as awesome as it appears, while the United States, even under this very flawed president, may hold some fine cards.  read more »

The Democrats Finally Won the Suburbs. Now Will They Destroy Them?

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The Democratic Party’s triumphal romp through suburbia was the big story of the midterms.

In 2016 the suburbs, home to the majority of American voters, voted 50 to 45 for Donald Trump; this year, 52 percent went Democratic.  read more »

Canadian Families Denied Preferred Detached Houses, Forced into Condos: Survey

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A new poll by Sotheby’s International Realty suggests substantial disappointment among Canada’s young urban families, unable to afford to purchase the types of houses that they prefer. The poll determined that young urban households in Canada strongly prefer detached houses, but they are often “motivated by (financial) necessity to purchases houses, especially condominiums, they do not prefer."  read more »

Emmanuel Newsom?

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A youthful and handsome appearance, the blessings of the autocrats and clerics of our times, and a fawning media — all these belonged to French President Emmanuel Macron just a year ago. He was praised as everything from the “new leader of the Free World” to Europe’s Reagan.

Today Macron’s presidency is adrift, paralyzed by grassroots opposition to his policies — mostly from the middle and working classes — and a popularity rating about half of that suffered by Donald Trump. Is this the fate that awaits our new governor, Gavin Newsom?  read more »

What Will Come After The Era Of Trumpism?

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If this undisguised reality series played by Hollywood rules, it would have already been canceled. The President Trump show has failed to grow its audience, and the reviews, even from the mildly sympathetic, are consistently bad.  read more »

How to Sell Forced Densification to Libertarians

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When cities pass zoning rules (as Missoula, Portland, and many Portland suburbs have done) mandating minimum-density zoning — so that people are forced to either build high-density housing in existing low-density neighborhoods or build nothing at all — libertarians lead the charge against such rules. But urban planners have managed to achieve the same result, and gain the support of some who consider themselves libertarian, by:  read more »

The Past and Future of Latino Politics

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Perhaps nothing will define our future politics more than the dispensation of Latino voters. Once limited to a few states, Latino voters are now an important and growing factor in many parts of the country beyond the Southwest or New York.  read more »

Will Seattle light rail extended to Snohomish County create intolerable crowding on peak period trains in King County?

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Starting in the 1980s, the central Puget Sound region committed itself to a network of four-car light-rail trains having less passenger capacity than the eight-car heavy-rail subway rejected by King County voters in 1968 and 1970, a service territory that included Seattle and Bellevue. The plan back then did not include tracks into Snohomish County to the north and Pierce County to the south. Those two jurisdictions were added to the voter-approved Sound Transit plans beginning in 1996.  read more »