Policy

Is the Fever Breaking? Ground Zero Youngstown

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Two years ago, I described the Youngstown area as “crossover ground zero” for Donald Trump and the politics of resentment in working-class and rust belt communities. In local rallies during the 2016 campaign and since he took office, Trump has repeatedly promised an economic renaissance and immigration reform. These issues resonated with local voters.  read more »

The Sordid History of Forest Service Fire Data

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The latest wildfire situation report indicates that about 7.3 million acres have burned to date this year. That’s about 1.2 million acres less than this same date last year, but about 1.5 million acres more than the ten-year average and a lot more than the average in the 1950s and 1960s, which was about 3.9 million acres a year.  read more »

California Must Stop Trying To Stomp Out Suburbia

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We may be celebrating — if that’s the right word — the tenth year since the onset of the financial crisis and collapse of the real estate market. Yet before breaking out the champagne, we should recognize that the hangover is not yet over, and that a new housing crisis could be right around the corner.  read more »

Reconciling a Love for Trains with an Opposition to Subsidies

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As a life-long railfan, I love passenger trains. But as a transportation economist, I hate subsidies for the way they dilute productivity and transfer wealth from the many to the few. Thus, I am a reluctant opponent of subsidies to Amtrak and urban rail transit.

Romance of the Rails, a new book that the Cato Institute will publish in October, is my attempt to reconcile these views by looking deep into the history of passenger rail transportation.  read more »

“Middle America” in America’s Urban Century

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In the late 1990s and the early Aughts, when the last Gen Xers and the first Millennials were launching into their adult lives, “Urban America” was a very different place. On many fronts, the choices young ambitious graduates had were fast becoming limitless, save on one key front: the cities where they could reasonably want to live.  read more »

Sanity in the Valley of the Sun

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The Phoenix city council is considering delaying or even killing some planned light-rail lines because it is concerned that city streets are falling apart and too much money is being spent instead on an insignificant form of travel.  read more »

Labor’s Day, More or Less?

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It’s hard for most of us to recall any period in the last fifty years that we could call the “good times” for labor in the U.S. Membership density in American unions has been on a steady decline. The National Labor Relations Board has certified few new unions, and mergers have become common. Almost none of the major corporate enterprises founded over the last thirty years are unionized.  read more »

America Is Moving Toward An Oligarchical Socialism

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Where do we go after Trump? This question becomes more pertinent as the soap opera administration seeks its own dramatic demise. Yet before they can seize power from the president and his now subservient party, the Democrats need to agree on what will replace Trumpism.  read more »

Auckland: “A Vancouver of the South Pacific; Beautiful, but Utterly Unaffordable”

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New Zealand’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford reasserted the coalition government’s intention to abolish Auckland’s urban growth boundary at a recent environmental summit. Environmental Defense Society (EDS) CEO Gary Taylor expressed concern about eliminating “rural-urban boundaries” (urban growth boundaries, or UGBs) altogether, an Labour Party election promise.  read more »

Restoring Localism

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Americans are increasingly prisoners of ideology, and our society is paying the price. We are divided along partisan lines to an extent that some are calling it a “soft civil war.” In the end, this benefits only ideological warriors and their funders.  read more »