Policy

Rethinking the Social Safety Net

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The COVID-19 epidemic wreaked havoc on the majority of American households. The USC Dornsife poll reported on April 17th that 15% of previously employed people in the country have lost their jobs because of the virus. That translates into close to 26 million newly unemployed. While many of those jobs will come back once we get through this, I do not think all of them will. Future social distancing rules will, for instance, limit the number of patrons a restaurant or a bar can serve. Fewer customers means fewer employees to serve them.  read more »

Americans Are Not As Divided About the Pandemic As It Seems

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As COVID-19 ravages varied regions of the United States at different levels of intensity, news reports have repeatedly shown an ideological split in public opinion over how President Trump is handling this pandemic.  read more »

Triumph of the Woke Oligarchs

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Like the rest of the country, although far less than New York, California is suffering through the Covid-19 crisis. But in California, the pandemic seems likely to give the state’s political and corporate elites a new license to increase their dominion while continuing to keep the middle and working classes down.  read more »

Oligarchy and Pestilence

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It’s January 21, 2021 and President Biden’s first full day in the White House.  read more »

Subjects:

After Coronavirus We Need to Rethink Densely Populated Cities

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For the better part of this millennium, the nation’s urban planning punditry has predicted that the future lay with its densest, largest, and most cosmopolitan cities. Yet even before the onslaught of COVID-19, demographic and economic forces were pointing in the exact opposite direction, as our biggest cities—New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—all lost population in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.   read more »

Coronavirus, Labor, and an Aging World

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In the last few months, we have gradually realized the dire nature of this global pandemic, and our response has been? Nothing short of the creation of a new world: hopefully not on the ruins of the last. The novel coronavirus is showing us the downside of accelerated mobility, excessive attention to short-term gains, and structural inequities in the micro and macro geographies of our planetary existence.  read more »

Coronavirus Regional Economic Impacts and Policy Responses

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Most regions were beginning to see an acceleration in economic growth during January and February 2020. The 20-state Heartland was poised to see a notable improvement in economic performance that will now be tested due to public health measures implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The additional $200 billion in purchases of grain, industrial supplies and manufactured products over the next two years that China agreed to in the Phase I trade deal will benefit the Heartland greater than any other region of the nation.  read more »

Studying the Wrong Cities Will Lead to Repeating Their Mistakes

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The junket factor must be the only logical criteria by which various industry “study tours” overseas are planned. How else to explain how entirely inappropriate the choices are? The list of cities identified for “study” by Australian development and planning industry bodies reads like the pages of a glossy weekend travel magazine: we’ve seen study tours to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, London, Vancouver and (of course) Portland. The purpose? One recent blurb promises it is “to expand our horizons and bring new ideas back to Aussie shores.”  read more »

WSDOT Wants Lawmakers to Remove Congestion Relief as a Transportation Policy Goal

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This week, WSDOT leadership testified before the House Committee on Transportation in support of House Bill 2688, which removes the goal of congestion relief from the state’s transportation policy goals and replaces the rest. The agency said the bill supports its strategic plan, pictured in the diagram.  read more »

The Luxury City is Going Bust

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In a year when two boosters of the “luxury city,” Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, are vying to run the whole country, the very model that created their “success” is slowly unraveling. After roughly 20 years of big-city progress, measured by economic growth and demographic progress, the dense urban centers, including New York, are again teetering on the brink of decline.  read more »