Policy

Can “Renewables” Dent The World’s Need For Electricity?

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All 7.8 billion on this planet want affordable, scalable, reliable electricity. And for countries like the United States, China, India, most of Africa and the European Union (EU) the cheapest way to produce electrons is by burning coal. Carbon dioxide emissions are rising because the world will need more energy in the decades ahead in order to raise the living standard for the 1.3 billion people living in energy poverty according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  read more »

California Feudalism: The Squeeze on the Middle Class

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Is the California Dream unraveling? Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky warn how California is headed towards an increasingly feudal future in their latest report, "California Feudalism: The Squeeze on the Middle Class." Click the PDF link below to read the full study.  read more »

The Dos and Dont's of Civic Branding

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A Manhattan Institute paper that I wrote earlier this year and presented in Akron is on the dos and don’ts of civic branding and is now available online. It’s part of our Urban Policy 2018 book as well. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

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Curated Diversity in Chicago

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I came across a very intriguing premise several months ago that's stuck with me ever since. I think I've had a subconscious acknowledgement of it for some time, perhaps years, but it was only when reading an interview in the Atlantic with New York Times investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones about school segregation that the notion clicked.  read more »

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Autonomous Cars Are Our Real Future

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Long a hotbed of new technologies, California insists on seeing its transit future in the rear mirror. Rather than use innovative approaches to getting people around and to work, our state insists on spending billions on early 20th century technology such as streetcars and light rail that have diminishing relevance to our actual lives.  read more »

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 »