Politics

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 »

Can COVID-19 Help Us Overcome Our Polarization?

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Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting our family and social lives, our markets, our health care systems, and the very way societies function. Regrettably, the death toll will climb and the costs of the economic fallout of this coronavirus will be severe and truly life-changing for almost everyone around the globe.  read more »

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Outbreak a Wake-up Call About Need to Decouple from China

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For the past half century, China has gone from successfully exploiting global markets to seeking to impose its own authoritarian system on the rest of the world. This winter is all about much of the rest of the world saying, “No thanks.”  read more »

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California Democrats Exit Planet Earth

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This past week, in most states, America’s liberal party voted for a doddering, but non-threatening old man, rejecting a strident socialist from Vermont. But second thoughts about socialism appear not to be on the agenda for California’s Democrats, who almost single-handedly kept Bernie Sanders’ anti-capitalist crusade from an untimely implosion.  read more »

Moderation's Limits

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Moderate Democrats are celebrating Joe Biden’s big Super Tuesday, but their joy may reflect a short-term triumph of the party’s past over its longer-term future. The sudden consolidation of the moderate vote around Biden, paced by the relative inability of Michael Bloomberg to spend his way into relevance, has elevated the creaking former vice president to the top of the pack, mainly as the most likely alternative to socialist senator Bernie Sanders.  read more »

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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 »

Democrats Risk Blowback with Leftward Turn

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With progressive Democrats in almost total control of California, and easily winning the money race, there’s no compelling reason to expect that they will face much opposition soon. Yet at a hearing I attended last month, I may have gotten a glimpse of potential blowback against the party’s ever accelerating leftward lurch.  read more »

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The Two Middle Classes

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Politicians across the Western world like to speak fondly of the “middle class” as if it is one large constituency with common interests and aspirations. But, as Karl Marx observed, the middle class has always been divided by sources of wealth and worldview. Today, it is split into two distinct, and often opposing, middle classes.  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 »

Hypocrites Preaching Green

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If you don’t know who Tom Steyer is, you should. He’s the guy riding in the internal combustion powered limousine that drops Al Gore off at his speaking engagements.

Mr. Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund manager, who has become the most influential environmentalist in American politics, made his billions from the coal-related projects his firm bankrolled that have and will generate tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution for years, if not decades, to come.  read more »