There is general agreement that smaller units of government are more responsive and accountable to their electorates. However, proponents of larger governments often claim that this advantage also creates higher spending and tax levels. On this basis, bigger-is-better proponents often suggest consolidating local governments to save money. Such calls have increased in recent years, with the unprecedented fiscal difficulties faced by governments from the federal to local level. read more »
Whether or not Mitt Romney makes it to the White House, his candidacy signals that Mormons have arrived in American political life. Just as President Obama’s nomination and election marked a sea change in the country’s tortured racial history, so Romney’s nomination has changed religious boundaries that have persisted for more than 160 years. No religious group has been more persecuted by the U.S. government, or more derided by other faiths present in the country, than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or the LDS Church, as many Mormons refer to it). read more »
President Obama brought up Planned Parenthood three separate times at Tuesday’s town hall debate. It was an appeal aimed directly at a key part of his base: If he is reelected, it will be because of the Single Nation.
Democrats have woken up to the huge political rifts that have emerged over the past 30 years—between married and single people, and people with kids and those who don’t have them. And save African Americans, there may be no constituency more loyal to the president and his party than the growing ranks of childless and single Americans. read more »
High land prices have all but killed the Australian housing industry.
Lower housing starts has led to lower GST revenues (house construction attracts full GST) and lower stamp duty receipts are crippling state budgets and cruelling the chances of low and middle income earners to get a start in the housing market.
What has caused this slump in housing starts? Land prices. read more »
Never mind the big-tent debate talk from both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about how their respective politics will benefit all Americans. There’s a broader, ugly truth that as the last traces of purple fade from the electoral map, whoever wins will have little reason to take care of much of the country that rejected them. read more »
Within the handful of swing states, the presidential election will come down to a handful of swing counties: namely the suburban voters who reside in about the last contested places in American politics.
Even in solid-red states, big cities tilt overwhelmingly toward President Obama and the Democrats, and even in solid-blue ones, the countryside tends to be solidly Republican. read more »
So many Midwest places flail around looking for a brand image or identity. Not Chicago. In fact, the identity and stories of Chicago overflow the page. They are too numerous to be written in a mere blog posting.
Yet Chicago has in effect decided to jettison that powerful, historic brand identity in favor of a type of global city genericism. This, I believe, is a mistake.
One trend you can’t help but notice if you travel is the increasing homogenization of the urban culture and standard of urban development. Global markets demand standardized commodities that can be graded and traded. This includes cities. This forces cities increasingly into a standard model of what one expects. read more »
The New Zealand Green Party is perpetuating the claim that development beyond Auckland’s “city limits” imposes a high cost on ratepayers. A spokesperson claims that the current Auckland plan, which allows for some new development outside the current urban area, “will cost ratepayers $42b billion to 2042, an annual levy of $200 per ratepayer” according to a report in the New Zealand Herald. read more »
I was living in Pennsylvania, voting in my second presidential election when my mom asked me that question in the months leading up to Ronald Reagan’s defeat of Jimmy Carter: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Four-year-ago comparisons are tricky when the worst financial collapse in my lifetime occurred four years ago. Comparing the swing states not to their conditions four years ago, but how they might feel compared to the rest of the nation, Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire appear to be “better off” than the average American. read more »