The first two years of the Obama Administration have been historic and eventful. The first openly liberal president in a generation has dramatically increased government spending and intervention in the nation’s economy. The federal deficit soared to $1.65 trillion dollars and 35% of Americans now receive some type of government assistance. read more »
A high speed rail battle is brewing in Great Britain, not unlike the controversies that have lit up the political switchboard in the United States over the past six months.
The Department for Transport has announced a plan to build a "Y" shaped high speed rail route that would connect Leeds and Manchester, to Birmingham, with a shared line on to London and London's Heathrow Airport. read more »
The two largest crises today — the Japanese nuclear disaster and the widening unrest in the Middle East — prove it’s time to de-fetishize energy policy. These serious problems also demonstrate why we must expand the nation’s ample oil and gas supplies — urgently.
The worsening Japanese nuclear crisis means, for all intents and purposes, that atomic power is, if not dead, certainly on a respirator.
Some experts may still make the case that nuclear power remains relatively safe. Some green advocates still tout its virtues for emitting virtually no greenhouse gases. read more »
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the shift in the US economy away from production and increasingly into services. Consider the employment data from the US: In 1950, 30% of all US jobs were in manufacturing while 63% were in services. In 2011, 9% of total employment remains in manufacturing, 86% in services. read more »
For much of the past decade, I was a proponent of the thesis that that the American economy had entered a “great moderation,” where expansions lasted longer and recessions were fewer, shorter and milder. Productivity had seemingly reached a permanently high plateau; inflation seemed tamed. The spreading of financial risk, across institutions and around the world, seemed to have reduced the odds of a crisis. read more »
The week’s debate about high-speed rail has once again polarized our populace, inflamed irrationality, and sent everyone back to their familiar corners. Little constructive debate is possible when major newspapers are flailing the governor for rejecting money and the seemingly global revolutionary fervor is gripping local citizens who rallied in protest Wednesday night around downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola. None of this will do any good for the service workers trying to get to their jobs in the theme parks or for downtown cube dwellers streaming to scattered office parks. read more »
The stand-off in Washington over spending reductions has pushed aside serious discussion about a far more pressing issue: job creation.
Granted, the country is long overdue for action on spending cuts. There is much that our government does that we can live without. Bureaucracies’ programmatic lassitude and congressional appropriators’ adolescent-like lack of discipline have contributed to our nation’s fiscal imbalance. read more »
Esperanza Spalding, winner of the best new artist award at this year’s Grammys, personifies the ethnic trends reshaping America. She is a fresh-faced 27-year old jazz bassist whose very name portrays her mixed ethnic and racial heritage as the daughter of an African-American father and a Hispanic, Welsh, Native American mother. Spalding first gained her deep interest in music watching French-born Chinese American classical cellist Yo Yo Ma on “Sesame Street,” a TV program that has perhaps contributed to ethnic acculturation in the U.S. as much as any other institution. read more »
British house construction has remained at a low level for a decade. Total new house and flat completions for all tenures last year were 113,670 for England, 17,470 for Scotland, and 6,170 for Wales. Excluding Northern Ireland that is 137,310 for Britain. Under 140,000 homes a year is low for a nation of 60 million.
We are nearly at the lowest level of housing production since reliable records began in the 1920s. (Note 1) read more »
Perhaps nothing so illustrates President Obama’s occasional disconnect with reality than his fervent advocacy of high-speed rail. Amid mounting pressure for budget cuts that affect existing programs, including those for the inner city, the president has made his $53 billion proposal to create a national high-speed rail network as among his top priorities. read more »