Washington DC

CARES Funding and Transit

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The Coronavirus public health emergency is an existentialist crisis for many sectors of the U.S. economy and government services. The transit industry is one of the most impacted of all.

Transit began losing relevance decades prior to this event. Transit ridership and transportation market share have decreased even as operating costs and taxpayer subsidies increased. Expenditures for major capital projects have reached a billion dollars per mile and more while essential services for transportation-disadvantaged residents have withered away.  read more »

The Rebellion of America's New Underclass

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Like so many before them, our recent disorders have been rooted in issues of race. But in the longer run, the underlying causes of our growing civic breakdown go beyond the brutal police killing of George Floyd. Particularly in our core cities, our dysfunction is a result of our increasingly large, and increasingly multi-racial, class of neo-serfs.  read more »

Pandemics and Pandemonium

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Minneapolis and urban centers across America are burning, most directly in response to the brutal killing of a black man by a white Minnesota police officer. But the rage ignited by the death of George Floyd is symptomatic of a profound sense of alienation that has been building for years among millions of poor, working class urbanites.  read more »

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 »

Viral Politics

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Long after the pandemic has receded, its long-term impact on our society and political life will continue. Just as plagues past have reshaped the trajectory of cities and civilizations, sometimes with fearsome morbidity, COVID-19 is already having a profoundly disruptive impact on our political future.  read more »

Why Can't California Create Viable National Leaders Anymore?

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Once upon a time, Hollywood and California seemed to be leading the country, for better or worse, with outsized public figures and sometimes compelling, or at least entertaining, ideas.

California politicians like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan achieved national power, establishing the primary strands of conservative thought.  read more »

You Think Trump's a Danger to Democracy? Get a Load of Bloomberg.

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Many in the media and political class see Donald Trump as the face of America’s autocratic future. They’ve had less to say about Michael Bloomberg, a far more successful billionaire with the smarts, motivation, and elitist mentality not only to propose but actually carry out his own deeply authoritarian vision should he be elected president.  read more »

US Population Growth Down 1/3 in 5 Years, California Down 85%

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The United States population grew just 0.48% in the year ended July 1, 2019, according to population estimates released on the last day of the year. This is a full one-third decline from the 0.72% growth in 2014. Even that higher rate, typical for the first four years of the decade, was well below the 0.93% rate between 2000 and 2010. This was driven by a decline in the natural growth rate (births minus deaths), which fell from 1,461,000 in 2011 to 957,000 in 2019.  read more »

The Next Election Will Be Decided By the Suburbs

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The fate of the 2020 election, whether for Congress or the White House, will be decided in the suburbs. Neither the pro-Trump countryside nor the intensely anti-Trump urban core have enough voters to put their preferred candidates in office.

It’s the suburbs that are home to the majority of all voters and over 80 percent of residents of the major metropolitan areas.  read more »

Mayors Won't Rule the World

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Earlier in this decade, cities—the bigger and denser the better—appeared as the planet’s geographic stars.  read more »