What the U.S. Thinks About Immigration - and Why it Should Matter When We Attempt Reform

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Americans agree that the country’s policies on handling immigration have long needed reform. However, what kinds of reform and the impact immigration itself has on the United States are matters of great controversy. For both former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, promising efforts at comprehensive immigration reform were blocked by the unrelenting opposition.  read more »

The High Cost of a Home Is Turning American Millennials Into the New Serfs

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American greatness was long premised on the common assumption that each generation would do better than the previous one. That is being undermined for the emerging millennial generation.  read more »

All Houston Does (Economically) is Win

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Like most big cities that get the nod, Houston has spruced itself up for the Super Bowl, planting flowers and concentrating in particular on the rough stretches between Hobby Airport and NRG Stadium. Yet it’s unlikely the city’s reputation will be much enhanced by the traveling media circus that accompanies these games.  read more »

Caterpillar’s HQ Move to Chicago Shows America’s Double Divide

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Earlier today Caterpillar announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters from Peoria to Chicago. The move affects about 300 top-level executives. The company will retain a large presence in Peoria.  read more »

Death Spiral Demographics: The Countries Shrinking The Fastest

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For most of recent history, the world has worried about the curse of overpopulation. But in many countries, the problem may soon be too few people, and of those, too many old ones. In 1995 only one country, Italy, had more people over 65 than under 15; today there are 30 and by 2020 that number will hit 35. Demographers estimate that global population growth will end this century.  read more »

The Real State of America’s Inner Cities

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The New York Times ran a piece in today’s paper about the state of America’s inner cities – and of course Donald Trump. Their conclusion is that the landscape of America’s cities, and of American blacks – the “inner city” is clearly a racially loaded term – is complex.  read more »

Subjects:

In the Automation Debate, Don't Forget the Job Multiplier Effect

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In his 1950s satire Player Piano, author Kurt Vonnegut describes a dark dystopia where automation has led to a world of meager consumption and desperate idleness. The vision of workers displaced by machines predates this though, and is perhaps most associated with the 19th century Luddite movement where workers sabotaged machinery for fear of losing jobs. In economic thought, the prospect of labor-replacing technology has a still much longer history.  read more »

Subjects:

The Immigration Dilemma

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In often needlessly harsh ways, President Donald Trump is forcing Americans to face issues that have been festering for decades, but effectively swept under the rug by the ruling party duopoly. Nowhere is this more evident than with immigration, an issue that helped to spark Trump’s quixotic, but ultimately successful, campaign.

Many Americans are clearly upset about an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, and many also fear the arrival of more refugees from Islamic countries. Perhaps no issue identified by Trump has been more divisive.  read more »

King Tide

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10,000 years ago San Francisco Bay was a dry grassy valley populated by elephants, zebras, and camels. The planet was significantly cooler and dryer back then. Sea level was lower since glaciers in the north pulled water out of the oceans. The bay isn’t that deep so a relatively small change in sea level pushed the coastline out by twelve miles from its present location. Further back in pre-history when the earth was warmer than today sea level was higher.  read more »

Access in the City

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Access for residents to employment is critical to boosting city productivity. This has been demonstrated by researchers such as Remy Prud’homme and Chang-Woon Lee of the University of Paris, David Hartgen and M. Gregory Fields of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Generally, city productivity (economic growth and job creation) can be expected to improve more where employment access is better . Access is measured in the number of jobs that can be reached by the average employee in a certain period of time, like 30 minutes.  read more »