Policy

The New Deal at 75: An Inspiration, Not a Blueprint

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Whatever your political perspective, Americans need to admire the New Deal for, if nothing else, its ambitious agenda. In a way unparalleled in the 20th Century, the New Deal left us a legacy of achievement – one that we can still see in big cities like San Francisco and small towns like Wishek, North Dakota.  read more »

Subjects:

The Growth Dilemma

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More is more and more is also different
~
Benjamin Friedman, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, 2005  read more »

More on Columbus, Indiana

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I want to share a few additional thoughts on Columbus, looking at the question of whether things really could have been different in the Rust Belt with different policies. I believe the answer is Yes, with caveats.  read more »

The Rust Belt Didn't Have to Happen

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I knew a number of things about J. Irwin Miller, the former Cummins Engine CEO who financed Columbus, Indiana’s world-renowned collection of modernist architectural masterpieces.  But when I read Nancy’s Kriplen’s recent short biography of him, I learned a lot I’d never suspected. Clearly one of the most distinguished Hoosiers of all time, among other things, Esquire magazine put him on its cover in 1967 saying that he should be the next President of the United States.  That was a pipe dream, of course.  read more »

California Preening: Golden State on Path to High-Tech Feudalism

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“We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta,” declared then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. “Not only can we lead California into the future . . . we can show the nation and the world how to get there.” When a movie star who once played Hercules says so who’s to disagree?  read more »

Afterburn

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Here in California we’ve just received our first rain since last winter after another brutal round of massive forest fires. Our Mediterranean style climate cycles from a long dry hot period to a few short cool wet winter months. October is our most fire prone time of year. It’s hot, the earth is bone dry, the vegetation is brittle, and windstorms stir up fires like a giant hair dryer. Cyclical burns are part of the ecosystem here and are normal and necessary.  read more »

Costs Up, Ridership Down: 2018 National Transit Database

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Taxpayers spent nearly $3.75 billion more subsidizing transit in 2018 than the year before, yet transit carried 215 million fewer riders, according to the latest data released by the Federal Transit Administration. The increase in spending didn't even translate to an increase in service, as transit agencies provided 44 million fewer vehicle miles of service in 2018.  read more »

Report: California Getting In Its Own Way

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Although Governor Gavin Newsom promised to deliver 3.5 million new housing units in eight years, California severely missed this mark: as reported by the Public Policy Institute of California, housing production actually decreased during each of the past 2 years, and in 2019 is on track to fall about 80% short of the annual mark required to build 3.5 million new homes in 8 years. At this pace, it will take 39.6 years for the Governor to achieve his 8-year goal.  read more »

It's Organic! End of Conjecture and the Science Ahead

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A long succession of urban theorists, including Jane Jacobs, have intuited, implied, or proclaimed the “organic” nature of cities. This organic concept of cities describes them as self-organizing, complex systems that might appear messy, but that disorderliness belies a deep structure governed by fundamentally rule-bound processes.  read more »

The Prisoner of Intersectionality

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When she first announced her run for the White House, Elizabeth Warren seemed a breath of fresh air — a brainy and relentless campaigner for the middle class, willing to take on tech and other oligarchs. As an old colleague who met with her told me, she seemed very much “an old-fashioned New Deal Democrat” focused primarily on addressing the massive inequalities that hurt our society and families.  read more »