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The Middle Kingdom and the U.S. Economy

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In the poker match between President Donald Trump and China’s new all-but-emperor, Xi Jinping, it’s widely assumed that Xi holds the best hand. Yet President Xi’s hand may not be as awesome as it appears, while the United States, even under this very flawed president, may hold some fine cards.  read more »

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The Democrats Finally Won the Suburbs. Now Will They Destroy Them?

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The Democratic Party’s triumphal romp through suburbia was the big story of the midterms.

In 2016 the suburbs, home to the majority of American voters, voted 50 to 45 for Donald Trump; this year, 52 percent went Democratic.  read more »

Amazon, Google, Apple and the Late Capitalism Blues

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We think of the movements of high-tech firms as illustrative of totally new phenomena but it resonates as well with earlier industrial history. The “gilded age” of America, when industries expanded rapidly, produced a growing appetite for labor. Automation in production also expanded output and revenue, but also a growing need for workers.  read more »

Blaming Workers Again

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Working-class people often get blamed for their troubles. They should have planned better, been less demanding, or just been smarter. Those are just some of the judgments that surfaced again in the weeks after General Motors’ announcement late in November that it would close five plants in the U.S. and Canada, leaving thousands of workers without jobs.  read more »

Canadian Families Denied Preferred Detached Houses, Forced into Condos: Survey

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A new poll by Sotheby’s International Realty suggests substantial disappointment among Canada’s young urban families, unable to afford to purchase the types of houses that they prefer. The poll determined that young urban households in Canada strongly prefer detached houses, but they are often “motivated by (financial) necessity to purchases houses, especially condominiums, they do not prefer."  read more »

Can High-Speed Rail Make Housing Affordable?

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UCLA management professor Jerry Nickerson thinks he has found a solution to California’s housing affordability problems: high-speed rail. Based on years of data, he has concluded that some Japanese who work in Tokyo and other expensive cities make long commutes on high-speed trains to more affordable cities elsewhere in the country.  read more »

Emmanuel Newsom?

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A youthful and handsome appearance, the blessings of the autocrats and clerics of our times, and a fawning media — all these belonged to French President Emmanuel Macron just a year ago. He was praised as everything from the “new leader of the Free World” to Europe’s Reagan.

Today Macron’s presidency is adrift, paralyzed by grassroots opposition to his policies — mostly from the middle and working classes — and a popularity rating about half of that suffered by Donald Trump. Is this the fate that awaits our new governor, Gavin Newsom?  read more »

Suburbs and Exurbs Dominate Mid-Decade Millennial Growth

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America’s suburbs and exurbs continue to dominate population growth among post-college Millennials, those aged 25 to 34 in the 53 major metropolitan areas. This is indicated by data in the just released 2013/2017 American Community Survey (ACS), which provides a mid-decade snapshot of US demography. With its middle sample year of 2015, the 2013/2017 ACS is most representative of the middle of the decade between the 2010 and 2020 censuses (Note 1).  read more »

Centennial at Tejon Ranch

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I was included in an e-mail thread last week about a 19,000 unit master planned community on the far edge of Los Angeles County. There’s an on-going debate about whether this is part of California’s housing solution or part of the problem. Centennial is one of three proposed residential developments at Tejon Ranch. It hugs the border of Kern County thirty miles outside of Bakersfield and three mountain ranges from LA proper. After a couple of decades of negotiations it was finally approved by the authorities.  read more »

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