The Avenue

Touching the Third Rail of Housing Policy
September 09, 2009

Ed Glaeser posted in Economix yesterday about the lessons that the housing crash imparts for housing policy--including the seemingly untouchable mortgage interest deduction. Now that home prices seem to be moderating, the piece provides a vivid reminder of how steep the price curve was, before and after the crash.

An Agenda for the New Manufacturing "Czar"
September 09, 2009

On Labor Day, President Obama appointed Ron Bloom, head of the administration’s auto industry task force, as his manufacturing “czar.” A former United Steelworkers staffer, Bloom recognizes the importance of high-wage manufacturing to the U.S. economy and to the well-being of the Great Lakes metropolitan areas that have been its center for more than half a century. But his experience is mainly in structuring financial deals. Does he understand the non-financial obstacles to reviving American manufacturing?

Taking the Fun out of Las Vegas
September 08, 2009

Wish you were here! Today, I'm in sunny Las Vegas to help roll out an interesting new Brookings initiative and realizing I'm residing at ground zero of America's current economic quandary. No large U.S. Metro has suffered greater house price declines in the last year. No large metro has a higher concentration of foreclosures. Gross metropolitan product has declined by 3 percent since its 2007 peak.

Implementing ARRA—Partnerships for Stimulus Performance
September 08, 2009

There’s a lot of back and forth going on about whether the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka ARRA or the “stimulus package”) is working or not. Last week, Mark Muro asked: What transformative impacts might ARRA have on the way states, localities, and regions do business?

Water Warnings from Atlanta
September 08, 2009

Southern cities and suburbs are used to drought restrictions in the summer, watering the lawn only certain days of the week every year. But what if the rules were year round and also applied to indoor water use too? Atlantans may soon have such a situation in 2012. Last month, a federal judge ruled that the Atlanta metro cannot use Lake Lanier as a drinking water source.

People and Metro Prosperity
September 04, 2009

  This week we’ve discussed several of the key ingredients for metropolitan economic prosperity and the policy issues affecting those success factors. Yet those of us at The Avenue don’t lie awake at night worrying about metro areas as places (well, maybe we dream about our favorite coffee spot or something). The ultimate measure of metropolitan performance, after all, is the level of prosperity enjoyed by its residents.  Why is it important to examine people and families through a metropolitan lens? First, most U.S.

Transportation Lessons from the Stimulus
September 04, 2009

Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden trumpeted and defended the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) by ticking off progress made, goals achieved, and milestones met. In addition to these quantifications, the vice president talked about "ancillary benefits" such as improving short-term coordination among federal departments, and long-lasting enhancements in the competence of government. But there was another benefit he didn't mention: the unique opportunity for the stimulus package to shine a bright light on other existing areas of domestic policy.

Recovery and Risk
September 03, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden’s speech on the progress of the Recovery Act dwelled substantially on how the act was supporting and even spurring innovation in communities across the country.

Biden Gets Real
September 03, 2009

There was a lot of standard defense of Team Obama stimulus policy in Vice President Biden’s speech on the recovery act here at Brookings today.

Seasons Change… Unemployment Rates
September 02, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, based on new figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that unemployment rates continued to climb in July in metropolitan America. It’s probably true, based on BLS estimates that the nation overall shed another 247,000 jobs in July.  But BLS’ metropolitan data don’t exactly show us what’s going on from month to month. That’s because they don’t take account of the natural fluctuations in employment levels that occur everywhere due to seasonal labor market changes. Or, in data-wonk terms, they’re not “seasonally adjusted.”  Why does this matter f