District of Columbia

Federal Transportation Funding--How the States are all Children of Lake Wobegon
October 14, 2011

When it comes to federal outlays to states for transportation funding, all 50 (plus the District of Columbia) are all above average. That is they all receive more than one dollar of federal funding for every dollar of gas tax they contribute, according to a new GAO report. That’s made possible by the backfilling of the Highway Trust Fund with general revenues to make up for declining gas tax revenues. In the current budget environment, that arrangement is unsustainable. However, over at the Post, Brad Plumer notes that the elimination of the doner state vs.

Why the Electoral College Won’t Help Obama
September 29, 2011

Writing in the Wall Street Journal this week, Gerald Seib rightly reminds us that presidential campaigns are won and lost state by state in the Electoral College, not in the nationwide popular vote.

Bring Residential PACE Program Back to Life
August 30, 2011

With job creation and the renewal of the moribund housing sector increasingly now at crisis levels of urgency, there seems to be a renewed push in Washington to inject new life into the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE)--a program that some had given up for dead after the Federal Housing Finance Authority created a major implementation hurdle last year. The newly introduced PACE Assessment Protection Act (H.R.

The Good News in the Atlanta and D.C. School Cheating Scandals
July 19, 2011

With the possible exception of tot-murdering moms and professional basketball players who jilt their fans on live television, there is no more reviled figure in American life than Bernie Madoff. Portrayed on the cover of New York magazine in Heath-Ledger-as-Joker makeup, he has been variously described as a sociopath, a financial serial killer, and the devil incarnate. What nobody has said, however, is that Madoff was the victim of a profession that puts relentless pressure on money managers to publicly report their success in the market.

Public Opinion On "Smoke-Free" Laws Is Changing. How Will That Affect Americans' Health?
July 15, 2011

A Gallup poll released today found that for the first time ever, a majority of Americans support a ban on smoking in “all public places,” such as beaches, work sites, and restaurants. When Gallup started asking this question in 2001, only 39 percent of respondents favored smoking bans, but in ten years that number has grown to 59 percent. Increasing public support has coincided with the passage of “smoke-free” laws (which ban smoking in nearly all workplaces and public spaces, including restaurants and bars) in twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia.

Meet Trey Gowdy, Tea Party Politician and D.C.'s Most Unlikely Friend
July 06, 2011

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of the District’s budget being taken up by Congress, I joined D.C. autonomy activists at a small press conference tucked away in the back corridors of the U.S. Capitol. The District’s lone delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and its mayor, Vincent Gray, took the opportunity to rally representatives from various organizations to join in D.C’s most awkward annual ritual: attempting to beg, scold, or otherwise shame Congress into abstaining from attaching riders to the city’s budget.

Cities Versus Suburbs Is the Wrong Debate
April 20, 2011

There is an old joke among demographers (a group well known for their hilarity) about a drunk who loses his car keys at the front door of a house that has no porch light. After he realizes his loss, he goes to the nearest street light but well away from the front door to look for them. When asked why he wasn’t looking where he lost the keys, he replied, “This is where the light is.” Looking "where the light is" is the bane of demographic analysis.

False Choice
April 15, 2011

For decades, policy wonks, lawmakers, and educators have wrestled with the phenomenon of the achievement gap in U.S. schools. The answer to the essential question—why does such a racialized gap exist?—has proven elusive. Race itself, poverty, location, lack of stability at home, and bad teachers has each been the culprit du jour at one time or another. Recently, however, many conservatives have decided that the problem might be the whole of public education—so they have sought to direct more funds toward private schools. On March 31, the U.S.

All the Hill’s a Stage
April 07, 2011

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, Nancy Pelosi fielded a question from a journalist who wanted to know the same thing everyone else wanted to know: How, exactly, are the talks over a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown faring? The former Speaker of the House paused—back when Dems had a majority, after all, she would have been smack in the center of those negotiations. But now?

D.C.'s High Unemployment Not the Worst in the Nation
April 05, 2011

Last week, a Bloomberg News story claimed that Ward 8 in the District of Columbia has the highest unemployment rate in the country.  This is simply not true.  For one thing, comparing small portions of a single city to entire metropolitan areas (as the article does) is unfair.  For another, the official unemployment numbers for individual wards in the city are based on outdated information.  The unemployment rate is a vitally important statistic for measuring the economic health of an area, and residents deserve to have data accurately reflect their needs to policymakers.  I’ve created a more