Grand Rapids

83 Cheers for the Old Economy
June 02, 2010

Last week Paul Krugman had a nice blogpost comparing income growth in the stagflation-ridden “old economy” of the 1970s and the bubbly “new economy” of the last decade. For the entire United States, it seems, inflation-adjusted median family income fell at a slightly slower rate between 1973 and 1981 than between 2000 and 2008. The old economy was better for the nation as a whole, at least as far as income growth goes. But what about metropolitan areas? In which places was income growth more rapid in what many people remember as the “bad old days”? The answer: 83 of the nation’s 100 largest me

Great Lakes are Dead, Long Live the Great Lakes
June 01, 2010

The portion of the blogosphere inclined to noodle over Brookings State of Metro America report, included some who now ask, “whither the Rust Belt?” and “whither the Brookings Great Lakes Economic Initiative?”.  I’m pleased to say all are alive and in forward-looking form. The Great Lakes Economic Initiative developed several years ago, not out of a DC-based “mega-region” overlay, but as I traded notes from my years as an elected official and public policy-shaper in Michigan and teamed up with similarly situated political, business and civic leaders from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and el

Jeremiah, American-Style
April 30, 2010

Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch By Eric Miller (Eerdmans, 394 pp., $32) In a moving tribute to Christopher Lasch written shortly after his death in 1994, Dale Vree, a Catholic convert and the editor of the New Oxford Review, wrote that “Calvinism was his true theological inspiration.” Lasch was certainly not one of the faithful.

Recovery? Depends Where You Look…
December 15, 2009

The latest edition of MetroMonitor--our ground-up view of the recession and recovery--is out today, looking at economic indicators through the third quarter of 2009. The bottom line: It’s still a big country. Some places had largely recovered by September, while others still hadn’t bottomed out yet. Check out the report for all the details, but here are a few amuse- bouches to whet your appetite: The manufacturing belt surges… but it may be temporary.

Palin and McCarthy
November 30, 2009

A new Washington Post poll of Republicans records the remarkable extent to which today's rank-and-file GOPers can't identify much in the way of any clear-cut Republican leaders.

Presidential Libraries
January 10, 2007

It was predictable. That even the faculty, or a large portion of it, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas would have qualms about having the George W. Bush Presidential Library on campus. It was obvious. Now, SMU has not actually been designated as the querulous host. Baylor University in Waco and the University of Texas, not in Austin, God forbid, but Irving are also in the running. Or maybe trying to escape. Ralph Blumenthal spins out the somewhat intricate tale in today's Times, "Faculty at S.M.U.

Sects Appeal
November 20, 2006

Molly Worthen argues in 2006 that Mormons are moving towards the Christian and political mainstream in their public relations.

Improbable Cause
February 28, 2000

McCain’s 2000 campaign tries to beat Bush's "Michigan firewall."

This Man Is Not A Republican
January 26, 2000

Something strange is happening to John McCain. For a long, long time, he was a pretty typical conservative. Sure, his style was eccentric--he made impolitic remarks about his own party and pointed out the hypocrisies on both sides of the aisle. And, sure, he broke with the GOP leadership on a couple of high-profile issues--campaign finance reform, tobacco taxes. McCain's truth-telling and his war against soft money made him a hero to the liberal press.

The Quarterback
October 14, 1996

Then Jackie Kemp came on and we seemed to collapse, offensively and defensively. The final score was 50-20. It was the most humiliating moment of my life. I had never lost a game by that kind of score, even in high school. --O.J. Simpson, The Education of a Rich Rookie (1970)     September 23 & 24: I am in Jack Kemp's press pool today mainly because no one else wants to be; no one else wants to be because tagging along with the running mate of a presidential candidate who trails by sixteen points with forty-three days to go is not journalism but a death watch.

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