With the bankruptcy of the California solar-gear manufacturer Solyndra, the Department of Energy’s loan program has been excoriated for wasting tax payer money under suspicious circumstances. The program’s website refers to 63,000 jobs created with $38.6 billion of loans. Some, like those at the Washington Post, see this number and incorrectly conclude that the government has spent $600,000 per job.
I take the liberty of suggesting that you read a speech given yesterday by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.N. General Assembly. Netanyahu has been unlucky in the treatment of his remarks for a quarter century. He has been even more unlucky in the treatment of his offers to the Palestinian people to start the peace process which they, alas, have refused to do. An article by Neil MacFarquhar and Steven Lee Myers in the Times projects Dame Catherine Ashton, the “foreign minister” of the European Union, as the leading light in the diplomacy of Europe towards Israel/Palestine.
Last week’s data from the Census Bureau on poverty and income provided some hints as to the impact of the Great Recession in U.S.
Ryan Avent’s new e-book, “The Gated City” is churning through the metro-oriented blogs. Rob Pitingolo of Greater Greater Washington has one of the more interesting critiques. Speaking of the metro blog space, the Atlantic launched its “Atlantic Cities” site last week. Check Bruce Katz’ big picture essay on the “metropolitan moment.” The New York Times continues its torrid love affair with the “City of Roses” with this piece on Portland’s “bicycle-supported” development, both commercial and residential. Get a room, you two.
co-authored with Lew Milford* If you’re tired of the acrimony and gridlock currently stymieing progress toward a lower-carbon future in the United States, perhaps you’ll want to check out the discussion underway today at the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Va. There, the Metro Program along with the Patent Office, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and the Clean Energy Group are hosting what should be a far more edifying discussion on clean energy than has been in evidence in recent weeks.
Over the summer there was some concern in the media about falling wages during the current barely perceptible economic recovery. Nationwide, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that inflation-adjusted average hourly wages have been trending downward since late 2010. Similar wage declines occurred, starting at various times in 2009 or 2010, in most major industries. Because wages don’t usually fall even during the most severe recessions, this is (bad) news. In the latest edition of Brookings’ MetroMonitor, I looked at where these wage declines were occurring. Using inflation-adjusted average
The release of new Census Bureau poverty data yesterday confirmed suspicions about the state of the economy for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens: even as GDP growth resumed in 2009, things continued to deteriorate at the bottom of the ladder. The U.S. poverty rate rose from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010, reaching its highest point since 1993. The news is a stark reminder that poverty is first and foremost a reflection of labor market conditions.
Several pundits and writers have recently suggested that the green economy is small and unlikely to be a major source of job growth anytime in the near future. So, the argument goes, it’s not a worthy investment. As evidence for the first claim, some critics of green policies have cited the job growth figures from our recent “Sizing the Clean Economy” report while arguing that the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar photovoltaic manufacturer, illustrates both the failures of green policies and the weakness of the industry.
The focus on infrastructure in President Obama’s jobs speech was much-anticipated and necessary. While much the attention is on increasing funding for fixing roads and bridges, the president also reiterated the call to improve the way the federal government invests in infrastructure. (“No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere.”) He also called for the kind of transformative infrastructure investments that made the U.S. an economic superpower.
In his speech before Congress last night, President Obama argued to a somewhat skeptical public the role of the national government in responding to the continuing employment crisis. To effectively address the crisis, however, it helps to start from a shared understanding of what the problem is. And on this count, there’s some disagreement, even among the experts. Some economists believe the fundamental problem is a mismatch between available jobs, and available workers.