Metro Policy

After Sandy, a New Panic: Rats!
October 31, 2012

Many likely drowned or came up from the subway. Most are where they've always been — right under your nose.

The Big Infrastructure Question Posed by Sandy
October 31, 2012

In light of this week’s storm, one big question post-Sandy is what could have been done to prevent the devastating damage to the city of New York, its infrastructure, and its economy? Monday morning quarterbacking, for sure, but it’s the question on everyone’s mind now. And for obvious reasons, that’s tough to answer. After all, what is the proper way to prepare for a once-in-a-century event? (Whether 100-year storms now happen every year is another, but related, discussion.) In comments after the storm, New York Gov.

Promoting Infrastructure Investment through Private Activity Bonds
October 25, 2012

The federal government contributed about 25 percent of total public spending on transportation and water infrastructure over the past decade. So, for good reason, many local governments and transportation agencies are preoccupied these days with the threat of the automatic across-the-board spending cuts from Washington. Even small cuts would be painful to overstretched state and local governments already scrambling for ways to do more with less. Increased private sector involvement in U.S.

The Catchiest Transit Safety PSA Ever
October 12, 2012

After Justin Bieber’s calumny against Tacoma this week, the Puget Sound could use some props. And here to deliver, of all things, is a public service announcement for transit and train safety in the form of a beautifully filmed music video by Seattle’s Blue Scholars for Sound Transit, the Puget Sound's regional transit agency.   Check it: 

The Wrong Way to Look at Helping the Poor
October 11, 2012

In a New York Times op-ed today, Gary MacDougal tackles a pressing and complicated question: What is the most effective way to fight poverty in America? With 15 percent of the population--and one in five children--living below the federal poverty line, this is exactly the conversation we need to have as a country. The problem is that after wondering if the vice presidential candidates will give poverty the attention it deserves in tonight’s debate, the question gets almost immediately obscured by bad math. Dean Baker enumerates a number of ways MacDougal’s arithmetic just doesn’t add up.

U.S. Poverty Continues its Post-Recession Grip
September 13, 2012

Yesterday, the Census Bureau released the latest round of Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage data, giving us a look at 2011. The mixed picture that emerged in yesterday’s release reveals the effects of an economic recovery that has remained sluggish and weak since its official start in June 2009. There was good news. More people were working full-time, year-round jobs in 2011 compared to 2010 (1.7 million), and the number of residents without health insurance dropped by the largest margin since 1999 (1.3 million). But there was also bad news.

Banking on the States for Clean Energy Innovation
September 12, 2012

with Ken Berlin* With Washington mired in unproductive argument this fall, it’s a great time to look elsewhere in America for smart, constructive problem-solving. Specifically, it’s a great time--in the realm of energy policy--to look at what’s going on in U.S.

The 2012 Long Game for the U.S. Economy is Competitiveness
September 06, 2012

Tonight, President Obama will accept the Democratic Party nomination with a speech in which he will lay out the case for a second term. The context, of course, is the volatility of the past four years in the U.S. economy and the entire global economy, marked by deep recession and weak recoveries in the developed economies and cooling growth in emerging markets. What about the long term? After all, the long-term game on jobs is competitiveness.

Minding the Metro Education Gap
August 29, 2012

For the first time since World War II, there are fewer jobs three years after the end of a recession than before it began. Our new Brookings report suggests that most of this flat recovery can be attributed to severe losses in housing wealth and jobs in industries such as manufacturing and construction. Yet education--especially the balance between the demand and supply of educated workers--is the most important factor explaining long-run unemployment in metropolitan and national labor markets. First, consider the short-run picture.

Multiplier Effects: Connecting the Innovation and Opportunity Agendas
August 23, 2012

My colleague Jonathan Rothwell already reviewed economist Enrico Moretti’s wonderful book, “The New Geography of Jobs,” but I wanted to jump in to highlight one particularly important point among the many Moretti makes.