San Jose

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

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There’s been a lot of talk lately on the ins and outs of a new supplemental poverty measure being developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. As named, this new measure will not replace the official measure, but will supplement it by offering more information on people’s economic wellbeing. Nancy Folbre’s recent Economix post gives a good round up of why this new measure matters, but here’s the upshot.

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Are regional college education rates a stay against metro unemployment in bad times?

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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.

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Last week at a forum on local government’s fiscal straits, Mayor Elaine Walker of Bowling Green, KY, supplied her top desired federal recession response: “For us,” she said, “the biggest thing is… the Community Development Block Grant….In Bowling Green, we use it for everything.” Said Walker: CDBG could be a critical anti-recession measure because it allows local governments “not to balance [their] budgets but to… get money into the local economy.” CDBG—a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address development needs particularly in urban or struggling locales--hasn’t

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State government budget problems have been a well-publicized element of the nation’s ongoing economic crisis. Less remarked upon has been a lower-profile meltdown: the nation’s soon-to-be ugly local government fiscal mess. And now it’s time to tune in.  How do things look? The short answer is: brutal!

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Pumped Up

Last fall, Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't escape the huge crowds of union members and Democrats who protested his ballot initiatives that proposed reshaping the state's education, budget, and political systems. Protesters surrounded hotels where he spoke,gathered outside TV studios and restaurants where he appeared, and even confronted him in hallways and kitchens. The angry hordes reflected a statewide rejection of the once-popular governor--more than 55 percent of Californians disapproved of his job performance, and Democratic challengers led in early polls on the 2006 governor's race.

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Correspondence

FOR GOV OR MONEY The new New Deal proposed by Niall Ferguson and Laurence J. Kotlikoff contains “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” (“The New New Deal,” August 15). In borrowing from the national sales tax idea, it will run smack into the objections that the plan has always faced: fairness, transition costs, and economic dislocation. One major objection to a sales tax is that it hammers the elderly. Those who have earned and paid taxes throughout their lives will suddenly find their life savings taxed again at even higher rates upon consumption.

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Hertzberg: Where were you when the Wall fell?

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