Archive for January, 2009


Back in December, the Onion headlined a story, “U.S. Economy Continues Campaigning For Barack Obama.” This popped into my head as I read through the morning’s GDP announcement, wondering whether Republican representatives were anxious to get back home and tout their stimulus “victory.” I’d suggest that maybe, deep down inside, some of those legislators are […]

Sugar Pills

So, as you may know, I’m one of the brains behind The Economist‘s economics blog, Free Exchange. This week, the blog is hosting a discussion among economists on IMF economist Olivier Blanchard’s suggestion that pervasive uncertainty is at the root of the crisis (check it all out here). Tyler Cowen is one of the participants. […]

Gender Bias in Commuting

Progressives in of favor congestion pricing on highways and in central cities tend to argue for those policies on progressive grounds (shock!) — that such pricing systems reduce emissions, improve air quality, and fund transit improvements, which benefit lower and middle income households. Those are all nice benefits to congestion pricing programs, but we shouldn’t […]

Detroit Fail

Back when everyone was discussing whether or not we should bail out the automakers, some folks were suggesting that saving the Big Three could help Detroit transition into a hub for the production of green technologies. I tended to point out that the Big Three had often fought against policies that would encourage green innovation, […]

Conservatives Losing It

The conservative economists who have argued against the stimulus, as a whole or in parts, have generally tried to do so in a reasonable fashion. I mostly think they’ve got it wrong, but they’re at least trying to use theory and data to assemble a coherent story about why the stimulus might be a bad […]

The Infrastructure Challenge

To follow up on the last post, consider this bit of news from the American Society of Civil Engineers — it would cost some $2.2 trillion to bring our nation’s current infrastructure stock into a state of good repair. Now to be fair, the American Society of Civil Engineers has an interest in selling the […]

Stimulus Lessons

The passage of an economic recovery package was never going to be a particularly clean or easy process. We have a brand new president and Congress, with a Republican minority prepared to sacrifice good policy for partisan victory. We have the worst economic crisis in decades, which appears to be gathering momentum at a frightening […]

Frozen in Carbon Fight

Tom Laskawy links to a post by David Roberts over at Grist, on conservative support for a carbon tax as a strategy to derail carbon pricing. It’s fiery stuff: For a brief window of time we have a Congress and president ready to really do something on carbon pricing. What they’re ready to do is […]


The presence of falling snow outside my window turns me into basically the biggest procrastinator ever.

Understanding Washington

Yesterday, over at TAPPED, Tim Fernholz commented on a Joel Kotkin piece from the Washington Post‘s Sunday Outlook section. Kotkin writes about cities a lot, despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to like them very much. And based on his Sunday piece, he really seems to dislike Washington. I think Fernholz is on the […]