Following the money

It’s no secret that local governments give billions of dollars to companies in the form of tax breaks and other benefits, in both good times and bad. But policymakers are loathe to tally up the real costs of this approach to economic development. Today the New York Times launched a …

Detroit: urban austerity as art form

Life at the outer limits of urban austerity: Burn, a new documentary about Detroit’s fire department, tells a story that could perhaps echo throughout many U.S. cities: At a certain point in a city’s decline its financial resources are so diminished that life-or-death services like policing and firefighting have to …

The Myth of the Exploding Welfare State

A great piece from Martin Eiermann in the Huffington Post last month about the assumption (“myth”) that the welfare state (public spending, entitlements, etc.) is blamed for fiscal crisis at all levels of government. The same narrative prevails in U.S. politics, especially as we teeter over the “fiscal cliff.” Five …

Let the austerity begin

One of the first lines of cuts at the bottom of the “fiscal cliff” (or one of the first victims of the austerity bomb) will be local public education. Schools that serve poor and English-language learning children receive more federal money, so will be hit the hardest. The cuts would …

Economists urge “Jobs and Growth, Not Austerity”

Campaign for America’s Future is circulating a petition against austerity measures: About 350 economists and experts have signed a statement calling for “presidential leadership — and congressional action — to spur jobs and growth, not dangerous austerity.” The statement warns Washington leaders to heed the lessons of European countries that …

The Austerity Bomb

The “fiscal cliff” is definitely the worst term for a constructed policy impasse, but I’m not sure how I feel about “austerity bomb.”  Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo used the term in an article earlier this week: Automatic, across-the-board reductions to domestic and defense spending, combined with the looming …

What I’m doing this month

November is a month of heavy focused writing for me, which is all about public accountability so I thought I’d post it on here: Six key rules: • Decide on a goal that’s word, time or task based (and stretches you) • Publicly declare said goal (this gives you a …