Woodward Avenue

How does a rust belt city relaunch itself? How can the stakeholders of Detroit, Cleveland, or Milwaukee begin to reinvent their cities and get on a track that leads to greater prosperity, health, and educational attainment that can eventually result in opportunity and quality of life for the urban majority? The factors that led to Detroit's …

Priorities for tax dollars

There is a very strong impulse in many state legislatures to cut taxes, no matter what the cost is to the state's ability to provide essential services for its citizens.  The Michigan League for Human Services draws attention to the consequences of this impulse when it comes to the welfare of the children of Michigan. …

Michigan’s recovery?

The Mackinac Policy Conference brings forward something new this year -- optimism. The state of Michigan has been hammered in the past eight years by the upheaval of the auto industry and the national trauma of the global financial meltdown. Unemployment has been substantially higher than the national average, the city of Detroit has hemmorhaged …

The safety net in Michigan

Poverty in the United States has increased measurably in the past ten years, and this is particularly visible in the state of Michigan. (Here is a webpage provided by the Michigan Department of Human Services with some basic information on poverty in the state.)  State departments of human services and non-profit organizations alike are being stretched by …

Taxes on business

What is a fair level of taxation for businesses in a state? How much should businesses pay relative to individuals in supporting the services provided by government? How should we even begin to answer this question? The question is easier for individual taxation, since there are only a few possible alternatives: a flat rate income …

Urban and metropolitan problem solving

  The issues that almost all large American metropolitan regions and cities are facing are important and messy. Here is a short list: racial segregation, concentration of poverty, poor health and nutrition, poor schools, crime and violence, and disaffection of young people. These problems are important because they hold back the personal lives of millions …

Opportunity index

It would be very interesting if we had something we might call an "opportunity index" that could be applied to young children to estimate their probability of later success in life. The idea would go along these lines: Take some measure of adult success -- perhaps graduation from college or success in attaining a skilled …

Truth and reconciliation commissions

When does a society need a process of "truth and reconciliation" along the lines of such processes in South Africa, El Salvador, and Argentina?  Here are some recent examples of truth and reconciliation processes:  the fate of the "disappeared" in Argentina (link); Indian Residential Schools in Canada (link); Korean War civilian casualties (link); Liberian civil conflict (link); …

More on jobs and people in Michigan

Olivier Blanchard and Lawrence Katz did an important empirical study of regional adjustment to employment shock in 1992 (link). Here is their central conclusion: "We have shown that most of the adjustment of states to shocks is through movements of labor, rather than through job creation or job migration." (54) In other words, they find …

Michigan’s population loss

Earlier posts have raised the possibility that Michigan's jobs crisis will lead to significant population loss (link, link, link).  The basic idea is this: Michigan has lost more than 800,000 jobs since 2002.  Its population in 2002 was about 10 million.  The current unemployment rate in the state is about 15%, or just under.  In …

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