10/23/2021

News

The 2015 Economic Growth Story is Looking a Lot Like the 2014 Story, So Far

The latest data on U.S. economic output paints a less bleak picture of the economy coming out of the first quarter. But the U.S. appears poised to match last year’s less-than-impressive first half.

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Trade Bill Clears Senate, Moves to White House

The legislation, passed 60-38, will give Mr. Obama “fast track” authority that allows him to submit trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. Negotiators have said that process is crucial to completing the 12-nation trade deal with countries around the Pacific Ocean, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Dan Walters: Reforming CEQA Still Vital Work

Ultimately, however, it [CEQA] became at best a legal morass and at worst a tool of legal extortion, often for motives that have nothing to do with the environment, such as forcing businesses to unionize. And that misuse, in turn, has spawned a form of crony capitalism as governors gained authority to “streamline” the CEQA process for some projects.

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Tired of High Taxes? Maybe It’s Time to Move

A CNBC analysis of tax data and figures provided by two major national moving companies shows that states with the highest per-capita taxes, for the most part, are also seeing the biggest net migration out of those states.

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New Study: Electric Cars May be Worse for the Environment Than Gas-Powered

Electric cars are worse for the environment per mile than comparable gasoline-powered cars, according to a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. This contradicts the common assumption that electric cars are cleaner. In spite of this, the federal government still pays $7,500 for every electric car purchased — a subsidy the nation would be better off without, say the authors.

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Energy-Efficiency Programs “Nudge” Consumers in the Wrong Direction

The study of households who received federal subsidies to “weatherize” their homes found the efficiency investments cost far more than they save. So consumers may not be irrational when they pass up such investments: the programs simply aren’t as beneficial as their promoters think.

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Steven Greenhut: State Takes Aim at Uber’s Business Model

“I first heard the term ‘1099 economy’ at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference, where it was uttered not as a pejorative, but as a way to praise the innovative labor practices of Silicon Valley startups,” wrote Kevin Roose, in New York magazine last year. Ironically, Gov. Jerry Brown has been boasting about California’s economic comeback, using Silicon Valley economy as the prime example. Meanwhile, his agency is clamping down (at least in this one case) on one of the business models causing that region to boom.

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Dan Walters: Will California Use Congestion to Coerce Motorists?

Californians support greenhouse gas reduction. But do they also want the state to compel them to change their lifestyles by parking their cars, jumping aboard trolley cars and bicycles, and trading their single-family homes for denser housing, as the CTP and other state policies assume they must?

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Commentary: Why the Recovery Still Limps Along

Employment, state GDP, labor-law and tax data from 2000 to the present yield two strong lessons. First, a business-friendly climate—market-oriented labor policies and lower taxes—is effective in raising the growth in a state’s gross domestic product and employment. Second, states that suffered the worst employment shocks in the 2007-09 recession had the most rapid postrecession employment growth. This suggests that the weak national recovery cannot be explained by the depth of the recession.

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Dan Walters: California Vocational Education in Danger

Such one-size-fits-all decrees send the message that anyone who doesn’t have, or even seek, a college degree is somehow a lesser person. And it shortchanges those kids who could be well-paid auto mechanics, machine tool operators or computer technicians – or could do countless other jobs that modern society needs done.

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Commentary: How the US Can Return to 4% Growth

History also makes clear that better macroeconomic policies can drive growth. President Reagan’s agenda—tax cuts, regulatory reforms and support of sound monetary policy—are a prominent example. After the deep recession of 1981-82, real GDP growth averaged 4.8% in the next 23 quarters. President Kennedy’s personal income-tax rate cuts in the mid-1960s and President Clinton’s tax reductions on capital accompanied by budget restraint in the late 1990s offer other examples of pro-growth policy improvements.

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Editorial: California’s Uber Raid

Silicon Valley has pioneered the so-called sharing economy with apps that help individuals exchange goods and services. But a decision by California regulators threatens the car-hailing Uber and other sharing start-ups.

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California Adds 54,200 Jobs in May; Unemployment Rate Ticks Up to 6.4%

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the construction industry added jobs at the quickest pace over the past year, at 6.9%, followed by professional and business services at 5.1% and leisure and hospitality at 3.8%. The state’s slowest-growing industries over the past year were manufacturing, which grew jobs at a rate of 0.4%, and financial services, at 1%.

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Development Deals Tied to State Budget Sidestep “Green” Rules

That effort, resisted by environmentalists and powerful labor unions, sputtered out two years ago. Since then, Brown and Democratic lawmakers have instead struck deals giving special consideration to certain projects rather than confront the political difficulties of overhauling the law. . . Because the arrangements are tied to the budget, they are not subject to the lengthy public review process required of most proposals in the Capitol.

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Special Session: Fixing the Potholes

For months, groups representing labor, contractors, local governments, transportation interests and others worked on legislation to revamp the state’s roads and ease the movement of freight at the state’s ports. The bill, which would use the $1 billion collected annually in truck weight fees for road work, awaits action on the Senate floor. The measure may be converted to a special session bill and serve as the centerpiece of the legislative session.

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