A little-noticed section in the $1.5 trillion tax cut that President Trump signed into law late last month is drawing attention from venture capitalists, state government officials and mayors across America. The provision, on Page 130 of the tax overhaul, is an attempt to grapple with a yawning hole in the recovery from the Great […]
If water levels keep falling, Cape Town will declare Day Zero in less than three months. Taps in homes and businesses will be turned off until the rains come. The city’s four million residents will have to line up for water rations at 200 collection points. The city is bracing for the impact on public health and social order.
Even in California, some critics challenge the expansive powers of a board of unelected officials with the authority to set environmental policy. All but two of the board’s 14 voting members are appointed by the governor, and today include a doctor, an almond farmer and a paint company executive. Over the years, CARB has expanded its reach, regulating products as diverse as lawn mowers and bulldozers, air fresheners, paint thinners and even hair and bug spray. It has sent inspectors to Tokyo and Stuttgart, Germany, to monitor the testing of cars manufactured overseas. And it oversees a system of air-quality management districts across California that issue and enforce their own local regulations. The agency is insulated even from state budgetary and legislative pressures. Its $956 million budget comes from user fees, like permits paid by polluters or the fees paid by car owners for smog certification, instead of from the state’s general fund.
Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.
Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.
Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults are married, according to a research brief published today from two think tanks, the American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America. In 1970, about 82 percent of adults were married, and in 1990, about two-thirds were, with little difference based on class and education.
Land-use restrictions are a significant drag on economic growth in the United States. The creeping web of these regulations has smothered wage and gross domestic product growth in American cities by a stunning 50 percent over the past 50 years. Without these regulations, our research shows, the United States economy today would be 9 percent bigger — which would mean, for the average American worker, an additional $6,775 in annual income. For most of the 20th century, workers moved to areas where new industries and opportunities were emerging. This was the locomotive behind American prosperity. Agricultural workers moved from the countryside to booming cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit. In the Great Migration, some six million African-Americans left the South for manufacturing jobs in cities like Chicago and Buffalo. Today, this locomotive of prosperity has broken down. Finance and high-tech companies in cities like New York, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco find it difficult to hire because of the high cost of housing. When an unemployed worker in Detroit today finds a well-paying job in San Francisco, she often cannot afford the cost of housing there.
A review of federal data by The New York Times found that in the United States’ biggest metropolitan areas, low-income housing projects that use federal tax credits — the nation’s biggest source of funding for affordable housing — are disproportionately built in majority nonwhite communities. What this means, fair-housing advocates say, is that the government is essentially helping to maintain entrenched racial divides, even though federal law requires government agencies to promote integration.
On Tuesday, Mr. Ballmer plans to make public a database and a report that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts. The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments.
The profound reordering of New York’s shopping scene reflects a broad restructuring in the American retail industry.
E-commerce players, led by the industry giant Amazon, have made it so easy and fast for people to shop online that traditional retailers, shackled by fading real estate and a culture of selling in stores, are struggling to compete. This shift has been building gradually for years. But economists, retail workers and real estate investors say it appears that it has sped up in recent months.
Between 2010 and 2014, e-commerce grew by an average of $30 billion annually. Over the past three years, average annual growth has increased to $40 billion.
But economists and business groups warn that China’s industrial ambitions have entered a new, far-reaching phase. With its deep government pockets, growing technical sophistication and a comprehensive plan to free itself from dependence on foreign companies, China aims to become dominant in industries of the future like renewable energy, big data and self-driving cars.
With solar, it has already happened. China is now home to two-thirds of the world’s solar-production capacity. The efficiency with which its products convert sunlight into electricity is increasingly close to that of panels made by American, German and South Korean companies. Because China also buys half of the world’s new solar panels, it now effectively controls the market.
The researchers said they were surprised to see very little employment increase in other occupations to offset the job losses in manufacturing. That increase could still happen, they said, but for now there are large numbers of people out of work, with no clear path forward — especially blue-collar men without college degrees.
The jobs that have been disappearing, like machine operator, are predominantly those that men do. The occupations that are growing, like health aide, employ mostly women. . . But while more than a fifth of American men aren’t working, they aren’t running to these new service-sector jobs. Why? They require very different skills, and pay a lot less.
What is happening in Dallas is an extreme example of what’s happening in many other places around the country. Elected officials promised workers solid pensions years ago, on the basis of wishful thinking rather than realistic expectations. Dallas’s troubles have become more urgent because its plan rules let some retirees take big withdrawals.
If there is anything that just about every Californian agrees with, it is that it costs too much to live in the state. Over the last few years, the price of buying a home or renting an apartment has become so burdensome that it pervades almost every issue, from the state’s elevated poverty rate to the debate about multimillion-dollar tear-downs to the lines of recreational vehicles parked on Silicon Valley side streets.
California will have to build about 3.5 million homes over the next eight years, more than triple its current pace of construction, simply to keep up with expected population growth and hold down housing costs to affordable levels. But how could the state actually do it?
“More than a fifth of American men — about 20 million people — between 20 and 65 had no paid work last year. Seven million men between 25 and 55 are no longer even looking for work, twice as many black men as white. There are 20 million men with felony records who are not in jail, with dim prospects of employment, and more of these are black men. Half the men not in the labor force report they are in bad physical or mental health. Men account for only 42 percent of college graduates, handicapping them in a job market that rewards higher levels of education. “