Archive for Economy
Here’s some info about employment and housing from Mountain Housing Opportunities. For folks who aren’t aware, “45% of people who work in Buncombe County work within a 3-mile radius of the middle of downtown Asheville (49,690 workers). Of the 49,690 people who work in Asheville’s 3-mile downtown jobs center …
• Almost 23,000 travel over 10 miles to work.
• Over 12,000 travel over 25 miles to work.
• Over 19,000 live outside of Buncombe County.
An employee who commutes 10 miles each way to work and home spends over $2,500 per year in auto costs.”
Click the images to embiggen.
David Forbes has an interesting article in today’s Mountain Xpress regarding a proposed apartment building on Chestnut St. and the underlying issues at work in getting it approved. Many are aware that Asheville has effectively stopped growing geographically. With the loss of annexation, Asheville boundaries will remain fixed for the foreseeable future unless the General Assembly chooses to arbitrarily deannex areas that are now in the city. In order to have revenues keep pace with the ever-rising cost of providing services, we’ll have to grow within our borders. This means more businesses and denser housing in the city. Both require attention to traffic loads and other livability issues.
I don’t know many people who are pro-sprawl, but if we can’t locate affordable housing in the city of Asheville, then we’re going to chew into the open space outside the city, increase commuter traffic on our thoroughfares, increase air pollution in our environment, and deny citizens the opportunity to work their way into the middle class. If we focus on concentrating people of similar income levels then we risk further social stratification that makes cities unhealthy.
I understand and am sensitive to aesthetic concerns, but there is an affordable housing crisis in Asheville that can not be ignored. Mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhoods are going to be a part of our smart-growth future. What we have to do is ensure that density and livability go hand-in-hand. That future invites us all to embrace the fact that we rise and fall together and that hardworking people need places in the city to live. Excerpts from Forbes’ article:
Y’all know that your North Carolina state government is about to lower taxes for the wealthy and big corporate interests while raising taxes for the poor and middle class, right? They’re also going to privatize Medicaid, which will reduce services for the poor. They’re also slashing child care - 31,000 kids are expected to be cut. They’re also doing away with environmental protections. They’re also savaging voting rights. Both the Senate and House versions of the budget are a move towards regressive taxation and underfunded services.
More info to come, but know that the folks at the General Assembly are about to send you the bill for their ALEC ambitions. North Carolina is their new laboratory, and we’re the lab rats.
Here’s a handy, informative powerpoint that illustrates our many challenges and opportunities as a city.
Washington insiders should have let Elizabeth Warren run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where she’d have less of a public forum. Now she’s in the U.S. Senate where she gets to bring the heat to officials who should be protecting the little guy but are not because they’re too busy covering the backsides of the powerful.
An eye-opening set of charts yesterday from Doug Short. For those of us who during the dot-com 90′s foolishly thought we might retire early, this chart explains what happened to that dream: Two burst-bubble economies and the accompanying market selloffs, in part. The data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Click image for cleaner view.
While the LFPR growth for the elderly is the most striking feature in the chart above, we also see a noticeable decline for the youngest cohort. A significant driver of this trend has been the decision to stay in (or go back to) school for more education. Supporting evidence is found in the eye-popping growth of student loan debt, especially since the onset of the Great Recession. To be sure, some of that trend is accounted for by older cohorts heading back to school in hopes of improving their employment prospects.
All of you know it’s tough out there. See Short’s compilation for just how tough. Americans are working longer and harder than any other industrialized country, even as the right blathers about how if you’re struggling, you’re lazy.
“They say they got where they are by working 60 hours a week for years,” my friend said (I’m paraphrasing). “They made it and they don’t see why they should pay anything to help other people who did not.”
It is a message my friend hears from doctors he knows. (This was one of those intense bar conversations, rapid-fire and wide-ranging. The kind you wish you had recorded to review again later.)
But the “I made it. Why can’t you?” view of capitalism is history written by the victors, isn’t it? An oversimplified success formula derived from too few data points, from too small a sample. We see the same kind of myopic analysis in the nation’s capital. From wealthy politicians surrounded by wealthy donors and wealthy lobbyists. Georgetown cocktail parties, high-dollar fundraiser dinners. When you and the people you hang with are all successful and rich, it is easy to question why everyone else is not. The problem must be them. That’s it, the poor are just lazy.
Obama destroys the economy (again): Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February. Unemployment rate drops to 7.7%. Dow hits all-time high (again). Simpson-Bowles and the Austerians (Hey, great band name!) order their priests to throw poor people into the volcano to appease the Market gods.
“How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this … What does it take to get you to move towards even a hearing? Even considering shutting down banking operations for money laundering?”
Where is the line? Sorry, that’s Justice. Treasury will not even speculate. Treasury has no opinion. Not their job to even have one.