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News flash – healthcare costs are rising fast

Thought I would remind you of that just in case you forgot. The April Governing magazine notes that State and local spending for health care is rising significantly. Medicaid accounts for the bulk of those expenditures, especially as the costs of long-term care continue to rise. Pointing to a recent study published in Health Affairs policy journal, Governing goes on to assert that fallout from Medicare Part D, the federal government’s prescription drug program, is also contributing to the increase. Private payers are covering fewer health care costs, thus increasing the need for state and local governments to step in. “We are,” the study noted, “moving incrementally away from traditional sources of insurance, such as employer-based coverage, to a system […]

Who will train Portland to love transit?

So, back to Randal O’Toole’s Debunking Portland. Everyone would have to admit that a key goal of the whole Portland effort was to reduce the use of cars. So a couple of decades, if not more, into this experiment and how are we doing? Overall Transit Usage is Down “More than 97 percent of all motorized passenger travel (and virtually all freight movement) in the Portland area is by automobile.” “Portland transit usage grew faster than driving in the 1990s,” but “transit’s share declined in the 1980s, when the region’s first light-rail line was under construction. In 1980 more than 2.6 percent of motorized passenger travel in the Portland area used transit. By 1990, that had fallen to 1.8 percent. […]

Savonarola still wrong: another lesson from the mortgage mess

I lead with a fire-and-brimstone Renaissance preacher partly to make a point, and also to provoke Director Stergios, who I hope will comment in flawless Florentine dialect. This morning’s Globe features a point-counterpoint worthy of Curtin and Belushi. Bruce Marks blames evil lenders for the mortgage crisis; Bruce A. Percelay has it in for evil borrowers. To sum up: America is entering a recession because of the stain on each of our souls. Today’s forecast: Plague, followed by a French army and some locusts. Maybe because they have no boosterish agenda (other than Microsoft’s), MSN Money tends to offer some clear thinking about the macroeconomics behind the news. This Jon Markman piece is based on a discussion with Satyajit Das, […]

Portland is a City that Doesn’t Work?

I walk to work, and I cannot for the life of me understand how people can sit in traffic for hours. I love cars–especially fast cars. Schizophrenic? No, just a pretty even-handed observer of the Smart Growthies’ passion for mass transit and walkable cities and the car-lovers’ and business’ passion for get up and go. I have given up on seeing an absolutely objective narrative of how well or poorly Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary/transit-oriented development experiment has gone. I would note that Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute, long-time resident of Portland and author of the about to be released The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook and Your Future, is as systematic an […]

Shoot, did I miss Bastille Day?

First of all, let me just say how proud I am of my fellow Pioneers: eight, now nine, blog posts in a single day. A new Institute record, I do believe. And let me just also say how honored I am to have inspired two of them, which, I suppose, require me to respond. I was looking forward to posting on the Red Sox’ disappearing lead, but no matter. My own research had led me to believe the ancient Egyptians invented the tie, but I will defer to my learned colleague. Where we agree is in its modern inception: the court of the Sun King. Where we also agree is Jim’s suspicion of my revolutionary tendencies, but, alas, I am […]