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Showing posts from April, 2008

The Credit Crunch: Our Answer to Suburban Sprawl

Policymakers have been trying to come up with solutions to the problem of suburban sprawl for years; and yet, the solution is so easy and so obvious and is finally now coming to fruition. So how do you stop rich people from fleeing cities for mansions way out in increasingly distant suburbs? Make it too expensive and too inconvenient to commute significant distances on a daily basis. Duh.

NPR ran a great story about home prices in Washington DC. As you can probably guess, the biggest drops in prices occurred in suburbs way outside of the beltway. Some of these suburbs are so far away and so inconvenient that it can take 90+ minutes each way to commute to Downtown Washington. In those places, home prices are double-digit percentage slides, supply is overwhelming the market, fire sale auctions are failing to liquidate the properties, and construction has come to a grinding halt. And interestingly enough, properties in the city of Washington have increased by a median value of 3.2%, and s…

The Case Against McCain’s Tax Free Gasoline Holiday

John McCain’s proposal for creating a “tax free gasoline holiday” is laughably atrocious. I realize that my opening sentence just offended 99 out of 100 average Americans, but allow me to present my argument and take a few moments to think about it before automatically concluding that I’m totally off my rocker.

The economics of gasoline production are painfully complicated and I admit, I possess far from a complete understanding of it. That said, I feel that my knowledge of the subject is strong enough to draw a few basic conclusions. Many Americans don’t know that gasoline and crude oil are distinct commodities. Crude oil is pulled up out of the ground and by itself, is relatively useless. Crude needs to be converted into usable products before we consume it for energy. Oil giants like Valero, Chevron, and BP operate refineries that take crude oil and refine it into gasoline, diesel, kerosene, asphalt, and other useful products.

As demand for products like gasoline grows, refineries ta…

Skybusted

Central Ohio’s economy recently lost one of its favorite new companies as maverick airline Skybus recently announced that it was throwing in the towel, less than a year after taking to the sky. In reality though, the day of reckoning should have been painfully obvious to the casual observer. In fact, a mere 10 months ago, I blogged about the coming demise of this silly maverick airline.

That isn’t to say that Skybus was a complete disaster; in the last month in operation, it edged out Southwest as the busiest carrier at Port Columbus Airport. Of course, its collapse ultimately comes as a big blow not just to Skybus employees, who found themselves abruptly out of work, but also for Columbus travelers, who now find themselves with significantly fewer options for travel out of Port Columbus. Earlier this year, JetBlue decided to ditch the Columbus market entirely, as other carriers reduced service. It isn’t clear if those carriers will pick up Skybus’s slack, but even if they do, the shor…