It’s Real Estate

September 30, 2009

With unemployment approaching 10% and underemployment almost 17%, many pundits are reviving James Carville’s phrase used during Clinton’s 1992 election campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Many government actions are being directed to reverse the trends: government stimulus, record low interest rates, and major backstopping of the financial system by the Federal Reserve and Treasury. Yet there are no signs of unemployment falling or major job creation.

 

Get rid of bad, non-productive assets and build good assets – PARKS

September 15, 2009

As a country, we don’t need to accept the status quo. We can get rid of bad, non-productive assets and build good assets – PARKS. We can use the mistakes of the past ten years to create a legacy for the next 100 years. We can build parks!!! A $1 trillion federal program, say $200 billion a year, to buy underutilized properties and build parks would accomplish some major goals that the country is trying to address separately: ...

 

Railroads and Commercial Real Estate

September 1, 2009

Drive around the cities of this country and what do you see: empty stores, vacant lots, acres of asphalt sitting unused. And, if you’re not driving, just check out deadmalls.com on the internet to get a feel for the issue. This country has a commercial real estate oversupply problem. Bernanke recently admitted this, "As the recession's gotten worse in the last six months or so, we're seeing increased vacancy, declining rents, falling prices, and so, more pressure on commercial real estate." So, what can the current commercial real estate crisis learn from the railroad industry? Plenty.

 
 
 

Parking Our Excess Construction

July 28, 2009

The housing bubble has left the U.S. with an excess supply of over 2 million homes; 19 million are vacant. With fewer households being formed due to the recession, demand for housing has dropped at the same time.

This imbalance of supply and demand has resulted in plunging home prices, destroying many homeowners' savings or pushing them out of their homes. Owning your own home – the prime solid, stable asset of the middle class for decades – became a volatile, speculative "investment" that ruined many families' lives.

 

Let’s Bag Bastiat and Build Parks

June 23, 2009

In the 1830’s, the French economist Claude Frédéric Bastiat outlined a parable about a shopkeeper’s windows that can be summarized: don’t break windows to keep glaziers employed. He said, “if you come to the conclusion that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, "Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen."

 

An Interstate Urban/Suburban Park System

February 5, 2009

The Interstate Highway System was a transformational federal government program proposed by President Eisenhower. It was started in the 1950's and now has a total length of over 46,000 miles, making it both the largest highway system in the world and the largest public works project in history. The Interstate Highways received substantial federal funding (90% federal and 10% state) for their construction and complied with federal standards, developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The highways themselves are owned, built, and operated by the states or toll authorities.