The San Francisco City Planning Department is revising its housing plan, and there's a lot of indignation on the west side of town. See, the Housing Element of the city's General Plan calls for a little bit of increased density in some of the neighborhoods that have fought density for years.Read more »
Calling for painful spending cuts, it turns out, is the easy part. Calling for relatively painless tax increases requires real political courage.
— The New York Times, March 13
The Times is hardly a crazy socialist rag; it's always been the voice of the establishment, more Democrat than Republican but never even close to radical. The Gray Lady certainly can't be accused of fomenting class warfare.Read more »
I've been trying to think of a good metaphor for the public-employee pension story, a way to explain what's going on without making it so complicated that it becomes a battle of political slogans. Here's what I've come up with.Read more »
"Taxes," Warren Hellman told me last week, "are the third rail of American politics." The billionaire financier was talking about my Feb. 16 column. I complained that Hellman and a group working on reforming San Francisco's pension system were asking city employees to take more cuts — but nobody ever seems to ask the rich to take cuts.Read more »
In a heartwarming Valentine's Day blog, Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, talks about an old cartoon that ran in the 1980s showing Democrats trying to develop a centrist economic policy that cut spending on social programs. "How is this different from Republicans?" one Democrat asks. The answer: "We care about the victims of our policies."Read more »
I had fun with the state budget the other day. The Sacramento Bee has a pretty good online simulation that lets you pick programs to cut and revenues to raise to see if you can get rid of a $26.4 billion deficit, and I gave it a shot. It took me exactly seven minutes to turn the red ink into a $2.1 billion surplus. Read more »