March 21, 2013

The Three Ts Are Proving to Be About Ruling Class Insulation

Justin Katz

What are Governor Lincoln Chafee's three Ts of economic development, again? Is it talent, technocrats, and tolerance? Or is it technology, tolerance, and twee ideological fashion? It can be so difficult to keep these gimmicky strategies straight.

This particular strategy is also turning out to be difficult to make work. In fact, it may just be a description of a handful of cities that chance made "hip," rather than a workable, replicable strategy for turning around any given city. Indeed — as should probably be expected when we give broad authority to powerful people to plan the society in which everybody will live — it appears that pursuing a "creative class" strategy tends to produce the sorts of communities that serve powerful people and the cool folks with whom they like to hang out.

Continue reading on the Ocean State Current...

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Wow, mark that date on your calendar. Justin argues that trickle-down economic schemes are a failure. You righties don't have anything to say about that?

Personally and as a homeowner in Providence let me say that worries about rising property values are the least of our concerns. We should be so lucky (and support creation of affordable housing).

Posted by: Russ at March 21, 2013 9:25 AM

Ha! The perfect response from Russ. (Psst: the fact that a particular strategy doesn't "trickle down" doesn't mean that no strategies do.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at March 21, 2013 9:29 AM

I think the city should build some "affordable housing" right next to Russ's property. Fill it with homeless alcoholics, illegal immigrants, halfway-house convicts and all the other groups progressives claim to be concerned about. Let's see what happens to Russ's property value then and how long he sticks around. My guess is about as long as it took him to place his own children in a literally gated, affluent, lily-white private school instead of investing them in the grand public education experiment that everyone else's kids should have to suffer through according to his RIFuture advocacy pieces.

Posted by: Dan at March 21, 2013 10:04 AM

Hehe, we have quite a bit of that in my neighborhood. I attended the neighbor planning charettes where there was universal support among those present for those types of services. Open Doors is a particularly good although I see they've moved to Silver Lake.

I wanted to comment on this one... "As Florida admits, the necessary zoning restrictions of a planned economy hobble the ability of upwardly mobile families to make the necessary space for life and for work." The irony is that in Providence it was the so called Working Waterfront that objected to easing the zoning restrictions to allow mixed use.

As well as this one... "Indeed in many ways the Floridian focus on industries like entertainment, software, and social media creates a distorted set of economic priorities. The creatives, after all, generally don’t work in factories or warehouses." Medtech firms like Ximedica ( are in fact bringing manufacting jobs back to the city.

Posted by: Russ at March 21, 2013 1:36 PM

btw, interesting reading in the links.

Posted by: russ at March 21, 2013 1:54 PM

Recommended reading for anyone who cares about balancing entrepreneurialism with shared economic opportunity...

"Start-Up City: Growing New York City's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for All"

I'd read this before, but it's probably worth another read.

Posted by: Russ at March 21, 2013 2:53 PM

I don't understand what progressives mean when they say housing is too expensive. Absent government intervention, rents are what people are willing to pay for them. Almost all economists - including progressive idol Krugman - agree that rent controls are destructive. Artificially creating a consumer surplus on housing is wasteful and creates all sorts of problems.

Posted by: Dan at March 21, 2013 3:34 PM

It's actually pretty funny to be on this side of the issue over here (pro gentrification if you will). I'm used to having this argument over on RIF.

btw, Dan, this is just down the street from me...

Posted by: Russ at March 21, 2013 4:18 PM

Good luck, Russ. Hopefully it won't end up the same way virtually all public housing ends up.

I had an interview with HUD in 2010. Their sales pitch to new hires essentially amounts to an apology for decades of mismanagement and poor policy leading to dependency. Their offer was very generous. I didn't accept the job.

Posted by: Dan at March 21, 2013 5:26 PM

Dan, my experience with HUD. I can remember when it started out. They opened store front offices in "improving neighborhoods". Individuals could walk in with a P&S and arrange for financing or both purchase and renovation. "Improving neighborhoods" became "gentrification" and it became apparent that blacks were being displaced. So, all that came to an end.

Then they refused to deal with individuals, catering only to "non-profits".

Then their regulations became so thick that an average, bright, person could not comprehend them. So, "HUD Consultants" appeared, including retired Senator Brooke. Shortly, they were all being indicted and sent to jail. Sen. Brooke was not indicted, remaining an "unidicted co-conspirator". Recently a Boston Federal Building was named after him.

Around this time I took an interest in them. I went to see them seeking an explanation of one of their programs. I was given short shrift and told to "hire a consultant". I explained that they were all in jail, I was escorted out. This would have been the middle to late 90's.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at March 21, 2013 11:38 PM

Ah, here we go. Florida's concern is a valid one, but as I said among the least of our concerns in RI...

Providence has been named one of the most dangerous markets for real estate investors. HomeVestors of America along with Local Market Monitor has ranked 38 markets as "dangerous" for those looking to buy homes as rental properties. Providence ranks number-26 and is the largest city on the list.

HomeVestors President Ingo Winzer says cities with a “dangerous” rating have a combination of high unemployment or weak job growth as well as falling, or weak, home prices.

Rising home prices and high paying jobs for college grads? Bring it on. We'd be lucky to have the "problems" experienced in NYC (see link above).

Posted by: Russ at March 22, 2013 9:39 AM

Agreed, Russ. It's a crime what the RIFuture-endorsed politicians in the General Assembly have done to Rhode Island's economy.

Posted by: Dan at March 22, 2013 9:54 AM

Apologize for the off-topic, but I just want to note it has now been over 96 hours since Bob Plain promised me that he would provide a recording of Gina Raimondo's remarks at the bond conference to prove he didn't misquote her to the governor in a public video on RIFuture, as I am almost certain he did.

Posted by: Dan at March 22, 2013 2:22 PM
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