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The End of Suburbia


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Affordable? Suburbs are a huge drain on resources as has been stated before.

Billions around the world live happily in apartments you've been in houston too long to understand that

It might be a huge drain, but it's a drain the people who live in the burbs choose to make.

Billions also live in apartments cause they don't have any other choice.

You keep mentioning subsidies, to which subsidies do you speak?

Interestingly, on a tangential, but not completely different subject for conspiracy...

The making and selling of alcohol was made illegal soon after the model t was introduced. One of the features of the model t was that it also ran on ethanol. Ford discontinued the 'flex fuel' model t years later, and shortly after prohibition was repealed... Some draw lines between these events and standard oil, which was big oil at the time....

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I was going to post comments about this today, but then last night I had a revelation.   I realized that I had been brainwashed by General Motors, the Federal Government, and the Oil Companies.  I n

OK - I've watched the documentary and I'm going to put out a few disclaimers in advance of my comments. I am a registered Democrat, a believer in global warming and a long time backpacker and outdoor

Gloomy predictions of the future are never wrong and must be taken seriously. If you don't believe me you are in denial. You can face it or stick your thick head in the sand. This point can not be deb

Streetcars broke down with depressing regularity.

So do buses...

Sure, you say it, but that doesn't make it true. You say lots of things of dubious value.

Building sprawling neighborhoods in the middle of nothing doesn't take enormous amounts of resources?

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So do buses...

Building sprawling neighborhoods in the middle of nothing doesn't take enormous amounts of resources?

 

Actually, compared to midrises and highrises, no, it doesn't. You could do a tiny amount of research and come to that conclusion easily. Look at the price of midrise and highrise condos. They are priced at several hundred dollars per square foot. Some of that is land, but since they are multifloor buildings the land cost is divided several times. Houses in the burbs are often built at prices as low as $50 or $60 per square foot.

 

Why is that? Well, multifloor buildings must have thicker foundations. After a few floors, the frames must be constructed of steel or steel reinforced concrete. They must have parking garages constructed out of concrete. They must have elevators. Suburban homes do not need any of these things. Even oversized homes often cost less to build than small condos.

 

So, no, sprawling suburbs are not nearly as wasteful as dense highrise construction.

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I'm not a huge fan of the streetcar.  It's annoying when cities newly construct historic streetcars (Dallas comes to mind).  It seems like a waste.  At least make them modern like the ones in Seattle. 

 

In the 30s/40s, instead of ripping up all the streetcar tracks, they should have ripped up most of them and consolidated a few lines into a tunnel downtown and elevated elsewhere.  That would have provided a great framework for a superior rail technology.   

 

If Boston could tunnel under the Harbor in 1910, then surely we could have made a short tunnel section downtown in the 30s/40s. 

 

Oh and about suburbs vs. apartments, both methods drain resources.  However I'd imagine that building large amounts of suburban neighborhoods would require a bit more government subsidy for the roads, utilities, etc. simply because of the lower density and greater land area of the suburbs.  While apartments and highrises might have a higher initial infrastructure cost, people are literally on top of one another so it's a much larger tax base. 

 

It'd be interesting to see a study on government subsidies for suburban vs. urban living and the rate of taxpayer return. 

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Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Total revisionist history. Watch the film "Taken For A Ride." I think it was on PBS but you can find it on youtube now.

Ah yes, because if a movie was made about it, then it must be true. Sounds like we're revisiting the peak oil conversation.

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If you read about the demise of Houston streetcars, you'd find that the reason they switched from streetcars to buses is because it got too expensive to build new streetcar lines. If streetcars were already losing money, what makes you think that they could afford to build tunnels and elevated tracks?

 

Now, let's talk about these "government subsidies" that you and Slick keep talking about, but never describe. There are none. Modern subdivisions are built by developers. They create Municipal Utility Districts to finance the building of water and sewer lines. Streets are built by the developer to county specifications and donated to the county. Do subsidies pay for the water and sewer districts? Nope. Homeowners within the MUD districts pay taxes and water bills to pay off the bonds. There are no subsidies. The homeowners pay for everything.

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If you read about the demise of Houston streetcars, you'd find that the reason they switched from streetcars to buses is because it got too expensive to build new streetcar lines. If streetcars were already losing money, what makes you think that they could afford to build tunnels and elevated tracks?

 

I'd imagine that they'd get funds from the federal government.  I don't know if streetcars in cities like Boston, Chicago, etc. lost money or not but I'd imagine they did.  The technology was inefficient. 

 

Now, let's talk about these "government subsidies" that you and Slick keep talking about, but never describe. There are none. Modern subdivisions are built by developers. They create Municipal Utility Districts to finance the building of water and sewer lines. Streets are built by the developer to county specifications and donated to the county. Do subsidies pay for the water and sewer districts? Nope. Homeowners within the MUD districts pay taxes and water bills to pay off the bonds. There are no subsidies. The homeowners pay for everything.

 

First of all, let me start off by saying that I am *not* against suburbs or suburban development.  I think suburbs are a great aspect to any city, the ability to own a house and a yard for cheap is something most people would love to have.  Personally, I prefer a more urban environment, but a well-done suburban community is certainly nice. 

 

However, there are government subsidies to the major highways that serve suburban communities. And then you have the mortgage incentives to move out into the suburbs that went on for many decades.  Tax breaks such as this are similar to the downtown residential tax incentive. 

 

I realize that townships locally fund many street improvements and utilities from their taxpayers, I was just saying that it would be less efficient than a denser community.  Mathematically to me it would seem that suburbs are less efficient in regards to resources such as roads, utilities etc.  It just seems like cramming people into small spaces would increase efficiency.  Much like cramming people onto a bus would increase the bus's efficiency as opposed to only a few people on a bus. 

 

I realize I need to do more research though.  But your comment about dense built up neighborhoods puzzles me because wouldn't the same thing you said about suburbs apply to densely populated areas?  Such as taxpayers and homeowners paying for everything? 

 

I wouldn't say suburbs are more subsidized than inner city areas, but I don't think that they are subsidized any less either. 

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Are you really arguing that without the so-called government subsidies you keep harping about, every last American would have chosen to live in an apartment in the center of every large city in the United States? That's ridiculous. You are implying that Houston probably would not extend past the Loop, and we would all be happy with out cramped quarters and tiny stores that carry very little in the way of useful products.

This is why I brought up the comparison to Melbourne earlier in the thread. Melbourne is, in a lot of ways, a mirror to Houston. Very similar size and density, but Australia is very pro-transit and very concerned about carbon footprint. Melbourne has what I think most people would consider to be a pretty comprehensive public transportation network.

But despite that, Melbourne has developed in a somewhat similar fashion to Houston. There's a lot of sprawl, traffic congestion is a problem, they have found it necessary to build a lot of highways, and they've been plagued by low use of the transit system. So basically, in Melbourne, none of the things that should be "fixed" by public transit have as commonly suggested, have happened. People have still chosen to move to the suburbs and chosen cars, despite a pro-transit, carbon-conscious government.

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However, there are government subsidies to the major highways that serve suburban communities. And then you have the mortgage incentives to move out into the suburbs that went on for many decades.  Tax breaks such as this are similar to the downtown residential tax incentive. 

 

I realize that townships locally fund many street improvements and utilities from their taxpayers, I was just saying that it would be less efficient than a denser community.  Mathematically to me it would seem that suburbs are less efficient in regards to resources such as roads, utilities etc.  It just seems like cramming people into small spaces would increase efficiency.  Much like cramming people onto a bus would increase the bus's efficiency as opposed to only a few people on a bus. 

 

The mortgage tax incentives are available to anyone who has a mortgage. They are not restricted to only those folks who live in a suburb - the residents of 2121 Kirby get to deduct their mortgage interest, just like the new home buyer in the Woodlands.. For those people who live in rented accommodation, the mortgage break goes to the landlord, if he has borrowed to build.

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Billions around the world live happily in apartments you've been in Houston too long to understand that

 

You don't know me, and you don't know where I've lived and worked. Nearly everyone I know who works in London lives in the suburbs because they want a house with a yard and a garage. The fact that the suburbs have cheaper housing  helps.  As for transport, some of those living in the suburbs of London use rail (which has been in place for well over 100 years), but most of them drive to avoid long commutes in crowded trains. They don't save any time by driving, but they are far happier having their own space. This was also true when I lived in London in the 70's, and when I worked there in the 90's.

 

When I lived in Bangkok, we had an apartment, because that was what the company provided. The Thais I worked with mostly lived in apartments, but dreamed of being able to buy a villa, which they all did at the first opportunity so they wouldn't have to live in their neighbor's armpit.

 

Most people live in apartments because that's what is available, not because it makes them happier.

 

.

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The technology was inefficient. 

 

Well, you said it. I didn't. GM didn't kill off streetcars. Inefficiency did. Be sure to tell that to Slick.

 

First of all, let me start off by saying that I am *not* against suburbs or suburban development.  I think suburbs are a great aspect to any city, the ability to own a house and a yard for cheap is something most people would love to have.  Personally, I prefer a more urban environment, but a well-done suburban community is certainly nice. 

 

However, there are government subsidies to the major highways that serve suburban communities. And then you have the mortgage incentives to move out into the suburbs that went on for many decades.  Tax breaks such as this are similar to the downtown residential tax incentive. 

 

I realize that townships locally fund many street improvements and utilities from their taxpayers, I was just saying that it would be less efficient than a denser community.  Mathematically to me it would seem that suburbs are less efficient in regards to resources such as roads, utilities etc.  It just seems like cramming people into small spaces would increase efficiency.  Much like cramming people onto a bus would increase the bus's efficiency as opposed to only a few people on a bus. 

 

I realize I need to do more research though.  But your comment about dense built up neighborhoods puzzles me because wouldn't the same thing you said about suburbs apply to densely populated areas?  Such as taxpayers and homeowners paying for everything? 

 

I wouldn't say suburbs are more subsidized than inner city areas, but I don't think that they are subsidized any less either. 

 

I agree completely about suburbs. In fact, I believe every person on this forum agrees...except for one person. I prefer living inside the loop also, but I do not begrudge those who like to sit on the patio and stare at their manicured patch of grass. However, if you consider mortgage deductions a government subsidy, then consider that the more expensive condos in the inner city are subsidized MORE than the cheaper suburban homes. And, as pointed out earlier, if everyone gets the subsidy you cannot say that it is a suburban one.

 

Now, the argument about highways is more complex. The highways are actually connecting two cities. They would be there even without the suburbs. However, they allow people to reach the suburbs quicker. But, consider that the highways are paid for with gasoline taxes or toll road fees. They are not really subsidized by government. They are paid for using the taxes on the gasoline used to drive on them. Slick's claim of government subsidy to the suburbs is really dishonest, as he ignores that those same subsidies go to inner city dwellers.

 

Do you know where the REAL government subsidies go? DOWNTOWN! Houston, Dallas and many other cities desperate to revive their downtowns and increase the number of residents are pumping millions of dollars into renovating old buildings or building new ones. Dallas has spent hundreds of millions. You don't hear Slick talking about these subsidies, only imaginary subsidies to suburbs. Don't buy it. It is not true.

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Because suburbs were affordable, but this was only because of government subsidies.

 

it's pretty obvious you don't believe the expenditure of taxpayer $$$ to build or expand communities differs from the expenditure of taxpayer $$$ to support some specific product, industry, or endeavor that otherwise would be non-competitive in its market.

 

there are innumerable benefits to the entire population of a community of any size that follow from laying infrastructure that supports "local" socioeconomic activity - including the building of housing in whatever form.

 

the insanely rapid growth of the suburb/cities of Katy, Pearland, Humble, Conroe, etc has destroyed thousands of acres of previously useful (in the environmental & agricultural sense) coastal prairie.

 

in return we (all) get insanely rapid growth of jobs as all of the economic activity niches get filled - construction workers, doctors, lawyers, barbers, restaurants, retail stores of every kind - the list is long.

 

 

of course your condemnation of "government subsidies" for suburban infrastructure rings a bit hollow since you favor even greater government subsidies for urban infrastructure if and only if that infrastructure includes 2 steel rails and some overhead electrical lines.

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Slick's claim of government subsidy to the suburbs is really dishonest, as he ignores that those same subsidies go to inner city dwellers.

 

I'm talking about how the suburbs were created in the first place. I don't begrudge the people who live there, they want their "American Dream," good for them. But the fact of the matter is this was a manufactured dream by the federal government, GM, and developers. People were led to live there due to favorable circumstances created by powerful forces. If you don't believe that you are in total denial and uneducated on what went on in the 1950's. As far as today, funding for schools is still heavily biased, there is a reason schools in suburbs are better. I'd advise you do further research before making outlandish statements on that as well. You and livincinco and Ross can try to bully me into silence but it won't work. Particularly you and Ross, as senior citizens you should be ashamed for acting like children, livincinco is at least respectable.

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I'm talking about how the suburbs were created in the first place. I don't begrudge the people who live there, they want their "American Dream," good for them. But the fact of the matter is this was a manufactured dream by the federal government, GM, and developers. People were led to live there due to favorable circumstances created by powerful forces. If you don't believe that you are in total denial and uneducated on what went on in the 1950's. As far as today, funding for schools is still heavily biased, there is a reason schools in suburbs are better. I'd advise you do further research before making outlandish statements on that as well. You and livincinco and Ross can try to bully me into silence but it won't work. Particularly you and Ross, as senior citizens you should be ashamed for acting like children, livincinco is at least respectable.

 

But you are also in total denial about the fact that there was a clear trend in people migrating out of the cities and into suburban communities that dates back to the late 1900's.  To use the Houston specific example, the Heights were essentially the first "planned community" in Houston.  Created by a business developer that encouraged people to move out of the city and into an area where they could have their own house in a community with wider streets, parks, and the feel of a small town.  There was tremendous consumer acceptance of that idea.  I don't know why it isn't reasonable to accept that what happened after World War II was an extension of the changes in American lifestyle that happened during the 1900's and 1920's.

 

If you look at the patterns of the 20th century in America, you're going to find that there's continuous outbound expansion of cities to outlying areas, pretty much starting at the turn of the century.  The time periods that you're holding up as examples are exceptions to the trend, not the general rule and all of those exceptions occurred during times of significant stagnation of individual wealth.

 

The 1910's - World War I

The 1930's - The Great Depression

The 1940's - World War II

 

When the US left the 16 year stagnation of income growth that the combination of the Great Depression and World War II created, the trends of the 1920s reasserted themselves and people continued to move outward from the cities.  Average household income exploded and people chose accordingly.

 

So what's happening now?  We had a sixty year run of economic growth which was characterized by expansion into areas surrounding cities.  We followed that with the worst recession since the 1930's and as suburban expansion slowed, it became a move "back into cities".  Now that the economy is recovering, the outlying areas are expanding rapidly again. 

 

It's the exact same trend as we saw throughout the 20th century.

 

The same thing is true with the "GM Conspiracy".  Look at how the railroads were established and how the streetcars were established.  They are all characterized by somewhat ruthless elimination of competition to establish market share.  That's the way business works.  You can look at pretty much any major industry and see the same thing at work.

 

EDIT - added a link to the historical overview of the Heights from the Houston Heights Association.  I just don't see the difference between the way the Heights developed and the way that planned communities such as The Woodlands and Cinco Ranch have developed except for in areas that are appropriate the historical context.

 

http://www.houstonheights.org/overview.htm

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I find it interesting that you of all people are now throwing insults at Ross and I when your manufactured argument is picked apart. Wasn't it you who cried to the moderators that you were being insulted and picked upon? And now, here you are, backed into a corner, lashing out with insults because the foundation of your argument has been obliterated. Acting like children, indeed.

 

Here is why your argument is an utter failure. You take the end result of massive expansion of the suburbs and jump to the conclusion that no one would have moved there unless tricked or forced to do so. You ignore the economic realities that people go where they want to be when they can afford it. You also completely ignore history. You claim that the government and GM caused the move to the suburbs in the 1950s, yet ignore that Houston suburbs have added most of their population since the 1970s, well after your conspiracy. You completely ignore the overwhelming reason for the growth of the suburbs...White Flight. GM did not empty out the inner cities. Black people did. Look at Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Dallas. Cities across the country emptied out from the 50s through the 1980s, even into the 1990s. Only in the 2000s did whites begin to migrate back toward the inner cities.

 

Did developers force the whites to the suburbs? Hell no! Developers do not shape public policy. They capitalize on it. As they saw the mood of the residents change, they began to build what the fleeing white families wanted, cheap housing with a yard in the suburbs. As the roads and highways around the cities clogged with commuters, governments did what governments do. They attempted to relieve the congestion. They've been doing it ever since.

 

Now, I know that you and the true believers that you read want to make this into an evil government and corporate conspiracy, and there is a conspiracy. Unfortunately, it is a conspiracy of bigotry. You should read about it. You might learn something. What you'll learn is that GM did not create the suburbs. The inner city did.

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But you are also in total denial about the fact that there was a clear trend in people migrating out of the cities and into suburban communities that dates back to the late 1900's. To use the Houston specific example, the Heights were essentially the first "planned community" in Houston. Created by a business developer that encouraged people to move out of the city and into an area where they could have their own house in a community with wider streets, parks, and the feel of a small town. There was tremendous consumer acceptance of that idea. I don't know why it isn't reasonable to accept that what happened after World War II was an extension of the changes in American lifestyle that happened during the 1900's and 1920's.

If you look at the patterns of the 20th century in America, you're going to find that there's continuous outbound expansion of cities to outlying areas, pretty much starting at the turn of the century. The time periods that you're holding up as examples are exceptions to the trend, not the general rule and all of those exceptions occurred during times of significant stagnation of individual wealth.

The 1910's - World War I

The 1930's - The Great Depression

The 1940's - World War II

When the US left the 16 year stagnation of income growth that the combination of the Great Depression and World War II created, the trends of the 1920s reasserted themselves and people continued to move outward from the cities. Average household income exploded and people chose accordingly.

So what's happening now? We had a sixty year run of economic growth which was characterized by expansion into areas surrounding cities. We followed that with the worst recession since the 1930's and as suburban expansion slowed, it became a move "back into cities". Now that the economy is recovering, the outlying areas are expanding rapidly again.

It's the exact same trend as we saw throughout the 20th century.

The same thing is true with the "GM Conspiracy". Look at how the railroads were established and how the streetcars were established. They are all characterized by somewhat ruthless elimination of competition to establish market share. That's the way business works. You can look at pretty much any major industry and see the same thing at work.

EDIT - added a link to the historical overview of the Heights from the Houston Heights Association. I just don't see the difference between the way the Heights developed and the way that planned communities such as The Woodlands and Cinco Ranch have developed except for in areas that are appropriate the historical context.

http://www.houstonheights.org/overview.htm

The reason there is consumer acceptance is because subsidization makes it affordable and the school funding bias which makes suburban schools more attractive. Let's make it a fair playing field and see how many people live in the burbs. People go for what's cheap.

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I find it interesting that you of all people are now throwing insults at Ross and I when your manufactured argument is picked apart. Wasn't it you who cried to the moderators that you were being insulted and picked upon? And now, here you are, backed into a corner, lashing out with insults because the foundation of your argument has been obliterated. Acting like children, indeed.

Here is why your argument is an utter failure. You take the end result of massive expansion of the suburbs and jump to the conclusion that no one would have moved there unless tricked or forced to do so. You ignore the economic realities that people go where they want to be when they can afford it. You also completely ignore history. You claim that the government and GM caused the move to the suburbs in the 1950s, yet ignore that Houston suburbs have added most of their population since the 1970s, well after your conspiracy. You completely ignore the overwhelming reason for the growth of the suburbs...White Flight. GM did not empty out the inner cities. Black people did. Look at Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Dallas. Cities across the country emptied out from the 50s through the 1980s, even into the 1990s. Only in the 2000s did whites begin to migrate back toward the inner cities.

Did developers force the whites to the suburbs? Hell no! Developers do not shape public policy. They capitalize on it. As they saw the mood of the residents change, they began to build what the fleeing white families wanted, cheap housing with a yard in the suburbs. As the roads and highways around the cities clogged with commuters, governments did what governments do. They attempted to relieve the congestion. They've been doing it ever since.

Now, I know that you and the true believers that you read want to make this into an evil government and corporate conspiracy, and there is a conspiracy. Unfortunately, it is a conspiracy of bigotry. You should read about it. You might learn something. What you'll learn is that GM did not create the suburbs. The inner city did.

First I don't appreciate your condescending tone, you're not a better human being than me and should speak respectfully even though you disagree instead of talking like an elder schoolmaster. Secondly I do agree with the white flight but again just because whites want to leave doesn't mean that they can just get up and go; a system was set up to give them everything they wanted. Do you think the people in charge cared? Absolutely not. They wanted money. GM wanted its auto to take over, developers wanted free reign to develop and politicians wanted bribes. This is what happened. The fact people got their house and yard is just a side effect.

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First I don't appreciate your condescending tone, you're not a better human being than me and should speak respectfully even though you disagree instead of talking like an elder schoolmaster. 

 

Well, well, well. Look who feels insulted. Let's review what you said first...

 

 

 If you don't believe that you are in total denial and uneducated on what went on in the 1950's.

 

 

 I'd advise you do further research before making outlandish statements on that as well.

 

 

Particularly you and Ross, as senior citizens you should be ashamed for acting like children,

 

That kind of rhetoric sounds pretty condescending too, do n't you think? It seems that you can dish out the insults, but you can't take it. And, when your arguments get shot down, you claim you've been insulted to change the subject. My suggestion is to stay on topic and refrain from insults in order to not be insulted yourself.

 

Now, let's move on to your debunked "subsidization" claim, shall we? You stated this in your post...

 

 

The reason there is consumer acceptance is because subsidization makes it affordable and the school funding bias which makes suburban schools more attractive. Let's make it a fair playing field and see how many people live in the burbs. People go for what's cheap.

 

OK, let's make it fair. How about we make suburban Cy-Fair's tax rate $1.45 per $100 valuation. Let's make Katy's tax rate $1.52 per $100 valuation. Does that sound fair? Now, let's make inner city HISD's tax rate $1.15 per $100 valuation. That should be a great subsidy for the suburbs...oh, wait. What? HISD's tax rate is over 20% lower than the suburbs? How can that be? I thought the suburbs were subsidized? What? HISD also gets the benefit of taxes on all of the downtown skyscrapers, and much of the ship channel industry? Whoa! How can that be? I was told that the suburbs got subsidized!

 

Maybe things are not what they seem. Maybe those transit bloggers are feeding us a lie.

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Streetcars broke down with depressing regularity.


So do buses...

 

Except in the case of streetcars, you can't sit tight while another bus comes up (and buses don't break down as often), you'd have to get out and push.

 

 

GM wanted its auto to take over, developers wanted free reign to develop and politicians wanted bribes. This is what happened. The fact people got their house and yard is just a side effect.

 

Actually, before the automobile, only the very wealthy had homes outside of town (remember, downtowns being dirty, old, crowded, run-down, etc.). The automobile enabled people who weren't quite as wealthy to have similar luxuries. How is this a bad thing?

 

Billions around the world live happily in apartments you've been in houston too long to understand that

 

People live where there's jobs, and often live in cramped and run-down apartments. Have you actually ever interviewed a small fraction of these billions of people who live happily in these apartments? To me, this sounds like the "happy slaves" nonsense that the pre-Civil War South tried to promote.

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The most fundamental problem with the suburbs is that they are inefficient. The spatial distance between people means that it takes more time and more energy for people to stay connected in the physical world, whether that means a longer commute to work or longer trips to the grocery store. This adds up over time.

This inherent inefficiency of suburbs that requires more resources to do the same work of connecting people to one another means that suburban residents cause a lot of waste. They consume more gasoline because they need to travel further and buy more cars because they seldom have alternatives.

Suburbs also require more infrastructure; they require more roads, more sewer lines, more electricity lines, more everything. Every business or government decision that caters to the suburbs is likewise more expensive.

The existence of suburban and exurban communities is predicated on the abundance of cheap fuel, meaning gasoline. The suburbanization of America therefore has huge implications for our foreign policy. Many of our military expenditures are directed toward maintaining this cheap energy supply that suburban lifestyles require.

Our various wars, occupations, and military presence in the Middle East have cost us trillions. It’s true that some of this was spent in reaction to terrorism, but then we need to ask why we’re targets of terrorism in the first place. It’s certainly not because Muslims “hate us for us for our freedom,” as we’re sometimes told. The real reason is that it’s a reaction to our imperialist occupation policies, policies that exist in large measure because Americans, especially those in suburbs, demand cheap gasoline.

Besides making the wider world a more dangerous place, suburbs are themselves more dangerous than cities. It may seem counterintuitive to say that suburbs are dangerous; many people move to the suburbs precisely because they consider them a haven of safety. However, this idea is based almost entirely on perceptions of crime, and fails to take other factors into account. Consider, for instance, that more than 40,000 Americans die in car accidents per year and that suburban residents do vastly more driving than residents of cities do. In contrast, the CDC reported 18,361 homicides in 2008.

Many people assume that suburban growth is simply an outcome of the free market. Nothing could be further from the truth. The suburbs have grown as a result of vast subsidies.

A study released earlier this year by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that since 1947, the amount of money the government spent building and maintaining highways, roads, and streets has exceeded the amount raised by all “user fees” combined, including gasoline taxes, toll roads, and motor vehicle taxes.

Today, these user fees comprise less than half of construction and maintenance expenses for the nation’s roadworks. That doesn’t even take into account the hidden costs on health and the environment caused by the pollution from driving.

A second way suburbs are subsidized is through what’s known as the mortgage income tax deduction, which some have dubbed the “mansion subsidy.” This subsidy allows homeowners to deduct their home mortgage interest from the income taxes, which incentivizes building bigger houses, the room for which only exists in the suburbs.

Estimated at $100 billion annually, the mansion subsidy remains larger than the entire annual budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mortgages are also heavily subsidized through federal insurance policies.

The solution to these problems will not be easy. Our cities and highways have been built around the car; it will not be easy to replace them. However, we at least need to stop digging and stop the damage that the suburbanization of America is causing. We must end the policies that encourage the growth of sprawl. New developments must adapt to the new circumstances.

http://www.mndaily.com/2011/10/10/stop-subsidizing-suburbs

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Economic development subsidy programs—such as property tax abatements, corporate income tax credits and low-interest loans—were originally justified in the name of poverty reduction. Initiated as far back as the 1930s and accelerated in the 1950s, many of these programs were targeted to older areas and pockets of poverty that needed revitalization.

But over time, more and more of the 1,500 development subsidy programs nationwide have become part of the problem instead of the solution. Subsidies originally meant to rebuild older urban areas are being perverted into subsidies for suburban sprawl. Wal-Mart and other big box retailers are getting subsidies that allow them to simply pirate sales from existing merchants. Upscale residential and golf course projects are getting subsidies from programs originally designed to serve low-income neighborhoods.

The net effect has been to worsen sprawl and all of its disparate harms to communities of color: the out-migration of urban jobs, the growth of jobs in areas that are not accessible by public transportation, and the resulting concentration of unemployment and poverty.

The decentralization of jobs means work becomes scarce for low-skilled workers who are concentrated at the core. Many suburbs lack affordable housing and many suburban jobs are not accessible by public transit—either because a suburb has opposed the entry of transit lines or because jobs are thinly spread out far from transit routes. So sprawl effectively cuts central city residents off from regional labor markets. That means greater poverty for residents of core areas, who are disproportionately people of color.

Originally conceived to help revitalize depressed inner-city areas, tax increment financing, or TIF, allows a city to designate a small TIF district and say that the area will get redeveloped so property values will go up and property taxes will rise. When that happens, the tax revenue gets split into two streams. The first stream, set at the “base value” before redevelopment, continues to go where it always has: to schools, police, fire departments and other public services. The second stream is diverted back into the TIF district to subsidize the redevelopment. This diversion can last 15, 23, even 40 years—i.e., a lot of money for a long time.

Many states originally restricted TIF to truly needy areas with high rates of distress such as property abandonment, building code violations or poverty. Today TIF is allowed in 47 states and Washington, D.C. Over the years, about a third of the states have loosened their TIF rules so that even affluent areas qualify. The wealthy Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, for example, has a TIF district—and a Ferrari dealership. Pennsylvania’s TIF statute allows a trout stream near Pittsburgh called Deer Creek to be TIFed because the land has “economically or socially undesirable land uses.”

Worse still, a few states allow the sales tax increment to be “TIFed” on top of the property tax increment. That results in a perverse incentive to overbuild sprawling retail. A study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers about “greyfields”—the euphemism for dead malls—found that 7 percent of regional malls were already greyfields, and another 12 percent are “potentially moving towards greyfield status in the next five years.” That would mean 389 dead malls by 2009.

Missouri, which allows sales tax TIF, is learning this lesson the hard way. The state has had a raging four-year debate about how to reform its TIF program before it subsidizes any more unnecessary new stores. State Senator Wayne Goode, D-St. Louis County, is the primary sponsor of a reform bill. “Putting public money into retail in a big metropolitan area doesn’t make any sense at all,” Goode says. “It just moves retail sales around.” About one-third of the 90-odd municipalities in St. Louis County collect “point of sale” sales tax, he explains. In other words, cities get to keep a portion of the sales tax if a purchase happens within their borders. The other two thirds of cities in the county pool their revenue. So the one- third fight each other for sales—and pirate sales from the two-thirds—often using TIF. Area developers go to great lengths to block reforms because the TIF is so lucrative.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorialized: “With towns handing out TIF like bubble gum, St. Louis may be getting over-stored, while developments are under-taxed. Projects that make no sense get built because of tax breaks.”

Sprawl Subsidy #2: Enterprise Zones

Enterprise zones, another geographically targeted program intended to help poor inner-city areas, have also been weakened in many states so that affluent areas get multiple zone subsidies.

New York, for example, allows zones to be gerrymandered non-contiguously. So Buffalo’s two original enterprise zones have morphed into more than 130 non-contiguous areas, raising questions about political favoritism. A scathing Buffalo News investigative series found that “[t]he program, crafted to create business in distressed areas and jobs for the down-and-out, has transmuted here into a subsidy program for the up-and-in”—including even downtown law firms.

In an episode that gives new meaning to the term “Philadelphia lawyer,” law firms there are moving a few blocks into a “Keystone Opportunity Zone,” which will make the law firm partners exempt from state income tax! Meanwhile, the city’s African-American and Latino neighborhoods continue to suffer catastrophic rates of abandonment and unemployment.

Ohio has a large number of enterprise zones and they have a controversial history. A study from Policy Matters Ohio found that “[t]he very areas [that zones were] initially designed to help are now disadvantaged by the program. An aging infrastructure, a low tax base, weak education systems, and numerous costly social challenges place poor urban areas in a weak position relative to their wealthier suburban neighbors. Ohio's [zone program] has succeeded in making the playing field even more tilted against urban areas by extending to wealthier suburbs an additional fiscal tool with which to compete for firms.”

Discriminatory Development

TIF and enterprise zones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to explaining how pro-sprawl development subsidies undermine jobs for the truly needy. A recent study by Good Jobs First, Missing the Bus, finds that not one of the 1,500 total state development programs nationwide requires—or even encourages—a company getting a subsidy in a metro area to locate the jobs at a site served by public transportation.

In other words, despite all the anti-poverty rhetoric that most programs come draped in, states are typically indifferent to whether they create jobs that low-income people can get to. Research has shown that African-American households are about three and a half times more likely than white families to not own a car, and Latino households are about two and a half times more likely. Given those facts, the discriminatory bias of economic development in the United States today could not be clearer.

http://www.urbanhabitat.org/node/27

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And if you're done with all that

This paper seeks to explain the creation and dominance of suburbia in the United States from a historical and socio-economic perspective. The phenomenon is shown to be caused by significant state intervention in various markets such as housing, banking, and automobiles. The data and research presented confirm the validity of Austrian theories of state intervention and market distortion. First, we will discuss the historical emergence of suburbia before the intervention. Second, we will describe the particular state policies that introduced perverse incentives into the aforementioned markets. We will then discuss the impacts of these policies on cities and the systematic victimization of their inhabitants. Finally, we will discuss the overall social and economic repercussions of this suburban subsidization.

http://www2.gcc.edu/dept/econ/ASSC/Papers2010-2011/Foglia_ASSC.pdf

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It’s certainly not because Muslims “hate us for us for our freedom,” as we’re sometimes told. The real reason is that it’s a reaction to our imperialist occupation policies, policies that exist in large measure because Americans, especially those in suburbs, demand cheap gasoline.

 

I was going to respond to that before I realized your post was quoted wholesale from an article from a condescending, violently anti-suburban blowhard. I'd like to see his credentials in American-Middle Eastern relations.

 

...seriously, dude—you just quoted three editorial pieces on the issue, it doesn't make it true. If I copy-and-paste three articles on conservative policies, does that automatically make it true and everyone else is just kidding themselves?

 

Of course not! But that's the same type of stunt you're pulling now!

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The fact is that the suburbs are heavily subsidized, and if not for those subsidies they would have a vastly different appearance and form. People laboring under the delusion that the suburbs "pay for themselves" are dead wrong, and my aim is to puncture that delusion as often as possible. People seem to think that suburban form is a result of the unrestricted free market, which is another popular delusion and complete nonsense. The closest thing to an urban form produced by the unrestricted free market is the streetcar suburb of the early 20th century. Subsidies for roads, loans, gas, construction, depreciation, utilities, etcetera radically changed urban form (specifically suburban form) in the 20th century. Part of those changes included urban redevelopment (also subsidized) primarily to subsidize the idea that nobody should ever live downtown, it should be exclusively the realm of businesses and offices. Urban renewal and redevelopment basically wrecked downtowns and destroyed more homes than it built.

This popular delusion about suburbs leads so-called fiscal conservatives to call for increases in highway spending to serve suburbs instead of public transit, on the grounds that transit is a "subsidy" but spending tax money to help the suburbs doesn't count as taxation.

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There are definately ways that suburbs are subsidized. No, there is not some sort of special "sprawl fund" or anything like that. However, it's often the case that suburbs will get the benefit of state funds so they can function, were as the core city is stuck with what it has.

For example someone brought up the example of the new suburban development that was paid for by the developer. That's all good, however it does not tell the entire story. When developments like that are built it often results in other public costs, such as widening arterial roads, water pumping costs, costs to upgrade treatment facilities, and future roadway expansions and maintenance. Much of the funding to support those indirect costs often comes from a state or federal budget, and is not picked up by that particular suburban community. Furthermore, building all this infrastructure in such a manner is often inefficient to the tax payers because you have to support more roads/utilities with less people per mile

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Nobody is denying that central cities don't receive grants and funds. But the main reason those funds are needed is because the subsidies that went to the suburbs give them a comparative advantage--now, both downtown and the suburbs are subsidized! Some level of suburban sprawl brings an overall economic gain, but eventually they reach a point of diminishing returns--which is usually identified by the point where the region's outer suburbs start collapsing economically because the municipality can't pay for the infrastructure anymore.

If you then ask, "If both are subsidized, who is paying for it?" the answer is to take a look at the level of debt carried by local, state and federal governments

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The central city only needs a few highways in and out of the city to be linked for commerce. However, if you look any any metro area you will see a web of highways around it. Those highways exist because of suburban expansion, some of which is perhaps unnecessary under proper planning. Those highways are usually paid for and maintained by the state or county governments regardless of who uses them.

For example There is a current project which is widening an arterial thoroughfare that has become over capacity due to suburban sprawl type expansion. You know who is fitting the bill to serve all these suburbanites who need traffic relief? The state, that's who. They are even paying for all of the utility relocations required because of this project. And it's not for the good of economic development either. Basically this population growth is occuring at the expense of declining communities, essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul while creating additional infrastructure that the tax payers must maintain.

And if you want to get into economic dependence you have to consider that all these suburban communities would not exist in the first places if it was not for the core city.

Here is another example in the form of water systems: Typically the majority of a big metro area is served by a handfull of water/wastewater treatment facilities originally built to serve the central city. When new suburban expansion occurs it usually requires new pumping stations, increased power costs for pumping and treatment, and upgrades to the core infrastructure. You see this expansion puts a burden on the core system that did not exists before, even if it's not serving any more people than it did in the first place. Simple put, it's more efficient to build and maintain infrastructure if there are more people per square mile to pay for it. Sprawl is just the opposite of that.

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Suburbs like to pretend they don't have problems like homelessness, drug problems etcetera, but what typically happens is that those problems get sloughed off or shoved off on the nearest major city--in effect, providing a subsidy to the suburb.

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malls wouldn't exist without the massive tax credit that was created with a change in the 1954 tax code (repealed in the 80s because of rampant abuse - there's stories about how some developers in texas were half-building office parks and abandoning them after they got the tax credit). apparently even today most new Malls aren't profitable enough to justify their construction unless heavily subsidized.

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I'm not sure why I should waste my time. You spent no time researching the issues. You have not created a viable argument. You simply found a forum where there are other train fans and new urbanists and simply wholesale stole their posts and printed them here. Much of what is in those posts is not even applicable to the Houston demographic. And, most importantly, I pointed out a huge NON-subsidy in the form of school taxes, and you simply ignored it and posted your plagiarized data dump.

 

So, I'll make you a deal. You attempt to explain how paying 20-40% higher school taxes is somehow a subsidy, and then I'll point out a few of the myths and outright falsehoods in those city-data posts. Remember, you are the only person here who is even posting your side, so it's not like I have many people to convince. Everyone else already knows what I am going to write.

 

So, explain the school property taxes and I'll explain the rest. Otherwise, I won't waste my time.

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I'm not sure why I should waste my time. You spent no time researching the issues. You have not created a viable argument. You simply found a forum where there are other train fans and new urbanists and simply wholesale stole their posts and printed them here. Much of what is in those posts is not even applicable to the Houston demographic. And, most importantly, I pointed out a huge NON-subsidy in the form of school taxes, and you simply ignored it and posted your plagiarized data dump.

So, I'll make you a deal. You attempt to explain how paying 20-40% higher school taxes is somehow a subsidy, and then I'll point out a few of the myths and outright falsehoods in those city-data posts. Remember, you are the only person here who is even posting your side, so it's not like I have many people to convince. Everyone else already knows what I am going to write.

So, explain the school property taxes and I'll explain the rest. Otherwise, I won't waste my time.

If you honestly think there's no school funding bias...I don't know what to say

http://www.schoolfundingfairness.org/National_Report_Card.pdf

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0060974990/ref=redir_mdp_mobile

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And here is the dagger

A state district judge ruled Monday that Texas' method of funding public schools was inadequate, unfair and unconstitutional.

The decision still has to pass muster with the Texas Supreme Court, as the state is expected to appeal the ruling later this year.

But Monday's bench decision was a victory for the roughly 600 school districts— nearly two-thirds of Texas districts—that have sued the state over the current funding system.

At the heart of Judge John Dietz’s ruling is his belief that education in Texas is woefully underfunded and that the current system of paying for it with property taxes creates an unconstitutional statewide tax.

“We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price, or we don’t,” Dietz said in his bench ruling, which came after about 15 weeks of testimony.

The state, which lost nearly every argument, is expected to appeal after Dietz releases his final written ruling next month. The one subject the judge left up in the air was charter schools, which he said was the purview of the state legislature.

School districts and teacher groups throughout the state celebrated the ruling.

"Judge Dietz's ruling affirms AISD's position that our district needs adequate resources to serve our students well while meeting the state's increasing standards," Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said in a news release.

"We celebrate the success of our educators and students amid declining resources, but our schools need more resources if we are going to be able to help all of our students achieve their potential," Carstarphen said. "All Texas students deserve a quality education that will help them prepare for—and compete in—today's global economy."

Officials from Pflugerville ISD agreed.

“We are pleased with the ruling and proud of the strong leadership from Superintendent [Charles] Dupre on behalf of Pflugerville ISD students and all Texas students,” said Elva Gladney, Pflugerville ISD board of trustees president. “Our staff at PISD works hard to provide an outstanding education to our students and prepare them for college and life after high school, and adequate and equitable funding is an essential piece in that mission.”

According to a statement by Pflugerville school officials, PISD stands to receive “millions more in state funding each year if it received similar funding to neighboring districts.”

An argument made by districts—and upheld by Dietz—was that the funding was unfairly distributed and left children in poorer districts at a disadvantage.

Hays CISD board of trustees President Willie Tenorio also said he was pleased with the ruling, noting that budget cuts had made it increasingly difficult for schools to keep up with increasing enrollment.

"We're getting more and more students every day, but because we can't hire more teachers, we have larger class sizes. [Legislators] reduced our resources, while they increased the standards students have to meet, and they made it really difficult for schools to achieve their mission," Tenorio said. "I'm confident that with this ruling, the Legislature will go forward and create a better system. I realize there's probably going to be an appeal to the Supreme Court, but I'm confident the school districts will prevail."

Lawmakers last session cut some $5 billion from education funding and programs, sending a wave of layoffs and other fallout through districts throughout the state.

Lake Travis ISD Superintendent Brad Lancaster said he is “grateful that Judge Dietz found the level of [Texas school] funding to be inadequate,” but he said he is also concerned that without changes in funding methods, his district may not be able to provide the same quality of services to its students that it has in the past.

“As a result of the last legislative session and based on current state funding formulas, LTISD will lose approximately $8 million over the current biennium,” Lancaster said. “Even with the cuts in funding we’ve already absorbed, it is important to know that through frugal planning and cost-saving measures, we have not eliminated a single staff member or teacher position, and—perhaps more importantly—no student programs have been eliminated.

“However, if the system goes unfixed, it will only be a matter of time before school districts like ours no longer have the funds or the discretion to provide the current level of programs and services that our students and community expect.”

Leaders have said the funding cuts in the previous legislative session were unavoidable because the state faced a historic shortfall of up to $27 billion, but legislators have also not earmarked any replacement funding during the current legislative session—even as the state is flush with cash from oil and gas profits.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has advocated holding out money to pay into the system in anticipation of having to spend more money on schools in light of a supreme court decision.

But he and other leaders have deferred action on either overhauling the school finance system or restoring any funding until after the Texas Supreme Court makes its ruling—an idea that does not sit well with some lawmakers who fought the cuts last session.

"I think all the talk about deferring to after the session, until the [Texas] Supreme Court rules, may have merit on the question of how we distribute the money among the districts, but I don't think that it has merit with regard to the very important decision of how much money the system requires,” said Rep. Mark Strama, D-District 50. “I don’t think we need a court to tell us that the system is not producing the results we demand from it.”

The Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers also urged lawmakers to act and not wait for a ruling, which could come next year.

“Today’s ruling should spur the Legislature to do what it ought to be doing anyway—using the state’s resurgent revenue to restore school funding that was cut severely last session and reforming the school finance system to satisfy constitutional requirements,” Texas AFT President Linda Bridges said. “The inevitable appeal that the state’s lawyers will pursue in this case must not become an excuse for legislative inertia. The state needs to invest more in public education immediately because the kids can’t wait.”

http://impactnews.com/83rd-legislature/judge%3A-current-school-funding-system-unfair,-unconstitutional/

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LOL. Poor guy. You have no idea what the Texas funding lawsuit is all about, do you? Far from being a dagger into my argument, that lawsuit was a dagger into yours. The suburban schools sued because they were being forced to subsidize poor school districts, not the other way around.

 

I think it is hopeless to explain it to you. You simply ignore what anyone tells you. Good luck bringing about the end of suburbia. You're going to need to find homes for the 5.5 million suburbanites in Houston. But, I'm sure you can handle it.    :)

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A second way suburbs are subsidized is through what’s known as the mortgage income tax deduction, which some have dubbed the “mansion subsidy.” This subsidy allows homeowners to deduct their home mortgage interest from the income taxes, which incentivizes building bigger houses, the room for which only exists in the suburbs.

Estimated at $100 billion annually, the mansion subsidy remains larger than the entire annual budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

 

This is a complete fabrication and you know it. My house in the suburbs would cost half as much as it does inside Loop 610, so I am getting a bigger subsidy. Your arguments imply that the buyer of a $10 million home in Manhattan doesn't get a deduction for interest, and is therefore providing a subsidy to the buyer of a $300,000 home in The Woodlands. That's totally wrong. The buyer in Manhattan will get a bigger tax deduction because his mortgage is larger. The only reason that statistics might show that there are more mortgage deductions in the suburbs is that there are more rental properties in urban areas, and the interest deduction shows up as a business expense instead of a personal mortgage interest deduction.

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More importantly, besides ripping off comments and articles instead of defending his arguments when people call BS on it, Slick fails to keep in mind even trip generations. The Woodlands now has multiple major office buildings and campuses--if I live, work, and shop in The Woodlands, am I a suburban leech who needs to move to an inner Houston apartment?

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LOL. Poor guy. You have no idea what the Texas funding lawsuit is all about, do you? Far from being a dagger into my argument, that lawsuit was a dagger into yours. The suburban schools sued because they were being forced to subsidize poor school districts, not the other way around.

I think it is hopeless to explain it to you. You simply ignore what anyone tells you. Good luck bringing about the end of suburbia. You're going to need to find homes for the 5.5 million suburbanites in Houston. But, I'm sure you can handle it. :)

An argument made by districts—and upheld by Dietz—was that the funding was unfairly distributed and left children in poorer districts at a disadvantage.

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An argument made by districts—and upheld by Dietz—was that the funding was unfairly distributed and left children in poorer districts at a disadvantage.

Yes, you are exactly correct. The argument was that poorer districts were at a disadvantage, not urban districts. The fact that many urban districts are poorer is unrelated. Suburban and rural districts are at equal disadvantage where their income levels are comparable.

Also, this was a state specific case. Your argument prior to now has been that the federal government was responsible. Are you now shifting your argument to include all levels of government? If so, that's one heck of a well coordinated conspiracy.

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This is a complete fabrication and you know it. My house in the suburbs would cost half as much as it does inside Loop 610, so I am getting a bigger subsidy. Your arguments imply that the buyer of a $10 million home in Manhattan doesn't get a deduction for interest, and is therefore providing a subsidy to the buyer of a $300,000 home in The Woodlands. That's totally wrong. The buyer in Manhattan will get a bigger tax deduction because his mortgage is larger. The only reason that statistics might show that there are more mortgage deductions in the suburbs is that there are more rental properties in urban areas, and the interest deduction shows up as a business expense instead of a personal mortgage interest deduction.

I agree with Ross. The mortgage deduction overwhelmingly favors the metros with the highest density, because high density tends to drive up real estate values. See below.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2012/12/stark-geographic-inequality-home-mortgage-interest-deduction/4130/

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More importantly, besides ripping off comments and articles instead of defending his arguments when people call BS on it, Slick fails to keep in mind even trip generations. The Woodlands now has multiple major office buildings and campuses--if I live, work, and shop in The Woodlands, am I a suburban leech who needs to move to an inner Houston apartment?

 

Yes, if more people were like me and lived in the core and commuted to a business located outside the beltway, there would instantly be less drain on natural resources.

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We explore the hypothesis that high home-ownership damages the labor market. Our results are relevant to, and may be worrying for, a range of policy-makers and researchers.  We find that rises in the home-ownership rate in a U.S. state are a precursor to eventual sharp rises in unemployment in that state.  The elasticity exceeds unity: a doubling of the rate of home-ownership in a U.S. state is followed in the long-run by more than a doubling of the later unemployment rate.  What mechanism might explain this? We show that rises in home-ownership lead to three problems: (i) lower levels of labor mobility, (ii) greater commuting times, and (iii) fewer new businesses. Our argument is not that owners themselves are disproportionately unemployed. The evidence suggests, instead, that the housing market can produce negative ‘externalities’ upon the labor market. The time lags are long. That gradualness may explain why these important patterns are so little-known.

http://www.freakonomics.com/2013/06/03/does-high-home-ownership-lead-to-higher-unemployment/

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“A study of women in the United States found that homeowners were no happier than renters, on average. And even if you’re currently living in a cramped basement suite, you may find that moving to a nicer home has surprisingly little impact on your overall happiness. Researchers followed thousands of people in Germany who moved to a new home because there was something they didn’t like about their old home. In the five years after relocating, the residents reported a significant increase in satisfaction with their housing, but their overall satisfaction with their lives didn’t budge.”
 

Freakonomics Blog

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If you like freakonics then you'll like his take that driving cars is greener than transit

http://dc.streetsblog.org/2012/11/15/freakonomics-hucksters-save-the-earth-drive-a-car/

 

If you click through a couple of levels, you'll hit this article too.

 

http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-98-percent-of-us-commuters-favor-public-tra,1434/

 

I love The Onion.

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You are quoting freakonomics? A guy that uses highly suspect research methods to make wacky correlations? He's more about entertainment than he is about research.

 

It's actually from this article.

 

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/19/opinion/la-oe-norton-happiness-spending-20130519

 

I'm interested in hearing your scope of work and educational background in comparison to the world famous economist you just trashed.

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You are quoting freakonomics? A guy that uses highly suspect research methods to make wacky correlations? He's more about entertainment than he is about research.

 

 

I read that back in high school, and although interesting, there was a lot of BS that I didn't believe one second of.

 

Edited by IronTiger
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I'm interested in hearing your scope of work and educational background in comparison to the world famous economist you just trashed.

"If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion."

- George Bernard Shaw

One of many things I learned on the debate team in high school was that you can find someone with a PhD from a prestigious school to support any wacky theory you might want to argue about.

I think we've been over this already but it bears repeating...just because someone wrote it down doesn't make it true.

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