Sunday, May 29, 2005

Old news that must be repeated

Funny thing about supply and demand: 1) it explains a lot; and 2) it is routinely omitted/avoided in spite of its power. To simple? Not very post-modern? Who knows.

There is almost a bubble in housing bubble talk. This morning's LA Times includes the latest rehash ("It's Not a Bubble Until It Bursts"). The NY Times has a long piece, "California Looks Ahead, and Doesn't Like What It Sees", which reminds readers that, "[n]ew state and federal population estimates show California gained 539,000 residents last year and is on track to reach 46 million residents by 2030. That would amount to an increase of 13 million -- roughly the population of Illinois -- in the period following the 2000 census." And in this environment, there is ever more resistance to development.

The Texas Transportation Institute divides metros by how much road building they allow. And, guess what? Those that build the fewest roads, have the most congestion. And they all experince some congestion because they will not price. Worst of all, the transit-oriented development advocates believe that their approach is a way out of the problem. (Thanks to Tico Moreno for calling my attention to a piece by Paul Jacob on all this).

The surgeon who, when asked why they operate so much, reportedly answered that when you are holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail suggested a problem. It is also a problem when you want to practice (or discuss) bridge building or tunnel construction, for example, but eschew Newtonian physics.