Original Reporting

Original Reporting | By David Noriega | Government services, Taxes
Part 1 of our series: The current administration in San Jose points to "excessive" retirement benefits for its workers as the cause of its chronic budget woes. But "blame the workers" is not an adequate explanation for San Jose's troubles. The city has ignored deeper causes, especially ones on the revenue side of the ledger. This includes remarkably low taxes on commercial property. More
Original Reporting | By David Noriega | Corporate influence, Urban Policy
How does the largest city in a region that has minted so many billionaires not have enough money to provide basic services? Remapping Debate launches a five-part series based on our two-month investigation into why San Jose, California, a model of the “entrepreneurial” city, continues to struggle, and why Silicon Valley more generally, home of such enormous wealth, has failed to deliver on its promise of shared prosperity to the residents of the region. If a philosophy based on adapting to and exploiting a world of mobile capital were to have worked its wonders anywhere, it would have been here. That it hasn’t suggests that the every-place-for-itself model needs to be reexamined. More
Original Reporting | By T.J. Lewan | Environment, Population
It’s not seriously disputed that the region’s water shortfall is large and will become worse, even in the absence of drought. Likewise, it is widely acknowledged that increasingly strict conservation measures will soon become the norm in the region. What is striking, however, is the reluctance of state officials, builders, and others to acknowledge two more truths that the weight of evidence points to: first, that the relentless growth the Southwest has become accustomed to over the last half-century is unsustainable; second, that either in a planned way executed over time to cushion shock or disruptively after more years of whistling past the graveyard, growth of population and industry will slow and stop. More
Original Reporting | By David Noriega | Education
There are currently more than 30 million adults in the United States whose ability to read, write, and do basic math is at or below the level of the average third grader. The current system of adult basic education in the U.S. has long been unable to reach more than a fraction of the population that could benefit from its services. Experts in the field agree that this is a problem that could be meaningfully addressed. Doing so, however, would require aggressive, coordinated investment on all levels of government, and the federal government has not provided the necessary leadership or funding. In fact, over the last decade, federal funding, adjusted for inflation, has gone down. State governments, too, have mostly failed to respond in any way that would suggest recognition that the epidemic of adult illiteracy is an emergency. More
Original Reporting | By David Noriega | Housing, NYC, Quality of life
A pilot project opens the door to squeezing people into spaces as small as 250 square feet. Is the prospect of making the most dense parts of New York City even denser a beneficial innovation? Or is it a retrograde lowering of living standards that also fails to provide a meaningful contribution to solving New York's affordable housing crisis? More
Original Reporting | By Craig Gurian | Health care, Insurance
In most of New York State, it doesn’t matter what “metal level” you choose: you can’t get an individual or family health insurance plan on the state’s exchange that provides coverage for out-of-network physician care. How did the exchange come to be designed without a requirement of such coverage? That’s what the insurers chose. And some advocates for better health care are concerned. More
Original Reporting | By David Noriega | Aging, Role of government, Social Security
Key considerations ignored by the entitlements-must-be-cut brigade: both the economy and quality of life would get a boost if U.S. retirees spent as much as old people elsewhere. Why don’t they? The lack of an adequate safety net breeds fear. A more robust safety net would create a positive cascade. Conversely, cuts to Social Security and Medicare promise to make the elderly experience more fear and be even less willing to spend. More
Original Reporting | By Timothy Noah | Government services, Politics
Deep cuts in agency conference travel sought by GOP members of Congress belie their “run government like business” mantra. More