Bacon Bits: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Source: 2017-18 Global Competitiveness Report. (Click for more legible image.)

U.S. still globally competitive. The United States has climbed past Singapore  to become the world’s second most competitive economy — second only to Switzerland, according to the 2017-18 Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum. U.S. strengths are its technological progress, capacity for innovation, and sophistication of its business enterprises — all private sector attributes, I might observe. The nation’s weaknesses are primary education, healthcare and “macroeconomic environment,” which reflects the sustainability of government finances. Tax rates are cited as the most problematic aspect of doing business in the U.S. The weaknesses, I might add, are all government failures.

Worst traffic jams in the country. The Washington metropolitan area has the sixth worst traffic congestion in the country, according to INRIX Roadway Analytics, but the single-worst traffic hot spot anywhere is a southbound stretch of Interstate 95 between Washington, D.C., and Fredericksburg, reports the Free Lance-Star. I totally believe it — and the northbound lanes aren’t much better.

Richmond still leads in dropouts. John Butcher at Cranky’s Blog takes a look at the Virginia Department of Education’s latest statistics on high school dropout rates. While Richmond with its predominantly African-American student population has the highest dropout rate in the state, 18.0%, the rate for overwhelmingly white Lee County in the heart of Appalachia is 17.9%. As usual, Butcher is unhappy with the way the state calculates its numbers.

Update: Wow, Cranky is on a tear. A new post, “Lies, Damn Lies and Graduation Rates,” shows how school districts can game the statistics on graduation rates to look good.

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2 responses to “Bacon Bits: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  1. Actually Appalachia is pretty much tied with Richmond. Shouldn’t Cranky also focus on Appalachia .. ?

    On the #1 Traffic Jams and Fredericksburg – This is not a shock. The Fredericksburg MSA – Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania is infested with govt and govt contractor workers who .. simultaneously say that 1. – they cannot afford a place to live in NoVa and must commute to an exurban location like Fredericksburg and 2. they have no choice but to drive SOLO to/from work every day.

    The “solution” to this according to the commuters is more lanes and they should not be tolled. Others like Stuart Schwartz of the Coalition for Smarter Growth and NOW VDOT and the Commonwealth Transportation Board say that more lanes will just encourage more solo commuting and real-time congestion tolling is the answer – people can choose what they want to do but there is a cost associated with each choice. The most costly option will be if you want to live 50 miles from work and you insist you must drive SOLO every day.

    Why Richmond and Charlottesville don’t have this problem is curious. Hampton Roads seems to be more like NoVa than Richmond with people choosing to live on one side of the river and work on the other – and clog up the tunnels at rush hour and expect the rest of the state’s taxpayers to “fix” their problem.. just like NoVa commuters do.

  2. The irony about solo commuting is that technology and supply/demand economics have conspired to make it cheaper to solo commute than if gasoline had gotten scarcer and more expensive and cars bigger, heavier and consume more gas, not less.

    The only way the gas tax effectively provided enough revenues sufficient for solo commuting was when gas was expensive and cars got crappy mileage.

    In urbanized areas ringed with exurban suburban areas -solo commuting comes nowhere close to paying for the infrastructure that would be needed for solo-commuting at rush hour.

    Further out from the urban cores – there IS more right-of-way available to build more lanes – but as you get closer to the urban core – there is no more available right-of-way unless you are willing to buy and tear-down developed, tax-producing properties at a cost of 100 million dollars per mile or more.

    Don’t try arguing fiscal facts with the commuters.. they’re convinced there is waste and/or conspiracy that prevents adding more lanes… and besides they want what they want … they’re ENTITLED to the American Dream of a nice house and yard..and a decent job with benefits… and the purpose of govt is to provide them with the infrastructure because they already pay taxes!

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