Will expensive gas kill the suburbs? Journalists can't stop asking the question, and an increasing number of suburb defenders are rising in protest. The easy answer is: it depends. It depends on what happens to gas prices, and it depends on how we respond. But the best way to think about how American urban geography will change in response to expensive gas is to break the question down into smaller parts. I'm going to try to do that today.
One of the fun little economic discussions during the past few months focused on just how much of the increase in oil prices was due to speculation. Dean Baker, for instance, says some. Paul Krugman says not much. Today, Megan McArdle concludes:
Our long national nightmare is over, folks; Matt Yglesias is back. And as good as ever. Apropos of a Washington Postcolumn by Terry Box, explaining how he loves cars and by god you'll never take his car away, Matt writes:
Yesterday, New Yorkers enjoyed the first day of the city's Summer Streets program, in which a swath of land in Manhattan is entirely closed to automobiles for six hours. The city will do it again the next two Saturdays and might continue with the program after that if residents like the result.
Let me also extend my hearty thanks to Ezra for having me here this week. I'll do my best to match the quality you all are used to. Let's get started, shall we?
Markets appeared to celebrate the continued slide of oil prices yesterday, and why shouldn't they? Rising oil prices have squeezed corporate profits across the board, and the inflationary pressure expensive oil generates forced the Fed to bring an early end to interest rate cuts. Oil is now down over $30 from its recent high around $147 per barrel. Sure, that's still well above the price a year ago, but cheaper oil has to be good news, right?