Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2013

Inauguration Day - Should It Be Today? How Distrust of Lame Ducks Changed Our Calendar

There's been a great deal of discussion about the 2nd amendment lately, but on this Inauguration Day, I'm thinking about the effectiveness of a different amendment - the 20th. For those without a pocket copy of the US Constitution handy, the 20th Amendment covers a few things, including presidential succession in cases where the President-Elect dies before taking office, but my questions surround a different part of the amendment - the first two sections moved the Presidential Inauguration from March 4 to January 20, and established January 3 as the first day for a new Congress.

The inauguration date was moved to January after concerns that the original date was too old-fashioned for a modern America. The logic was that modern transportation and communication (in 1932-33) meant that a new administration and Congress could take office more quickly than they could in the 18th century - moving the dates to January would allow our government to respond to national emergencies be…

"Housing's Back" or is it? Understanding Measures of Housing Affordability

According to the National Association of Realtors' Housing Affordability Index, 2012 was a record year for housing affordability.  The release of their results led to articles with titles such as "Housing Today Is More Affordable Than At Any Time In History" on an investment blog and "2012 a banner year for housing affordability, industry group says" in a major national newspaper. I've also seen several TV reports that covered how affordable housing has become. If that's the case, then how could we release a paper titled "Loss of Housing Affordability Threatens Older Middle Class Adults" as part of AARP's Middle Class Security Project?

Leadership, Corruption, and the "I Deserve It" syndrome

In Prince George's County, Maryland, County Executive Jack Johnson and his director of Housing and Community Development were convicted of taking bribes from developers hoping to build in the county.  His wife, a future County Councilperson, became infamous - not only for conspiring to destroy evidence of the bribery conspiracy and hiding money in her undergarments when the FBI was closing in, but also her later refusal to step down from office and after pleading guilty, and she continued to serve as councilperson until forced out. Uly Currie, Maryland State Senator from Prince George's and former chairman of the most powerful committee in the Senate, was acquitted of corruption in a case where his defense was largely ignorance of the disclosure rules. Maryland Delegate Tiffany Alston was recently stripped of her position because she took money from her campaign account to pay for her wedding amongst other financial indiscretions. These cases are from a single county over a t…