» Steve Eide

Purple reversion? Three questions about the 2014 elections and federalism

The rise of one-party statehouse rule was widely documented following the 2012 election cycle. After the 2000 elections, only 21 states were under the sole control of Democrats or Republicans. Now 37 are.
The cause of this development was states catching up with national political trends. Mississippi …

Needed: an independent analysis of Detroit’s leadership capacity

The Detroit bankruptcy’s “expert witness” has issued her report, the first truly independent assessment of whether the city has any shot at solvency. In reading through it, one can’t help but wonder what Richard Ravitch would have said. Ravitch is not an accountant, which is …

Why Detroit should not sell its art: the realist’s case

“A collection of the quality and range of art in the DIA would be impossible to recreate in current times.” -Artvest Partners
Detroit retirees never would have voted to accept its bankruptcy plan and cut their pensions had the city not decades ago acquired an art …

Could Obamacare prevent future municipal bankruptcies?

Yes, but only if liberal judges get out of the way.
Last week, as the media focused most of its attention on the US Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision and the Vergara ruling in California, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a decision that could …

Is it ever worth trying to improve teacher quality through contract negotiations?

Vergara v. California, which struck down California’s “Permanent Employment” (teacher tenure) and “LIFO” (last-in-first-fired) statutes, has raised questions about how best to pursue the K-12 reform agenda.
Vergara was a case of the chickens coming home to roost. Impatient with the political process, education advocates had won …

The great discount rate flip flop

In debates over the public pension discount rate—used to value the long-term liability—retirement systems are thought to be among the greatest beneficiaries of the more aggressive ~8% range. They certainly rank among its strongest advocates, equating defense of their right to estimate liabilities as they …

Structured gimmickry

Detroit’s “plan for adjustment” maps out the city’s fiscal future to a degree of detail rare among local governments (some projections stretch out for 40 years). It has to do this. To be approved, Detroit’s debt cutting request must satisfy bankruptcy law’s “feasibility” requirement that …

Say yes to the vest?

Vesting requirements for pension benefits have attracted more scrutiny as the debate over pension reform has become more nuanced. Excessive costs were initially what attracted everyone to pensions, but the persistent public interest in the topic has enabled other flaws to come into focus.
Last week, …

Arthur Laffer and the mobility agenda

Is there a debate about inequality now underway in America? Invigorated by the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, liberals are determined to force the issue, but they’re talking to themselves, because conservatives reject the very terms of the debate. Where liberals want …

Municipal bankruptcy and war

Rhodes MemeBankruptcy, like war, is an extraordinary means for resolving disputes that appear irresolvable under ordinary conditions. Much of what Detroit seeks to accomplish in bankruptcy could have been accomplished outside of federal court, but only with great difficulty