Exurb Living and Transit Costs, Economic Poaching, Wage Growth, and Public Health Cracks and Strains

While many families move to sprawling exurbs because they think the housing is more affordable, a new study by the Center for Housing Policy finds that increased transit costs in the exurbs means that for every dollar a working family saves on housing, the spend 77 cents more on transportation- a report that for the first time measures the combined housing and transit costs in 29 metropolitian areas at the neighborhood level.

With communities often locked in wasteful competition to hand out tax breaks to businesses, Policy Matters Ohio has produced a memo documenting state and local "anti-poaching" agreements that encourage cooperation and better use of tax dollars by communities for regional economic development. Good Jobs First has a similar memo on deterring job piracy across states lines in federal economic development programs.

The most recent employment data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show some real gains in worker compensation in the last year, but the Economic Policy Institute writes that overall wage gains during the last five years have been only 0.9% per year. A report by the Urban Institute finds that middle class gains in income in the last two decades have been similarly minimal, although there are been greater gains in wealth accumulation because of the runup in housing and financial assets.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has prepared an issue module on public health preparedness, especially in light of fears over terrorist attacks post-911. It finds that while some areas of public health like fighting bioterrorism have received additional funding, there are "cracks and strains" in the public health infrastructure that could collapse under the pressure of an emergency.