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Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at and

To the melody of “Ballad of Daniel Boone

Chris Christie is a man. Yes a big man.
With an eye like an eagle and as wide as a mountain is he.
Chris Christie is a man. Yes a big man.
He is brave, he is fearless and as tough as a mighty oak tree.

The unions call him a bully but he bullies them for you

The rippin’est roarin’est fightin’est man New Jersey ever knew.
Chris Christie is a man.  He’s a big man.
And he fought to cut property taxes all over New Jersey.
What a leader. What a wonder. What a dream come-a-truer is he.


I think American politics doesn’t have much poetry in it these days.  To remedy this (well, really more for my own amusement) I am going to try to create campaign songs for the candidates.  Rand Paul’s seemed pretty obvious to me; I felt like the 1860 lyrics really needed only a little tweaking:

RAND PAUL AND LIBERTY TOO (Melody, Lincoln and Liberty Too)

Hurrah for the choice of the nation!
Our chieftain so brave and so true;
We’ll go for the great Reformation—
For Rand Paul and Liberty too!
We’ll go for the son of Kentucky
A son of Texas too,
The pride of libertarians so lucky
For Rand Paul and Liberty too!

Then up with our banner so glorious,

The star-spangled red-white-and-blue,

We’ll fight till our Cause is victorious,
For Rand Paul and Liberty too!

Come all you true friends of the nation
Attend to humanity’s call
Say good-bye to the Drug War
And roll on the liberty ball

(CHORUS) And roll on the liberty ball

And roll on the liberty ball

Say good-bye to the Drug War

And roll on the liberty ball

We’ll finish the temple of freedom
And make it capacious within
That all who seek shelter may find it
Whatever the hue of their skin.

(CHORUS) Whatever the hue of their skin

Whatever the hue of their skin

That all who seek shelter may find it
Whatever the hue of their skin.
Success to the old fashioned doctrine
That men are created all free
And down with the wars of the neocons
Wherever their stronghold may be


(CHORUS) Wherever their stronghold may be

Wherever their stronghold may be

And down with the wars of the neocons
Wherever their stronghold may be

(PS Songs are not endorsements)


The oil refinery near the Schuylkill

You can see from all around,

The air turns brown at twilight,
And north of the Vine Street Expressway, decay abounds.

There old neighborhoods softly slumber,
As people flee them all.
A city surrounded by hostile suburbs,
And at its heart – City Hall.

Oh, Philadelphia of brick,
of stone, and of bronze,
I am the lute for all your songs

But in Center City they build high-rises,
The squares fill with joyous crowd,
From Vine Street to South Street,

A city growing and proud.

Millenials priced out of Center City

Are moving south and west as well

Maybe we’ll live to see yuppies

Taking the Frankford El

Oh, Philadelphia of brick,
of stone and of bronze,
I am the harp for all your songs.

I got into an argument recently about the decline of old Rust Belt cities such as Detroit, and my co-arguer raised the old chestnut that Detroit’s problems were due to mismanagement.  Obviously, Detroit has had plenty of  mismanagement and even corruption, just like plenty of other places.

But I’m not sure you can show a causal relationship, for at least two reasons.  First, there’s no real way to quantify mismanagement- so how can you say for sure that Detroit is more mismanaged than anyplace else?

Second, if you respond that Detroit’s fiscal and social failure is evidence that Detroit’s mismanagement is unusually atrocious,  then you are saying: Detroit’s failure is a result of mismanagement, and the evidence of the mismanagement is the failure.  Isn’t that a circular argument?

Myron Orfield and Thomas Luce just wrote a paper about minority suburbanization.  The most interesting statistics (from p. 27, table 4):

Out of 1472 suburban census tracts that were predominantly nonwhite in 1980, only 2(!) became predominantly white, and only 7 percent became under 60 percent minority by 2005.

By contrast, out of 17,170 census tracts that were over 60 percent white in 1980, 8 percent became over 60 percent nonwhite, and 39 percent became “diverse” (20-60 percent nonwhite).

Of the 3480 tracts that were “diverse” in 1980, 56 percent became predominantly nonwhite, and only 4 percent became predominantly white.

I wonder what similar data for central cities would look like.

In my last post, I compared various states’ levels of job creation.  However, one weakness of this measurement is that it favors states gaining population.   It may be that states gain population becuase jobs are plentiful.  On the other hand, states gain population for reasons unrelated to the economy, such as warm weather or proximity to the Mexican border.  So I decided to measure economic health by looking at employment-population ratio: the percent of the population which is employed (rather than being unemployed or out of the labor force).   (Data here)  Here are my standings in order of economic strength:

1) Michigan (Snyder)

E-P ratio Jan. 2011 (when most governors elected in 2010 sworn in) 53.9

Most recent ratio (Sept. 2014): 55.9 (2 pt gain, best of the list)

2) California (Brown)

E-P ratio Jan. 2011: 56.1

today: 57.6 (1.5 pt gain)

3) Louisiana (Jindal)

E-P ratio Jan. 11: 55.4

today: 56.7 (1.3 pt gain)

4) Texas (Perry)

E-P ratio Jan 11: 60.7

today: 61.5 (0.8 pt gain)

5) Ohio (Kasich)

E-P ratio Jan. 11: 58.7

today: 59.3 (0.6 pt gain)

6) Wisconsin (Walker)

E-P ratio Jan 11: 63.7

today: 64.2 (0.5 pt gain)

7) Mass. (Patrick)

E-P ratio Jan. 11: 60.8

today: 60.9 (0.1 pt gain)

8) Neveda (Sandoval): 57.7 both in January 2011 and today

tie) New Jersey (Christie) 59.5 both in January 2011 and today

10) New Mexico (Martinez)

E-P ratio Jan. 2011 54.2

today: 53.7 (0.5 pt loss)

11) Maryland (O’Malley)

E-P ratio Jan. 11: 63.2

today: 62 (1.2 pt loss- no wonder the Democrats lost the governorship!)

Numerous governors may run for President, all touting their economic records. So I decided to look up employment statistics from the website for states whose governors might run for President. (data here- go to each state’s link)

First I looked at states with Republican governors who I could imagine running or at least have been mentioned here and there as candidates:

Louisiana (Jindal)

Jan. 2011 1,918,364 jobs

7.6% unemployment

Aug. 2014 2,005,823 (4.5% increase)

5.8% unemployment (1.8% drop)

Michigan (Snyder)

Jan. 2011 4172058

unemployment 11.0

Aug 2014 4381793  (5.0% increase)

unemployment 7.4 (3.6% drop)

Nevada (Sandoval)

Jan. 2011 1,204,104 jobs

13.7% unemployment

Aug. 2014 1,263,678 jobs (4.9% increase)

7.6% unemployment (6.1% drop)

New Jersey (Christie)

Jan. 2011 4,108,289 jobs

9.4% unempl0yment

Aug. 2014 4,200,969 jobs (2.2% increase)

6.6% unemployment (2.8% drop)

New Mexico (Martinez)

Jan. 2011 854.141 jobs

7.8% unemployment

Aug. 2014 858,101 (about 0.5% increase)

6.7% unemployment (1.1% drop)

Ohio (Kasich)

Jan. 2011 5,279,339 jobs

9.1% unemployment

Aug. 2014 5,391,869 (2.1 percent increase)

5.7% unemployment (3.4% drop)

Texas (Perry)

Jan. 2011


Unemployment 8.1%

Aug. 2014

Jobs 12,292,281  (7.7% increase)

Unemployment 5.3 (2.8% decrease)

Wisconsin (Walker)

Jan. 2011 2,834,965 jobs

7.7% unemployment

Aug. 2014 2,903,863 (2.4% increase)

5.7% unemployment (2.0 decrease)


California (Brown)

Jan. 2011 16,155,497

12.1% unemployment

Aug. 2014

17,223,491 (6.6% increase)

7.4% unemployment (4.7% decrease)

Mass. (Patrick)

Jan. 2011 3,200,866

7.7% unemployment

Aug. 2014 3,313,165 (3.5% increase)

5.8% unemployment (1.9 decrease)

Maryland (O’Malley)

Jan. 2011 2,861,634

7.4% unemployment

Aug. 2014 2,906,229 (1.5% increase)

6.4% unemployment (1 pt decrease)

So big picture, if you look at reduced unemployment, the leaders are

1.  Nevada (Sandoval) 6.1

2.  California (Brown) 4.9

3. Michigan (Snyder) 3.7

4.   Ohio (Kasich) 3.4

5. Texas (Perry) and   New Jersey (Christie) 2.8

7.    Wisconsin (Walker) 2.0

8. Mass. (Patrick) 1.9

9.  La. (Jindal) 1.8

10.  NM (Martinez) 1.1

11.  Md. (O’Malley) 1.0

Job creation increase

1.  Texas (Perry) 7.7%

2.    Calif (Brown) 6.6

3.  Mich (Snyder) 5.0

4.  Nevada (Sandoval) 4.9

5.  La (Jindal) 4.5

6.  Mass (Patrick) 3.5

7. Wisconsin (Walker) 2.4

8. NJ (Christie) 2.2

9. Ohio (Kasich) 2.1

10. Md (O’Malley) 1.5

11.  NM (Martinez) 0.5


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