The Agenda

Stray Links for 16 April 2013

1. Gov. Christie would be well-advised to embrace the ambitious but surprisingly cost-effective idea of extending New York city’s 7 subway line to New Jersey.

2. Matthew O’Brien of The Atlantic describes the formidable barriers facing the long-term unemployed as they try to re-enter the labor market.

3. In an otherwise excellent article on how marriage rates shape political outcomes, Jonathan Last of The Weekly Standard makes one misstep: he claims that increasing density has the effect of making homes more expensive. Yet he goes on to suggest that a good way to reduce home prices is to remove land-use restrictions. He was right the second time — removing land-use restrictions, including restrictions on density, is the best way to reduce home prices. This means allowing suburban homeowners to rent out accessory dwellings, yet it also means allowing for more construction in dense urban cores. What Last calls a “dogmatic commitment to increasing population density” among Democrats is an illusion, as those of us who live in monolithically Democratic cities can New York city and Washington, D.C. can attest: local activists are generally keen to restrict development, to impose rent control and rent stabilization, and to resist gentrification, which, ironically enough, is largely driven by restrictions on development and density.

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