James Tatum


Recent articles


City officials don’t plan for the worst case scenario

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The problem is city officials didn’t abide by what could clumsily be called the “What If It Goes Wrong” principle. In other words, there didn’t appear to be any consideration of the worst case scenario on the part of city officials who were in office at the time. It was all but assumed the project would be successful. It wasn’t.

You can’t have the art

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People who think the city of Detroit should sell the Detroit Institute of Art’s collection tend to either not understand bankruptcy, or the implications of the art’s sale.

Republicans and the city

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Often times, Republicans point to cities like Detroit and Stockton, both of which have filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, and link their disarray to the Democratic administrations that control them. Urban politics are complicated, and those cities’ problems have more to do with the Great Recession than the party which controls them.

Film tax credits won’t make you a movie state

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I like Oliver Stone’s movies, but do I like them so much I’d offer the famed director of “Platoon,” “Natural Born Killers” and “Any Given Sunday” $10 million from the public treasury?

A glimpse into the EAA's past, future

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder had already raised the ire of residents in multiple cities, namely Detroit, when he empowered state administrators to take over city finances. Republican Snyder, who is currently in an election battle with Mark Schauer, a Democrat, has also empowered an arcane entity known as the Education Achievement Authority to take over school districts and public universities with low student achievement.

Ypsi must be wiser with taxes

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What city with no money can afford to give it away? Ypsilanti apparently can.

'Stupid rules' restrict business, keep cars off online market

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“You take a look at the weak economy, the overregulation….what we are seeing here is big government in practice,” said Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican nominee for vice president in 2012. Such complaints about an overbearing government are abstractions and are difficult to debate and discuss – unlike real instances where clearly the rules on persons and businesses are burdensome.

Economic mobility decreasing, income inequality on the rise

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Economists divide income distribution into quintiles. This sterile terminology doesn’t capture the romanticism of “rags to riches,” but the American dream is about people who want to move into a quintile above the one they were born into.

The Water Street Development Project is a disappoinment

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It’s already been written that the city of Ypsilanti will not declare bankruptcy, at least not in the foreseeable future. That does not mean there are not lessons to be learned from other localities that have sunk into insolvency.

Fix our roads!

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From casual observance our roads appear to be worse than ever. Which is why I am (and you should be) utterly perplexed as to why our state Legislature intends to waste money to cut taxes rather than fix our roads.

A tax cut for Detroiters

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Detroit should cut taxes. More specifically, it should eliminate its income tax of 2.4 percent. As part of the city’s plan of adjustment, a formal outline for solvency that was submitted to the federal bankruptcy court in February, it appears the city has other ideas. Namely it intends to collect income taxes from residents known as reverse commuters – people who live in the city but work in other areas. Former Mayor Dave Bing estimated $142 million in income tax revenue went uncollected in 2009, and the city wants that money.

Opportunity cost, opportunity lost

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“Colorado Expects to Reap Tax Bonanza From Legal Marijuana Sales” was a headline which appeared in the New York Times over Winter break.

Lokale Wirtschaftsentwicklung seminar on economy enlightening

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On Feb. 14th, in room 421 of Pray-Harrold, students from the University of Applied Sciences, Kehl, Germany presented their research on local economic development.

College, trade school education should be encouraged

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In his budget proposal sent to the state Legislature, Gov. Rick Snyder, Republican of the Great Lakes State, requested funds for a 6.1 percent hike in aid to universities. In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, asked for $34 million so that he could waive the cost of tuition for community college.

EMU, Institute of Local Politics

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Every two years, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics plays host to the lucky few who either toppled an incumbent or claimed an open seat and were elected to Congress.

Ypsi going 'nowhere' until fiscal health restored

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Earlier this month Eastern Michigan University, hosted many events in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michigan needs to save surplus

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Good news, finally. The State of Michigan is projected to have a budget surplus, between $971.1 million and $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2014. Followed by this news has been an appropriate question: “What do we do with this money?”

Poor understanding of poverty leads to poor policy

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Since the Great Recession, the blame for current misfortunes has been shifted from those who caused it to those who now suffer from it. It has become acceptable to have antipathy for the poor – it has become acceptable to make the worst kind of assumptions about people who are less fortunate.

Editor explores idea of sustainability

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“Sustainability means being able to balance the budget, providing basic services for public safety, transportation, and business development, and encouraging development of the local resources that are special to the community,” said Paul Schreiber, mayor of Ypsilanti. “In Ypsilanti’s case, this is historic architecture, Eastern Michigan University and the proximity to Ann Arbor.”

Southern states fighting over Boeing: A symptom of ongoing corporate control

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Politicians in the states of Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama and others have started their courtship of Boeing.

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