James Tatum


Recent articles


Detroit and the DIA

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A testament to the complexity of Detroit’s bankruptcy has been how many people have written about the matter incorrectly. Namely, on the proposition that the Detroit Institute of Arts sell its collection in order to settle the city’s debts.

Coleman Young didn’t destroy Detroit

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Former Mayor Coleman A. Young is not an unimpeachable character in Detroit’s story, nor is he the antagonist he’s often been made out to be.

Restorative justice helps teach students

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For most of this decade, and the previous decade, punishment in schools has not only been considered separate from criminal justice policy, but has also been all about retribution: suspension, expulsion, demerits, etc.

There is no defense for the death penalty in the U.S.

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Opponents of the death penalty have to understand that supporters of the death penalty will not be moved by the botched execution of Clayton D. Lockett in Oklahoma. They don’t care.

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.

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