How Houston will weather the recessionJoel Kotkin has an article both on the New Geography site and in Forbes (hat tip to David) this week on how Houston will weather the recession. It's a good piece and I recommend reading the whole thing, but here are a few excerpts that appealed to me:
From there he gets into many of the building negative economic indicators as Houston gets dragged down with the rest of the country. Then he gets into Obama policies that are actually discouraging domestic energy production and moving us away from energy independence, instead of towards it - and how Mayor White, who was on the short list for Energy Secretary, is trying to steer them back towards embracing domestic oil and gas, the only realistic short-to-medium term alternative. Continuing:
Until recently Texas, and particularly Houston, has been one of the last bastions of that great traditional American optimism--and for good reason. Over the past few years, Houston has outperformed every major metropolitan area on virtually every key economic indicator.
Last year, the region was rated among the major metropolitan areas as the best place for everything from earning a living to college grads to manufacturing, according to such publications as Forbes, Business Week and Kiplinger's.
Let's hope so. Keep your fingers crossed...
Yet even if the green Torquemadas have their way, White thinks Houstonians will find a way to keep their city ahead of the country's other urban sad sacks. Throughout the expansion of recent years, when other cities went on insane spending sprees, Houston has kept the cost of services low and focused on basic infrastructure. Critically, Houston is also among the few big cities that has streamlined its pensions for public employees....
So despite all the problems surrounding energy and the encroaching recession, Houstonians continue to be cautiously optimistic about their future.
They still excel at all the hallmarks of a progressive economy, such as improving both road and rail transport, reforming the school system and working to expand new industries, such as medical services, that have not yet been targeted by the Obamamians.
To be sure, Houston, which missed the Bush recession, is beginning to feel the pain during the new administration's watch. But Houstonians long have displayed remarkable grit and creativity in the face of tough times. Having survived catastrophic energy price declines, several huge hurricanes and endless humid summers, Houston is still among the best bets to survive these tough times and come out, in the end, a strong winner.