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Thinking Green

Allegheny County got rid of desk-​side wastebaskets in the County Office Building and Health Department administrative offices last year and, as a result, sent 64 percent less trash to landfills.

Getting Rich In a Poor Market, Part IV

We’ve looked at two options for our portfolios if, as seems likely, we are entering into a period of historically low returns: more aggressive allocations to equities, and taking better advantage of illiquid assets. We now turn to the question of alpha.

Getting Rich In a Poor Market, Part III

We are speculating about possible strategies investors might use if, as seems likely, we find ourselves mired in a long period of unacceptably low investment returns.

Getting Rich in a Poor Market, Part II

If we are, in fact, facing a prolonged period of subpar returns in both stocks and bonds, as seems likely, there are almost limitless ways this future could play out. We might, for example, simply experience long years of generally positive – but low – returns, interspersed with down years.…

The City Should Welcome Shell to Downtown Pittsburgh

by Paul Scripko
In the current issue of Pittsburgh Quarterly, Publisher Doug Heuck notes the collaborative work of Pittsburgh civic leaders in helping Pittsburgh’s economic rebirth. The recent announcement that Shell is now committed to building an ethane “cracker” plant in Beaver County is an opportunity to increase that collaboration.

Getting Rich In a Poor Market

Virtually every thoughtful observer of the stock and bond markets has concluded that investment returns in the future are likely to be well below recent returns and even well below long-​term norms. This situation is reminiscent of the late 1990s. In 1999, following an almost uninterrupted 17-​year bull market, investors…

Why Are We So Afraid of Democracy? Part III

I’m arguing that there are three main reasons why our faith in democracy has taken a hit in recent years. The first reason is the deadlock in Congress that has everybody so frustrated. But as I pointed out, this isn’t a US phenomenon, it’s a global phenomenon. And it’s persisted…

Problem in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate, reported for the latest available month, April 2016, bumped up for the third month in a row to 5.8%. On the surface this is a disturbing figure given that most cities in our cohort group are experiencing falling unemployment rates. The unemployment rate in Charlotte is now…

Should We Go Fishing for PayPal?

Recently PayPal announced the cancellation of a planned operations center in North Carolina resulting from the passage of North Carolina HB2 (the “bathroom” bill). The reasons a company chooses a particular location to establish a facility are complex, but I believe Pittsburgh offers practically everything that was to be found…

Why Are We So Afraid of Democracy? Part II

Profound disagreements among the voting public have led, as noted in my last post, to profound disagreements in Congress. This has, naturally enough, led in its turn to a substantial decline in collegiality, willingness to compromise, and even civility in that not-​so-​august body. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that…

Why Are We So Afraid of Democracy?

Recently I debated Ben Bernanke about Fed policy since the Financial Crisis.(1) But even before the event I already knew how it would go. We’d all be very polite, very thoughtful, very respectful. Otherwise, we might be mistaken for The Donald. Some people would agree with me and some would…

Moderate Growth in Store for Metro Pittsburgh in 2016

Metropolitan Pittsburgh is a picture of stability entering 2016. Job growth is outpacing the Pennsylvania state average, and the unemployment rate for the seven-​county region is steady near 5 percent. 2015 brought a resurgence in labor force growth, providing local employers a wider pool of talent from which to fill…

Keeping international graduates

Alexandra Oliver had been a writer, editor, researcher, art critic, lecturer, curator, community organizer and entrepreneur. She earned her Ph.D. in Pittsburgh. She had a job offer in Pittsburgh and wanted to stay in the city where, she said, she “found a niche.”

Arrival of more immigrants softens population decline

Total population fell by 4,597 people throughout the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area from 2013 to 2014. The five-​year population trend, however, is one of stability. The region’s population grew slightly in three of those years.

New strategies emerge for strengthening neighborhood arts culture

The arthouse in Homewood is hard to miss. It’s the house on Hamilton Avenue adorned with mosaics, from the stars against a field of blue covering one of its sides to the swirls of hearts and other images around words and phrases like “yes” and “you are beautiful” that greet…
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