Funny piece, I don’t know where to start. Do University of Chicago BA’s anecdotes matter more than others? Are they considered journalistic facts at this point? If millennials are fleeing because the government has smothered private investment, reduced employment opportunities, and taxed their way to unaffordable housing costs, who are they building all these new buildings for they show in the piece? Rich Chinese immigrants looking for tax shelters? The amenities of the city lol I really enjoyed that line, that’s why everyone is moving downtown, it isn’t like they destroyed the suburbs by moving all the project dwellers there, destroying value, while at the same time raising taxes, destroying value, and overrunning the public schools with high-risk, illiterate children, destroying value. Government is the real reason why millennials are leaving, namely the Democratic Machine, that has sucked Chicago dry for over a century. The parasites have gotten so fat in the Windy City the corpse is getting cold, that’s the story media won’t tell you, and that’s why the comments are disabled, the same reason fascist countries won’t allow a free internet, the truth might get out.
I might dissect the substance of the article and its insights into the economics of energy, infrastructure and transportation later, but I chuckled at the media analysis found Lucas Davis’ recent post at the Energy Institute Blog ( at the Haas Business School at UC-Berserk-ly, of all places).
Here’s the claim simplified down to a graph:
Davis, exercising two-handed charity, noted that the Atlantic as an institution and Mr. Plumer as an individual have changed their tune.
To be fair, many of the same media outlets which initially touted the millennial story have been quick to note the reversal. “Millennials: Not So Cheap, After All,” writes Derek Thompson in the Atlantic. “Why Driving in the U.S. is Making a Big Comeback”, writes Brad Plumer in Vox. Cheap gasoline since 2014 and an expanding economy and, what do you know, this new generation is jumping into car ownership and driving just like previous generations.
Aside from the sober analysis of economics, two points/questions I’ll briefly stress.
- Did any 2012 evolutionary psychologists chuckle at these short-sighted grumps? People are wired to see patterns; when one far-way (but within eyeshot) stretch of land is distinct from the stretch under the berry patch, our caveman forerunners would judge that berries didn’t grow there and they’d probably be right. When trends are far more abstract, how often will panic and hysteria trick you into confusing correlation & causation?
- Did anyone take the original pieces seriously enough to change their behavior? I have a naive analysis of my own: proportionally, more public ink-spillers and writing worriers actually divested shares in car companies than the wider reading public. I don’t know if there are any states or locales that used bonds to construct/maintain toll-lanes or open roads, but if there are any, I’d like to know if their own open-market prices dropped in 2012.