Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Local stuff, business models, infrastructure

Unsurprisingly, the economy is the top concern for Houstonians. The Harris County Sheriff wants federal stimulus money for a helicopter, a surveillance van, eight machine guns for their boats, and some other stuff. Is that really necessary? Not only do machine guns not provide jobs, but who exactly are they going to shoot? Is that really in their jurisdiction? Will that keep Harris County safe? Galveston is considering bringing in gambling. I wonder what studies there are to show the negative effects of casinos for a neighborhood or area. I suppose Nevada does casinos pretty well. Houston's job losses increased, though unemployment held constant. Dr. Barton Smith gives some commentary, though to clarify one point--he projects Houston will lose 56,000 more jobs over the next two years. That doesn't sound too bad. Houston home sales and prices continue to drop. Some people in Houston want some infrastructe expenditure to upgrade the power grid. I hope this gets off the ground.

I think this is a good example to use when I describe firms in the same industry with different business models. I often lack knowledge of real life examples of this. Pepsi is buying up their bottlers, while Coke chooses not to.

There was a lot of talk, recently, about Obama's high-speed rail plans. I've gotta say, I like the infrastructure spending, but I didn't really expect this in Obama's first 100 days. I expected a more along the lines of smart grids and high-speed internet access. I'm not sure how essential high-speed trains are, but I admit having realistic rail options would be nice. And, hey, maybe they'll have wireless internet access on them, too. If I could jump on a train and go from Houston to Chicago or New York in 4-6 hours, that'd be nice. I don't think that's very realistic, though. I wonder how much tickets would be.

No comments: