Category: Budget

About Autor

Susan Bywater

Is an award winning freelance writer, journalist, and author with a passion for telling stories about social justice and environmental issues. Her first book, Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World (University of Regina Press) was released in early March 2002.

Maybe you read the story. I saw a man drop $90 on the subway last week, but he disappeared before I could return it. I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I did what I know: I wrote about it.

I spoke to a philosophy professor, a lawyer and a transit official, asking each what to do. I published what they said, hoping the story might reach the owner. Then I waited.

Since then, I’ve heard from dozens of readers, but not the man. Improbably, my moral dilemma expanded: On Tuesday, I found even more money, a pair of $20 bills, on a sidewalk near my home.

So what am I going to to do with all this cash?

When I found the $40, it was nighttime and I was walking my dog, Kevin, with a friend. Nobody else was around. With no way to confirm a claim to ownership, I plan to donate the money to GiveWell, a nonprofit that maintains a short list of charities that make especially effective use of donations.

MIDLAND, Tex. — In a global collapse of oil prices five years ago, scores of American oil companies went bankrupt. But one field withstood the onslaught, and even thrived: the Permian Basin, straddling Texas and New Mexico.

A combination of technical innovation, aggressive investing and copious layers of oil-rich shale have transformed the Permian, once considered a worn-out patch, into the world’s second-most-productive oil field.

And this transformation has apparently inoculated Texas against its traditional economic enemy, the boom-and-bust cycle pegged to oil prices.

Even now, with prices still far below their peak, the Permian is bursting with production and exploration, and the biggest concern is how to create more capacity to get all that oil to market.

The shale-drilling frenzy in the Permian has enabled the United States not only to reduce crude-oil imports, but even to become a major exporter for the first time in half a century. Its bounty has also empowered the United States diplomatically, allowing it to impose sanctions on Iran and Venezuela without worrying much about increasing gasoline prices.

A small group of well-educated professionals enjoys rising wages, while most workers toil in low-wage jobs with few chances to advance.

PHOENIX — It’s hard to miss the dogged technological ambition pervading this sprawling desert metropolis.

There’s Intel’s $7 billion, seven-nanometer chip plant going up in Chandler. In Scottsdale, Axon, the maker of the Taser, is hungrily snatching talent from Silicon Valley as it embraces automation to keep up with growing demand. Start-ups in fields as varied as autonomous drones and blockchain are flocking to the area, drawn in large part by light regulation and tax incentives. Arizona State University is furiously churning out engineers.

And yet for all its success in drawing and nurturing firms on the technological frontier, Phoenix cannot escape the uncomfortable pattern taking shape across the American economy: Despite all its shiny new high-tech businesses, the vast majority of new jobs are in workaday service industries, like health care, hospitality, retail and building services, where pay is mediocre.

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