Winter 2007 Vol. 19, No. 1
Available PDF file

Globalization - Impact on U.S. Ports and Supply Chain
This article shows the impact international trade has had on U.S. ports, transportation infrastructures, and industrial real estate trends. It projects that the changes will continue over the next 25 years since Third World countries are able to manufacture goods at prices well below what can be produced domestically.

The Cost of Electricity is Shocking - Watts going on?
Because of the reliance on natural gas to fuel generating plants, electricity costs are continuing to rise. In the US alone, demand for electricity is expected to increase by 141,000 megawatts over the next ten years. Since capacity will not be able to meet demand, rates will most likely continue to rise.

Health Care Mandates - This Will Make You Sick
When legislation seems to target a specific employer, you can’t help but wonder if “organized labor” is involved. In this article, it seems clear that Wal-Mart was forced out of their plan to open a major distribution center in Maryland (that would have created 800 jobs) all because labor unions had an issue with them. The legislation in question was to require employers with 10,000 or more workers to spend at least 8% of their payroll on healthcare. Wal-Mart, unlike the other four employers who fell into this category, could not escape the requirement and their expansion plans were thwarted. Though the ruling was overturned, the end result was a loss for all.

SAT Scores: What You Don’t Know - Does the Score Really Mean Anything?
A lot rides on SAT scores and many things can influence them. To politicians, low scores can mean the difference between not only school funding, but also constituent votes. Despite any correlations that might be drawn from test scores and the population taking them, this article is quick to point out that funding decisions aren’t always based on what’s fair.

I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday, but I’m Filing Bankruptcy Today. Tougher bankruptcy laws may not deter consumers from this financial solution of last resort.
With the introduction of BAPTA (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act) in 2005, bankruptcy filings have significantly dropped. Lawmakers, though, wonder if the law has slowed (not cured) the epidemic. Afterall, the root cause of bankruptcy and financial mismanagement in the first place remains a constant.

“Change to Win” Union Coalition Achieves Success - Early Results May Spell Danger for Industry
In September 2005, a handful of labor unions (who were disgruntled with the AFL-CIO’s stance on organizing) formed ‘Change to Win’, an affiliation of seven unions and six million workers with a common agenda: to grow larger. Win ratios are up, organizing efforts are improving, and industries are (or at least should be) scared. While longterm effects can’t be accurately predicted, initial indications of CTW’s growth is positive.

If You Like What You’re Spending on Health Care...You’ll Love What You Pay in Taxes
The cost of health care is high but pales in comparison to taxes. While health care costs seem to command the most attention, it is the tax burden that is the most painful. The average American pays almost twice as much for taxes as for health care. While there is no escaping the federal tax burden, state and local taxes can vary considerably. It takes Americans (on average) 116 days to pay for taxes; health care costs require only 52. Either way, Americans are working one third of the year just to pay for both of them.

Good Times or Risky Times for Industrial Property Developers?
Estimates are in that roughly 80% of all new buildings are speculative, but is that risky for industrial developers? With higher land costs and diminishing cap rates, new projects are becoming dependent on market rent to maintain profit margins. If demand slows, owners of second generation buildings could have the competitive advantage. Developers are entering a market dynamic that hasn’t existed before and are rolling the dice on whether new construction is the healthiest option.