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Green Data Center Bill Is Just More “Greenwashing”

By William Newell In February, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 4126. This bill would allow utilities to purchase renewable energy certificates, or RECs, to meet Oregon’s renewable portfolio standards, rather than actually purchasing electricity produced by renewable sources. The bill is simply “greenwashing.” “Greenwashing” is a tactic for companies, in this case large data […]

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Do You Know Taxes Take 30% of Your Year?

If every penny earned since the beginning of the year went to pay federal, state, and local taxes, by April 21 Americans would have worked long enough to pay this year’s tax bills (April 20 for Oregon). Tax Freedom Day is a calendar-based illustration of the cost of government which divides all taxes by the […]

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Are Small Birds More Important than Small Kids?

Last year the S&P 500 Index had a total return on investment of 32%. That should have been good news for Oregon public schools, which receive twice-yearly checks from an endowment known as the Common School Fund. One of the largest assets of the Fund is the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest, near Coos Bay. Unfortunately, […]

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Energy-Efficiency Myths of Commuter Rail

Advocates of rail transit tend to argue that we need trains because they are more energy-efficient than buses or cars. Unfortunately, that’s only true in some cases. According to a new report by the Federal Railroad Administration, the average energy consumed by all commuter rail systems in America during 2011 was 2,923 British Thermal Units […]

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As ObamaCare Turns Four, How’s It Working out for You?

The Affordable Care Act turned four years old last Sunday. So how’s it working out for you? If you’re one of the millions who lost, or risk losing, the insurance you already had, your answer is probably “not so great.” If you’re a young person who realizes that ObamaCare wants you to pay much higher […]

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New Education Study Shows: We’re Paying More for Less

Advocates on all sides of the public education spending-versus-results debate cite various statistics to make their respective cases. Some argue that more money leads to better results. Others claim that spending more dollars per student―at least in the ways our public school system has spent them―makes little or no difference in educational outcomes; and it […]

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Airbnb, Destructive Innovation, and Liberty

By William Newell Portland is brainstorming regulations for temporary lodging made possible by websites like Airbnb. Airbnb describes itself as a “community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.” The proposed rules would make homeowners pay a tax, get a permit, and follow certain limitations. Portland’s slow and conditioned […]

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Engagement, Activism, or Deference: What’s the Role of the Judiciary?

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once remarked that “the reason why the public thinks so much of the Justices is that they are almost the only people in Washington who do their own work.” However, according to Clark M. Neily III, judges at all levels still might be doing their own work, but are abdicating […]

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Forced Charity Isn’t Charity…It’s Just Force

When Phil and Penny Knight announced last September* that they would offer $500 million to OHSU for cancer research if the public matched their gift, it understandably led to an outpouring of positive comments and support. But then, OHSU wanted state taxpayers to come up with $200 million of the match through a building bond. […]

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Too Little of a Good Thing

By William Newell The recent Portland School Board decision to expand enrollment at Benson Polytechnic High School exemplifies an odd mindset within the public education system. The board’s decision allows Benson to increase its enrollment from 821 to 850 students, due to public outcry over the limit. Benson was designed to handle 2,000 students, yet […]

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