Treat all businesses as special

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Oregon food processors are the latest business interests flocking to Salem seeking tax relief to keep their industry afloat. They support two legislative bills that would give them tax credits to reduce the burden of their property taxes and seasonal labor costs. The processors argue Oregon’s high taxes and second highest minimum wage rate in the county leave them particularly vulnerable to foreign competition.

In this battle, both sides have

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Buy Local First?

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

The opposition to globalization and free trade is now evident in a new movement called Buy Local First. Its proponents argue that we will all be better off if we simply shop at local stores and buy locally made products. They complain that Wal-Mart, for example, pays its workers too little and drives local merchants out of business.

Economists have exposed the

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Don’t Tax Broadcasters

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Not too many years ago, the Public Broadcasting Service asked this provocative question: “If PBS doesn’t do it, who will?” Now, with the explosion of cable and satellite programming, that question has been answered. The History Channel, Biography, C-Span, A&E, National Geographic, the Learning Channel and many other outlets offer the kinds of cultural, news, and educational programming once thought to be the exclusive territory of public broadcasting.

As alternatives have proliferated, government

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Property Rights Defended Before Court

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case that will help define property rights nationwide. The City of New London, Connecticut is using the power of eminent domain to condemn private homes and small businesses to allow a commercial development. The city argues that greater tax revenue from the development is a public purpose worthy of taking the homes of people who, in some cases, have lived their all their lives.

Eminent domain is supposed to be

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Bigger Isn't More Efficient

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Oregon’s Education Service Districts administer state and federal programs and provide services such as purchasing, testing and administrative work for local school districts. In theory, they help smaller districts obtain these services more cost-effectively by preventing duplication of effort. Some legislators and the governor have recently suggested that the state could save money by consolidating the 20 ESDs down to eight, on the theory that bigger organizations have lower administrative costs per student.

However, economists understand that

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Give Workers the Choice to Save

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

If no changes are made to the Social Security system, it will be $11.9 trillion short of being able to pay retirees their benefits over the next 75 years.

This is because Social Security depends on the contributions of current workers to fund current retirees’ benefits. Sixteen workers supported each retiree in 1950, but only three do today. By 2030, there will be only two. This demographic trend guarantees that

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