Author: Cascade Policy Institute

Nevada’s Education Innovation

By Emma Newman

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Oregon’s 2013 graduation rate is the worst of all 49 states which reported data. Nevada, which held Oregon’s position at the bottom in 2012, has decided to do something truly bold and create a system that allows for unprecedented levels of accountability, opportunity, and individualization in education.

Next January, Nevada will start the most inclusive educational savings account program in the nation. Educational saving accounts, or ESAs, allow public school students to take 90 percent of the money the state would spend on them and put it on a restricted use debit card. Parents can spend this money on a wide variety of approved educational options, such as private school, individual tutoring, and distance learning. Any money not used is rolled over for parents to spend in the future.

By allowing parents to choose where they send their child to school, schools become more accountable. Families who currently can’t afford to pay taxes for the public school system plus tuition for private options will now have real opportunities to meet their kids’ individual needs, learning styles, and interests.

While Oregon responded to having the worst graduation rate in the nation by giving its failed Oregon Education Investment Board a new name, Nevada responded with innovation.

Emma Newman is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank. She is a student at George Fox University, where she is studying Economics and Computer Science.

Read Blog Detail

“Right to Try” Is a Good First Step, Should Be Expanded

By Anna Mae Kersey

Oregon House Bill 2300 gives terminally ill patients access to potentially life-saving drugs or investigational products not yet approved by the FDA that they might otherwise die waiting for.

While the necessity of such a bill is largely uncontroversial, and since last year more than 20 states have passed similar legislation, restrictions are included in Oregon’s law that severely limit the types of terminally ill patients who would be eligible for this kind of treatment.

As passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate, HB 2300 leaves out children with fatal illnesses and patients in the early stages of cancer or progressive neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, and instead holds them subject to the same restrictions as those seeking “Death with Dignity” or assisted suicide. These patients, who have the possibility of living long and fulfilling lives during which their illnesses might be contained, if not eliminated, are denied this prospect, along with the fundamental human right to care for themselves.

HB 2300 is a good start in the direction of increasing medical autonomy for the terminally ill in Oregon. However, in future legislative sessions the law needs to be expanded so that terminally ill patients seeking to exercise their “Right to Try” are not subject to the same constraints as those seeking the “Right to Die.”

Anna Mae Kersey is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank. She recently graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia with an Honors B.A. in Philosophy and is pursuing a Master’s of Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Read Blog Detail

Taking Leave of Sickness

By Maxford Nelsen

A version of this article by Freedom Foundation labor policy analyst Maxford Nelsen originally appeared in The American Spectator on July 1, 2015.

Oregon’s Legislature just passed a law requiring employers with 10 or more employees to offer five days of paid sick leave to their employees per year, making Oregon the fourth state to adopt sick leave mandates for employers, following Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts. Oregon employers with fewer than 10 employees must offer five days of unpaid sick leave per year.* At the federal level, President Obama called for a national paid sick leave law in his 2015 State of the Union address.

But while labor activists treat paid sick leave like a proxy war against Wall Street, the casualties are all on Main Street. In practice, paid sick leave mandates like Oregon’s fall short of supporters’ expectations and are startlingly ineffective at achieving their basic goal of keeping sick employees from coming to work.

Only about 10 studies have attempted to measure the impact of existing paid sick leave regulations, which took off after San Francisco adopted a sick leave ordinance in 2006. A Freedom Foundation report, which was informally reviewed by academic and professional economists, evaluated the existing research and came to some surprising conclusions.

First, while supporters argue that public health demands mandating paid sick leave, workers come to work sick just as often with a mandatory paid sick leave policy as they do without one. Of the five studies to examine the effect of mandatory paid sick leave laws on workplace illness, four found no reduction. One study for the Seattle City Auditor noted that the lack of any decline in workplace illness “seemingly contradicts the intent of the [Seattle] ordinance.”

Second, mandatory paid sick leave laws do nothing to reduce turnover. One methodologically questionable study of Connecticut’s paid sick leave law by a pro-sick leave advocacy group reported a slight decrease in turnover, while a more credible study of Seattle’s paid sick leave ordinance by the University of Washington reported effectively no changes in turnover.

The result should not come as a surprise. As one small business owner in San Francisco—who offered paid sick leave—explained, “Since the new ordinance, employees will have the same benefit no matter where they work. There’s less of an incentive to stay and work for me.”

Third, consumers, workers, and employers are all negatively affected by mandatory paid sick leave policies. Employer surveys indicate that affected businesses frequently respond to paid sick leave laws by increasing prices, decreasing employee benefits and hours, and limiting expansion. Even after taking steps to offset the additional expenses, many businesses report reduced profitability.

Fourth, studies tend to exaggerate employer support for mandatory paid sick leave laws. All four of the studies that asked employers whether they supported the mandate found a majority of employers were supportive. In each case, however, a majority of employers were already mostly or completely in compliance with the law and had to make few changes in response, with the rate ranging from 50 to 89 percent.

While it is hardly surprising that unaffected businesses support a mandate that places additional costs on their competitors, most businesses that had to create new or modify existing policies appear to be opposed to paid sick leave mandates. Many of these businesses also report significant difficulty implementing the mandates.

Lastly, some paid sick leave laws are designed to promote union organizing. Paid sick leave statutes in at least San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Oregon’s new law contain provisions that allow labor unions to waive sick leave requirements in collective bargaining.

Such statutes allow unions to approach non-union employers and offer to waive the sick leave requirements in exchange for the employer’s cooperation in unionizing employees. Studies of San Francisco and Seattle’s sick leave ordinances indicate the waivers are frequently used.

But if paid sick leave is a basic workers’ right, as labor activists contend, why should union workers be the only ones exempt?

Overall, the evidence indicates that requiring employers to provide paid sick leave benefits produces few appreciable benefits and even raises costs.

Oregon’s course may be set, but it’s not too late for other states and the federal government to take heed of the evidence and approach paid sick leave mandates with a healthy dose of skepticism.

* “Employers with Portland operations and who employ at least six employees anywhere in the state will similarly be required to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave benefits. Employers with fewer than 10 Oregon-based employees, and fewer than six employees, if operating in Portland, must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.” Source:  http://www.natlawreview.com/article/oregon-enacts-paid-sick-leave

Maxford Nelsen is Labor Policy Analyst at the Freedom Foundation in Washington State and a guest contributor for Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market research organization. A version of this article originally appeared in The American Spectator on July 1, 2015.

Read Blog Detail

How the State of Oregon Gambles Away Its Lottery Proceeds

By Thomas Tullis

When Oregon politicians pretend to be experts on venture capital investing, it ends up costing the state millions of dollars in education money.

This is exactly what is going on with the Oregon Growth Board, a project of the Oregon Business Development Department. Tasked with generating a return on investment by financing venture capital funds in Oregon, the Board receives 10% of state lottery profits that are supposed to be apportioned to a state education endowment fund. Unfortunately for students, the Oregon Growth Account boasts a measly 1.5% return on investment over a 15-year period.

In order to justify these dismal returns, the Board claims that venture capital funds tend to lose money in the early years but then make it up as new companies mature. They also admit that they’re recovering from $22 million in losses suffered when the dot-com bubble burst 15 years ago.

State legislators don’t recognize the irony of using profits from the Oregon Lottery to gamble in high-risk investments to benefit an education stability fund. Perhaps the Oregon Growth Board would have a more reasonable ROI if they just flew to Vegas and put our education money all on red.

Thomas Tullis is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank. He is a student at the University of Oregon, where he is studying Journalism and Political Science.

Read Blog Detail

Does PCC-Sylvania Need a Light Rail Tunnel?

By Emma Newman

Metro and TriMet are jointly considering an expansion of the light rail system to PCC-Sylvania in SW Portland, by building a tunnel to the campus from Barbur Boulevard. The tunneling would have a significant impact on the surrounding neighborhood, forcing many homeowners to move away while still requiring PCC students to make a long walk to their classes.

Currently, 84 percent of PCC students drive to school, even with the campus being served by both shuttles and busses. If this tunnel plan is chosen, Oregon taxpayers will be saddled with paying half of the two billion dollar cost.

When asked at what point the costs of building new transit outweigh the benefits, a Metro spokesperson responded that “transportation planning is more an art than a science.”

An alternative plan under consideration is a rapid bus line which would also service PCC-Sylvania. While this would be about half the cost and much less inconvenient than digging a rail tunnel, it still would be a response to a need that doesn’t exist.

Despite the low ridership of current transit options, transportation officials continue to follow the mantra of “if you build it they will come,” rather than follow the laws of supply and demand.

Emma Newman is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank. She is a student at George Fox University, where she is studying Economics and Computer Science.

Read Blog Detail

Oregon’s Proposed Sick Leave Law Doesn’t Fit All

By Anna Mae Kersey

Senate Bill 454, which mandates that employers implement paid sick leave for employees, may leave small business owners and the agriculture industry in the dust.

SB 454 states, “Employers that employ at least 10 employees working anywhere in this state shall implement a sick time policy that allows an employee to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.” Employers with fewer than 10 employees must provide the same amount of sick time, but it can be unpaid.

For big businesses and corporations, this mandate might not pose a problem; many larger companies already offer competitive benefits packages that include paid sick leave and vacation time.

For small businesses and the agriculture industry, however, 40 hours of paid sick time per year translate into five days during which the employer will not only be short an employee, but will still be compensating that employee for his or her time.

According to the Associated Oregon Industries, 88,000 business owners in Oregon employ fewer than 50 people. Although the Senate had the opportunity to accommodate those industries, that motion failed. By forcing business owners to take a uniform approach, instead of one tailored specifically to best suit both the employer and the employee, this bill could have real economic consequences.

These business owners will now likely have to cut costs by downsizing their companies, lowering wages, and increasing prices in order to offset the mandate’s impact.

Anna Mae Kersey is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank. She recently graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia with an Honors B.A. in Philosophy and is pursuing a Master’s of Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Read Blog Detail

Press Release – Should Charities Be Required to Disclose the Names of Donors?

June 12, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

John A. Charles, Jr.

503-242-0900

john@cascadepolicy.org

Should Charities Be Required to Disclose the Names of Donors?

PORTLAND, Ore. – Cascade Policy Institute hosted a debate on the topic of donor privacy versus donor disclosure at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland June 1. The event was prompted by a growing number of legislative proposals in other states to regulate charitable giving the same as political giving, which requires disclosure of the names, addresses, and employers of contributors.

More than 100 attendees were treated to an engaging discussion between James Huffman, Dean Emeritus of the Lewis & Clark Law School, and Dan Meek, a public interest attorney and Co-chair of the Independent Party of Oregon. The debate was moderated by Nigel Jaquiss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with Willamette Week.

Complete video of the event is available online at cascadepolicy.org.

Attendees were surveyed by email after the debate. Of 83 attendees with email addresses, 30 people responded to the survey.

When asked, “On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 favoring total donor privacy in charitable giving and 5 favoring complete public disclosure, how would you rank your personal values?”, 33% favored total donor privacy. 27% favored total disclosure.

70% of survey respondents said they would not “support state legislation to require that all nonprofit charitable organizations disclose the names, addresses, and amount of donation for all contributors in the previous year.” 20% said they would support such legislation, and 10% were unsure.

Of those who responded, 37% said the debate persuaded them to reconsider their assumptions about donor privacy.

According to Cascade Policy CEO John A. Charles, Jr., “Donor privacy is important because excessive public disclosure requirements can be used to intimidate people who wish to anonymously support certain charitable causes. This debate shone much-needed light on all aspects of the issue. Most importantly, a third of respondents indicated that the speakers made them reconsider their views. This is the sign of a successful public discussion.”

The donor privacy debate was sponsored by Cascade Policy Institute and the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. Roggendorf Law LLC and The Federalist Society Portland Lawyers Chapter also cosponsored.

#

Read Blog Detail

Event Video – Do Citizens Have a Right to Privacy in Charitable Giving?

Cascade Policy Institute hosted a debate on the topic of donor privacy versus donor disclosure at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland on June 1, 2015.

Attendees were treated to an engaging discussion between James Huffman, Dean Emeritus of the Lewis & Clark Law School, and Dan Meek, a public interest attorney and Co-chair of the Independent Party of Oregon. The debate was moderated by Nigel Jaquiss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with Willamette Week.

The debaters masterfully covered many sides of this complex issue, and the audience asked probing questions. The debate was sponsored by Cascade Policy Institute and the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation. Roggendorf Law LLC and The Federalist Society Portland Lawyers Chapter also cosponsored.

Read Blog Detail

Event Video – Aging Roads? New Ideas!

Cascade welcomed transportation expert Adrian Moore, Ph.D., Vice President of Policy for Reason Foundation, at a special event at Multnomah Athletic Club on April 29, 2015. Adrian gave a lively, informative, and interactive presentation on a variety of transportation innovations and road financing options. The discussion ranged from topics such as driverless cars to wireless transponders. If you missed the event, you can watch it here. We hope to see you at Cascade’s next event!

Read Blog Detail

Make Medical Providers Compete on Price as Well as Quality

By Roger Stark, MD, FACS

The method doctors and hospitals are paid for their work is undergoing gradual but relentless change. Providers traditionally have been compensated on a fee-for-service basis, where they receive a specific amount of money for a specific visit or medical procedure. This is how other highly trained professionals, like lawyers, dentists, auto mechanics, and architects are paid—they receive a fee for service rendered.

The main argument offered against allowing doctors to charge for their services is that it leads to overutilization and increases healthcare costs. Doctors are accused of ordering more visits, extra tests, and unnecessary operations simply to pad their incomes.

From an economic standpoint, the fundamental difference with health care is the third-party payer system in the United States. The overwhelming majority of health care in this country is paid for by employers or the government, with money channeled through heavily regulated insurance companies. In other economic activities, consumers pay directly for a product or service and consequently become savvy shoppers who can take advantage of marketplace competition. In health care, patients are largely barred from shopping and have become isolated from true costs they incur.

Third-party payers were disinterested until healthcare costs and utilization exploded. Now, the payers, and not patients or providers, are attempting to change the payment model by imposing wage and price controls on doctors and hospitals. Patients are not seeking these caps, they are cost-control efforts by the entities that have to pay the bills.

A second argument against doctor fees is it discourages the use of “integrated care,” by which patients are placed in some type of provider-group that controls all aspects of their care. These integrated groups have many different names, including medical homes and accountable care organizations (coordinated care organizations in Oregon). In reality, they are simply various forms of the health maintenance organizations (HMOs).

HMOs may or may not provide integrated care but, through force, they can hold down healthcare costs. HMOs decrease healthcare costs by using a gatekeeper system where clinical decisions are weighed against budgets. Various types of HMOs are strongly encouraged or outright mandated in the Affordable Care Act.

The idea of pay-for-performance is becoming popular with payers, regulators, and policymakers. The reason is that they, not patients or doctors, decide what “performance” means and how much the “pay” will be. Providers get paid a higher amount if they meet certain quality measures that are determined, in many cases, by non-clinician policymakers or other regulators.

Results with the pay-for-performance model over the past 15 years have been varied. There is no clear evidence its defined quality measures decrease patient complications, improve care, or predictably lower costs. It does increase the regulatory and compliance burden on providers, however. In reality, most hospitals have been improving quality measures and the patient experience without pay for performance.

What is a real and meaningful solution to the provider reimbursement problem?

First, solve the third-party payer problem by removing employers and the government as payers of most health care. Allow patients, working with their providers, to make their own medical decisions and control their own healthcare dollars. Change the tax code and allow individuals to take the same health insurance deduction employers now receive. Use government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid as safety-net plans for low-income people. Reform or repeal the vast new system of government controls imposed by the Affordable Care Act.

Second, allow more competition in the health insurance industry by eliminating many of the government benefit mandates. Let patients decide what insurance plans are best for them and allow them to purchase plans across state lines. Encourage the use of health-savings accounts and low-cost, high-deductible insurance plans.

Third, increase the use of high-risk pools for high-use and high-cost patients.

Fourth, pass meaningful tort reform so providers don’t feel the need to order extra tests out of fear of lawsuits.

Finally, encourage more price transparency in the system and allow providers to compete on price as well as quality, just as professionals do in other parts of our economy.

The most important person in the healthcare system is the patient, not cost-conscious employers or distant government bureaucrats. The patient, as a consumer of health care, should determine the value and quality of services received and how much doctors should be paid to provide them.


 

Dr. Roger Stark is a health care policy analyst at Washington Policy Center in Seattle, Washington and a retired physician. He is a guest contributor for Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center. A version of this article originally appeared in The Seattle Times.


 

Read Blog Detail

No Wonder Portland Can’t Afford to Maintain Streets

The Portland City Council seems determined to raise taxes to pay for street maintenance. But the City doesn’t have a revenue shortage problem; it has a spending misallocation problem, which continues to grow.

The latest example is a proposal to begin collecting and publicizing energy consumption data from about 1,000 of the largest commercial buildings in the city. This is being proposed as part of the city’s Quixotic attempt to “fight climate change.” Proponents claim soothing words that the regulation would “provide market recognition to those who perform really well” on some arbitrary energy consumption scorecard.

In fact, this is just an effort to shame building owners, managers, and tenants into adjusting their behavior to conform to the political edicts of City Hall. Commercial buildings consuming “too much” energy will receive a Scarlet Letter and be harassed by bureaucrats and activist groups into expensive energy conservation retrofits, many of which will make no financial sense.

The cost of city oversight? At least one full-time employee. This is why city streets are falling apart. Too many bureaucrats are pushing papers for programs that are irrelevant to the core functions of government. The Council should kill this idea before it goes any further.

Read Blog Detail

Scare Tactics Not Working in Road Tax Debates

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently issued a report describing the deteriorating condition of Oregon highways. The authors estimate that the cumulative cost to the state economy from poor roads will be $94 billion by 2035.

At the same time, the Portland City Council is considering a new local income tax to pay for road maintenance and safety, citing a lack of adequate funding.

While road maintenance is indeed a problem throughout Oregon, the public is unlikely to approve new road taxes. The primary reason is a lack of trust. During the past 15 years, Portland has squandered vast amounts of money on fads like streetcars, light rail, bioswales, and “road diets.” At the state level, ODOT spent nearly two decades and $180 million on a silly bridge-with-light-rail proposal to Vancouver, Washington that is now dead.

These projects were mostly aimed at getting people “out of their cars.” Yet the reality is, regardless of how people travel, more than 99% of all trips take place on a road. So road maintenance needs to be the top priority with existing transportation dollars.

New methods to pay for transportation infrastructure will eventually be needed, but politicians need to re-earn the public’s trust before that can happen.

Read Blog Detail

Policy Picnic – November 19, 2014

Please join us for our monthly Policy Picnic led by Cascade President & CEO John A. Charles, Jr.

Topic: Alternatives to the Proposed Portland Street Tax

Description: The Portland City Council seems determined to enact a new tax to pay for basic road maintenance. In this seminar, we will discuss why such a tax is unnecessary, and what the city should do to maintain and improve the road system.

Admission is free. Please feel free to bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served.

Space is limited, so sign up early!

 
Sponsored by:
Dumas Law Group

Read Blog Detail

Freedom in the Digital World

Join Cascade staff on November 22 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lake Oswego at this year’s Freedom Seminaron “Freedom in a Digital World” with economist Robert Higgs and Liberty.me CEO Jeffrey Tucker.

Get Your Tickets Here

Read Blog Detail

Executive Club

Redder or Bluer?

GMO Marijuana?

Same bathrooms for the top 2?

Drivers licenses for alien judges in digital camo?

Time for the postmortem! Postpartum?

Let’s hear from the band

Eric Winters, Lindsay Berschauer, and Gregg Clapper

singing their a cappella hit single

Oregon Election 2014

Read Blog Detail

Understanding and Defending Your Property Rights—And Why It’s So Important

Please join us for Cascade’s monthly Policy Picnic led by Pacific Legal Foundation’s Christina Martin on July 14, at noon. An attorney, Christina was a project director at Cascade Policy Institute before joining Pacific Legal Foundation.

For decades, your property rights have faced major challenges from local, state, and federal regulations. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has begun to push back. Come learn about recent property rights cases to better understand your rights, why they are important, and what you can do to protect them.

Admission is free. Please bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served. Space is limited to sixteen guests on a first come, first served basis, so sign up early.

Sponsored By

Read Blog Detail

Friedman Legacy Day 2014

Cascade Policy Institute cordially invites you to participate in this year’s Friedman Legacy Day. This annual, international event provides fans of Milton Friedman and lovers of liberty the opportunity to learn about the late Nobel laureate, to share his ideas, and to celebrate the impact they had on our country and the worldwide movement for freedom.

4 pm – 5 pm Policy Picnic on Milton Friedman with Steve Buckstein (SOLD OUT. Register below for our main event!)

5 pm – 7pm Complimentary food and beverages

We will also be holding a book fair and video showing!

Read Blog Detail

Understanding Oregon’s Common School Trust Lands and the Financial Crisis on the Elliott State Forest

Please join us for Cascade’s monthly Policy Picnic led by Cascade Policy Institute President and CEO John A. Charles, Jr. and attorney Katie Walter on Thursday, June 26, at noon.

The Common School Trust Lands serve as an endowment fund for Oregon’s public schools. Unfortunately, the most valuable asset within the Trust Land portfolio – the Elliott State Forest – lost $3 million during 2013. This seminar will discuss the history of the Trust Lands, the legal requirements to manage them for the benefit of students, and the crisis on the Elliott State Forest.

Admission is free. Please bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served. Space is limited to sixteen guests on a first come, first served basis, so sign up early.

Sponsored By

Read Blog Detail

2014 Spring Newsletter

See what Cascade Policy Institute has been up to in the Spring of 2014 in our latest newsletter.

Read Blog Detail

“Do Business Owners Have Religious Freedom Rights?”

Please join us for Cascade’s monthly Policy Picnic led by Cascade Policy Institute publications director Kathryn Hickok on Wednesday, April 30th, at noon.

Do we give up our 1st Amendment rights when we start a business? The Supreme Court just heard oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, determining whether individuals lose their religious freedom when they open a family business. At issue is the ObamaCare Health and Human Service (HHS) Mandate, which requires David and Barbara Green and their family business to provide and facilitate potentially life-terminating drugs and devices in their health insurance plan, against their religious convictions, or pay severe fines to the IRS. The Obama Administration argues that companies can’t have religious convictions, but other cases have upheld business owners’ 1st Amendment free speech rights. Should free speech be protected but not religious freedom? We’ll talk about the arguments before the Court, which is expected to rule in June.

Admission is free. Please bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served. Space is limited to sixteen guests on a first come, first served basis, so sign up early.

Sponsored By

 

Read Blog Detail

Why I Left the Left: Lessons Learned From a Long, Strange Trip

Cascade Policy Institute President & CEO John A. Charles, Jr. spent 17 years heading the Oregon Environmental Council (1980-1996). He just completed his 17th year with Cascade. Why did he make the change and what has he learned along the way? Join us for an entertaining talk from a “recovering statist” who will share thoughts from his essay in the recently-published book, “Why We Left the Left”. 

5:30 PM
Guest Arrival

5:45 PM
Presentation and Q&A

Hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffet, and a no-host bar will be provided.

Early-bird pricing: Prior to April 15th, $20.00/person.
After April 15th, registration increases to $25/person.

Read Blog Detail

RECs, Renewable Mandates, and the Oregon Electricity System

Please join us for Cascade’s monthly Policy Picnic led by Cascade Policy Institute research associate William Newell on Wednesday, March 26th, at noon.

RECs are a commodity similar to carbon offsets and other so-called ‘green’ products and they are touted as renewable energy ‘equivalents’ meaning anyone who purchases a REC can claim they used renewable electricity. Despite the strong claims, questions remain about RECs’ effects on the electricity system in Oregon and whether they result in less reliance on fossil fuels.

Admission is free. Please bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served. Space is limited to sixteen guests on a first come, first served basis, so sign up early.

Sponsored By

Read Blog Detail

Understanding Oregon’s Hidden Sales Tax on Energy

Please join us for Cascade’s monthly Policy Picnic led by Cascade Policy Institute President and CEO John A. Charles, Jr. on Thursday,February 27th, at noon.

Since 2002 most Oregon electricity customers have been forced to pay a monthly energy tax of at least 3% to support such groups as the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency. Over the last decade more than one billion has been collected to improve energy efficiency and subsidize renewable power. This presentation will discuss where the money goes and outline ways to reduce or repeal the tax.

Admission is free. Please bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served. Space is limited to sixteen guests on a first come, first served basis, so sign up early.

Sponsored By

Read Blog Detail

Book Forum: Clark Neily – Judicial Abdication vs. Judicial Engagement

Join Cascade Policy Institute as we welcome Clark M. Neily III

Judicial Abdication vs. Judicial Engagement
Is the Supreme Court shirking its obligation to uphold the Constitution?

Clark M. Neily III
Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
Author, “Terms of Engagement: How Our Courts Should Enforce the Constitution’s Promise of Limited Government

5:30 PM
Guest Arrival

5:45 PM
Presentation and Q&A

Hors d’oeuvres and dessert buffet, and a no-host bar will be provided.

Early-bird pricing: Prior to March 12th, $20.00/person.

After March 12th, registration increases to $25/person.


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 might still be doing their own work, but are abdicating their responsibility, as James Madison put it, to serve as an “impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive.”

Neily argues that the judiciary’s knee-jerk deference to the other branches has resulted in an explosion in the size, cost, and intrusiveness of government. In any given year, the Supreme Court strikes down just three of the five thousand laws passed by federal and state governments. Unfortunately, this reflexive restraint toward other branches led to the Affordable Care Act being upheld last year and the approval of eminent domain for economic development purposes in Kelo v. City of New London (2005).

Neily has spent his career fighting against the unconstitutional expansion of government and a more properly engaged judiciary. He is the director of the Institute for Justice’s Center for Judicial Engagement, and he served as co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the watershed Second Amendment case,District of Columbia v. Heller.


Terms of Engagement has received enthusiastic accolades from constitutional scholars and leading luminaries of the limited government movement:

“Clark Neily’s elegant essay slays the idea that ‘judicial restraint’ is always a virtue. It often amounts to judicial abdication. Neily explains that judges must judge to defend the rights that government exists to secure.”
– George F. Will, political commentator

“Through the use of compelling real-world cases and remarkably clear, accessible and accurate explanations of current law, Clark Neily exposes the legal charade by which, in the name of ‘restraint,’ judges have stacked the deck in favor of those who use laws and regulations to line their own pockets. Required reading for all who care about their liberties and the Constitution that is supposed to protect them.”
– Randy Barnett, Professor at Georgetown Law School

“Provocative yet fair-minded, this book is essential reading for anyone who cares about our courts, our Constitution, or our country.”
– Kermit Roosevelt, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

“Clark Neily weaves constitutional analysis with anecdotes in service of large principle. His basic principle is that a squishy policy of judicial deference disserves his clients, the public at large, and the critical role of judicial oversight in a democracy. He is right on all counts. A great read for lawyers and nonlawyers interested in the real-world consequences of judicial decision making.”
– Richard Epstein, Professor at the New York University School of Law

* * * * *

Cascade Policy Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible and accepted with gratitude.

Sponsored By

Read Blog Detail

The Future of School Choice in Oregon: Education Savings Accounts

Please join us for Cascade’s monthly Policy Picnic led by Cascade Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst and founder Steve Buckstein on Wednesday, January 29th, at noon.

Steve will discuss the history of school choice in Oregon: successes, challenges, and the future of the movement.

Emphasis will be placed on the Education Equity Emergency Act (E3), which is the first Education Savings Account bill submitted to the Oregon legislature. The bill will have an informational hearing on Thursday afternoon, January 16, before the Senate Education Committee and hopefully will be heard during the formal February legislative session.

Learn the benefits of ESAs, details of the E3 Act, and what you can do to help Oregon students receive their own Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.

Admission is free. Please bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served. Space is limited to sixteen guests on a first come, first served basis, so sign up early.

Sponsored By

Read Blog Detail

Global Quest For Freedom

Featuring

Donald J. Boudreaux, economics professor at George Mason University and former president of the Foundation for Economic Education, returns following accolades for his previous two Freedom Seminars engagements. He is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker with a passion for freedom and optimism for the future. He has lectured in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe. Don is published in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Regulation, Reason, The Freeman, The Washington Times, The Journal of Commerce, and the Cato Journal. He is the author of Globalization (Greenwood Press, 2008) and has a widely followed blog with Russ Roberts entitled Cafe Hayek. His PhD in economics is from Auburn University and his law degree is from the University of Virginia.

 

Karol Boudreaux is currently director of investments for the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people (especially in developing countries) to improve their lives. Prior to Omidyar Network, Karol was an Africa land tenure specialist at USAID. Before joining USAID, she conducted academic research that concentrated on property and land tenure systems, natural resource management, and many varieties of entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. A former instructor at the George Mason University School of Law, Karol was also a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at GMU where she managed a research project on enterprise-based solutions to poverty. Karol received a juris doctorate degree from the University of Virginia, where she concentrated on international law. She has a bachelor’s degree from Douglass College at Rutgers University.

Click here to register.

Read Blog Detail

Press Release: Angry Protesters Reject Proposals for Employees’ Freedom to Choose

For Immediate Release

Media Contact

Patrick Schmitt, patrick@cascadepolicy.org

503-242-0900

Angry protesters reject proposals for
employees’ freedom to choose

Attendees and Speaker Harassed at Northwest Employee Freedom Event

VANCOUVER, Wa. – Several dozen union protesters marched outside Clark College’s Columbia Tech Center in Vancouver on Thursday evening. The hostile group tried to block attendees from entering the event venue scheduled to hold the first Northwest Employee Freedom One Night Event, jointly sponsored by Cascade Policy Institute of Portland, Oregon and The Freedom Foundation of Olympia, Washington.

After yelling, harassing, and shoving event attendees and organizers, protesters entered the venue and began shouting and using bullhorns to disrupt the event. The keynote speaker, Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s labor expert Vincent Vernuccio, was also spat on by a protester. The Vancouver Police Department was called and escorted protesters out of the event center. The two who refused to leave were arrested for trespassing.

This peaceful gathering of Washingtonians and Oregonians was meant to educate them on the story of how Michigan secured the freedom for all of its public and private sector employees to choose whether or not they want to be represented by a union without financial consequences.

“This kind of behavior is most saddening because it shows a real lack of understanding of what Cascade Policy Institute wants for Oregon,” said Cascade founder Steve Buckstein.

“We do not seek to end unions or union representation. We simply want all Oregonians to have the right to choose whether or not union membership and representation is something they desire for themselves,” he said. “All Oregonians deserve that right, even those who reject our efforts.”

“At the end of the day, this is a fight for freedom and justice. No amount of harassment or intimidation will change that fact,” he ended.

Photos from the event, including images of protesters and arrests, can be found here: http://on.fb.me/1aUbH2C

###

Read Blog Detail

What Is Food Freedom?

Please join us for Cascade’s monthly Policy Picnic Thursday, November 15 at noon. Cascade Board Member and attorney Gilion Dumas will discuss the idea of Food Freedom.

Food Freedom is the rallying cry for those committed to free choice in the foods we eat and feed our families.

The general idea is to keep all food choices legal – whether healthy, unhealthy, local, global, fresh, frozen, or french fried. The goal is to limit government regulation that comes between your fork and your mouth.

Although the general idea is broad, supporters of Food Freedom tend to be particularly interested in certain issues, and these issues tend to focus on smaller producers and local markets. These issues include raw milk, farm-direct meat, pastured poultry, the farm sale of processed foods, and the sale of “home-made” food products.  Food Freedom advocates also find themselves arguing against bans and restrictions on what farmers can grow, restaurants can sell, chefs can cook, and consumers can eat.

Admission is free. Please bring your own lunch. Coffee and cookies will be served. Space is limited to ten guests on a first come, first served basis, so sign up early. To RSVP, email Kathryn Hickok at kathryn@cascadepolicy.org or call 503-242-0900.

Read Blog Detail

Bill Meyer talks with Steve Buckstein about Right to Work in education

KMED host Bill Meyer spoke with Cascade Senior Policy Analyst Steve Buckstein about the philosophy of right to work, education unions, and the Eagle Point School District teacher strikes.

Read Blog Detail

Federal Health Care Reform: A Two-Year Report Card

Major health care reform (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) became law two years ago. The legislation passed with only Democratic votes and totaled a massive 2,700 pages. The Medicare and Medicaid programs, by contrast, were enacted in 1965 with broad support from both parties and totaled only 137 pages. Although the 2010 PPACA will not be fully implemented until 2018, we know much more about it today than was apparent two years ago.

The American public continues to view the law unfavorably. The weekly Rasmussen poll consistently shows a firm majority of Americans, 52 to 60 percent, favor repeal. A recent poll by the Kaiser Foundation reveals 51 percent of the public views the law unfavorably. The CNN polling organization found that 59 percent of Americans oppose the law and only 39 percent support it.

Before passage, Americans were told the law would decrease health care costs for the country. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the original cost of the legislation would be less than $1 trillion and would reduce the deficit by $100 billion in the first ten years. These numbers were based on the government collecting ten years of taxes and providing only six years of benefits. CBO officials now believe the first ten years will cost Americans at least $1.5 trillion and will add another $700 billion to the deficit.

The chief Medicare actuary, Richard Foster, estimates PPACA will increase overall health care spending from 17 percent of the economy to 21 percent by 2020. Foster also calculates that insurance premiums will increase by $2,100 per year on average because of PPACA. One of the architects of the law, Jonathan Gruber (an M.I.T. economist), recently stated that the law will “dramatically increase” insurance premiums.

 

The second ten years of the law, from 2020 to 2029, will be even worse. There will then be ten years of taxes collected to pay for a full ten years of benefits. There will be no four-year revenue buffer by then. Cost estimates for the second and subsequent ten-year periods run as high as $2.5 to $3 trillion and will add untold billions to the national deficit. So much for holding the cost of health care down.

The President told Americans we could keep our present health insurance if we liked it. A recent national survey, however, found that 50 percent of small business employers and 30 percent of large employers will definitely drop or would consider dropping employee health benefits. The CBO now estimates that at least 14 million Americans will lose their employer-provided health insurance under PPACA.

Proponents of the PPACA guaranteed the law would cover health insurance for every American. Estimates now predict that at least 20 million people will remain uninsured.

To date, the federal government has provided over 1,200 waivers, or customized repeals, to businesses, labor unions and other organizations, allowing them to opt out of part or all of the PPACA. Yet the law forces states to add 16 to 23 million more people to the budget-breaking Medicaid program.

Proponents of the law point out that millions of young adults under 26 years old have been added to their parents’ health insurance plans. Of course, the impact of improving the nation’s health is minimal. These young people for the most part don’t require health care.

Proponents also argue that small businesses now have access to tax credits for employee health insurance. Because of very specific requirements and a huge regulatory burden, only five percent of eligible employers have actually used these credits.

In reality employers face a very uncertain future. In a recent Gallup Poll, nearly 85 percent of small business employers are not hiring now because of fears about regulations and the cost of health benefits required in the new law.

The PPACA has become increasingly unpopular since it passed two years ago. Experience with the law and concerns about the future make this growing unpopularity warranted.

Read Blog Detail

Press Release: Requiring a Prescription for Cold Medicine Has Not Reduced Meth Use in Oregon

Media Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Steve Buckstein

Senior Policy Analyst
Cascade Policy Institute
Phone: (503) 242-0900

steven@cascadepolicy.org

February 21, 2012

Requiring a Prescription for Cold Medicine Has Not Reduced Meth Use in Oregon

Cascade Study Raises Questions about Real Impact of Oregon’s
Prescription-Only Requirement

PORTLAND, OR — Cascade Policy Institute released a study today which found the 2005 Oregon law which restricts access to medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) has not made the illegal drug methamphetamine harder to get or reduced the number of people using it. The Oregon law makes any medication containing PSE available only via prescription (“Rx-only”).

“This study affirms what we predicted over six years ago: The law would not significantly curb meth use or production, but it would impose a considerable burden on legitimate users of cold and allergy medicines like Claritin-D and Sudafed,” said Steve Buckstein, Cascade’s founder and Senior Policy Analyst. “With other state and federal lawmakers considering following Oregon’s lead on this issue, we thought it was critical to find out what has actually happened here since the law went into effect.”

“The prescription requirement for cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine had no more of an impact on the reduction of meth lab incidents than other measures adopted in neighboring states. In fact, the rate of mobile meth lab reductions in Oregon is nearly identical to that of six neighboring and nearby states that do not have a prescription requirement. Moreover, meth addicts in Oregon can still get access to their drug of choice,” added Buckstein. “Overall, our study raises fundamental questions about the effectiveness of Oregon’s law and whether such a prescription mandate—which impacts all consumers in the state—is warranted.”

Key findings of the study:

  • Law enforcement in Oregon report that methamphetamine remains the state’s greatest drug threat, despite the reduction in in-state meth production, and contributes the most towards drug-related crime.
  • Methamphetamine lab incidents in Oregon declined more than 90 percent between 2004 and 2010. Most of this decline occurred before the prescription-only law went into effect in 2006.
  • Six neighboring states including Washington and California experienced similar declines in meth lab reductions without imposing a prescription requirement during the same time frame.
  • The number of methamphetamine admissions to substance abuse centers in Oregon declined about 23 percent from 2006 to 2009, the exact same rate as the rest of the United States. Usage was slightly higher in California at 29 percent and slightly lower in Washington at 20 percent.
  • Legitimate users of pseudoephedrine in Oregon incur additional costs as a result of this law, because it requires a doctor visit to get Sudafed and similar products that are available over-the-counter in 48 other states. Some of these additional costs are also borne by all taxpayers who fund government health care programs.

The first part of the study examines whether the manufacture and availability of methamphetamine in Oregon is substantially different from similar states and similar regions of the country. Part two examines trends in indicators that track methamphetamine production, such as Oregon’s lab incidents compared to other states. Part three examines trends in indicators of methamphetamine use, such as substance abuse-related admissions in Oregon compared to other geographies. And finally, part four explores the costs, financial and otherwise, to consumers.

The report’s findings are consistent with studies conducted by other independent groups, such as Oregon’s High Intensity Drug Area (HIDTA), which reported: Methamphetamine continues to be highly available and widely used throughout the HIDTA region and remains the most serious drug threat to Oregon” (“Threat Assessment & Counter-Drug Strategy,” 2011 Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Report, Accessed 9/26/11).

Please visit the Cascade Policy Institute website to read the entire study, entitled

Making Cold Medicine Rx-Only Did Not Reduce Meth Use
Analyzing the Impact of Oregon’s Prescription-Only Pseudoephedrine Requirement

The study was conducted by Chris Stomberg, Ph.D., a Partner, and Arun Sharma, a Principal, in the Antitrust and Competition, and Healthcare practices at Bates White, LLC, an economic consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. Primary report author Chris Stomberg can be contacted at chris.stomberg@bateswhite.com or (202) 747-1421.

###

Read Blog Detail

Why Oregonians Deserve the Right to Work

The twenty-two states that have not required workers to join a union and pay union dues have enjoyed, as a group, more rapid employment and income growth, better job preservation, and faster recoveries from recession. Oregon is not one of those states, yet. Here, policymakers tried to pull us out of the most recent recession through greater state spending, funded by the Measure 66 and 67 tax increases. Research concluded that those measures actually will make our situation worse. Now, new research confirms that a better approach is for Oregon to remove a key barrier to private sector initiative and job creation by enacting a so-called “right-to-work” law.

Right-to-work laws provide job seekers and current employees the right to work for a company whether or not they choose to join a union. On February 1 Indiana became the twenty-third Right-to-Work state when its Senate approved a bill and Governor Mitch Daniels signed it into law.

A new study from Cascade Policy Institute (Right to Work Is Right for Oregon) examines the economic impacts right-to-work legislation would have on Oregon. The study is consistent with the vast majority of peer-reviewed research in finding that if Oregon were a right-to-work state, we would see improved employment and income growth. For example, enacting right-to-work legislation this year would lead to:

  • 50,000 more people working in five years; 110,000 more working in ten years.
  • $2.7 billion more in wage and salary income in five years; $7.0 billion more in ten years.
  • 14 percent more taxpaying families per year moving into Oregon from non-right-to-work states.

A right-to-work law can be viewed as part of a pro-investment package that encourages firms to locate and expand in the state. In turn, the improved opportunities would have the effect of attracting more taxpaying families to Oregon from other states, while slowing down the number who leave. By examining IRS mobility data, we found that a right-to-work policy here would increase net in-migration from non-right-to-work states by 14 percent from what it otherwise would be. That is a significant number of new families bringing their earning power and their consumer needs with them. Think how our depressed housing market could benefit from such a trend.

Our study breaks new ground by covering 70 years of data and every state and relying on what we believe to be the largest datasets ever used to study the impacts of right-to-work laws. The results demonstrate more than just a correlation between right-to-work policy and economic growth, but point toward a causal link. In other words, we conclude that the right to work actually contributes to more employment, higher incomes, more net in-migration of taxpaying households, and faster economic growth. It is, therefore, a policy we believe Oregon should adopt.

Unlike fiscal policies that must weigh spending against taxes or pit one government program against another, enacting right-to-work legislation will not take a single dime out of state coffers. Indeed, right-to-work legislation is one of the few pro-growth policies that are actually costless to enact.

Oregonians need to recognize that capital and people are mobile. Tax measures 66 and 67 push high-income people and corporations away from the state and likely will lose Oregon up to 70,000 jobs and 80,000 high-income tax filers in the ten years after their passage. Enacting a right-to-work law will put mobility to work in our favor, likely adding 110,000 jobs in ten years and 14 percent more taxpaying families from non-right-to-work states every year.

Even if our research had not shown so clearly that Oregon’s economic prospects would improve as a right-to-work state, we still would support the policy based on the non-economic benefits that the name itself implies. It is unconscionable that workers are denied the right to earn a living simply because they decline to join a union. Basic principles of liberty and justice demand that we defend everyone’s right to work without third-party interference. The right to work is, therefore, a moral as well as an economic imperative.

Read Blog Detail

Press Release: Cascade Policy Institute Report predicts 110,000 jobs for Oregon with enactment of a Right-to-Work Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 2, 2012

Contact:

Steve Buckstein
Senior Policy Analyst & Co-Founder
Cascade Policy Institute
Office Phone: 503-242-0900
E-Mail: steven@cascadepolicy.org

Cascade Policy Institute Report predicts over 100,000
jobs for Oregon with enactment of a Right-to-Work law

Cascade Policy Institute just released a major economic study, The Right to Work Is Right for Oregon, which concludes that Oregon would see major economic benefits if it became a right-to-work state, where job seekers and employees are not forced to join a union and pay union dues to gain or keep their jobs.

Written by Randall Pozdena and Eric Fruits, the same Oregon economists who analyzed the negative impact of tax measures 66 and 67, the Right-to-Work study concludes that enacting right-to-work legislation this year would lead to:

  • 50,000 more people working here in five years; 110,000 more working here in ten years.
  • $2.7 billion more in wage and salary income in five years; $7.0 billion more in ten years.
  • 14 percent more taxpaying families per year moving into Oregon from non-right-to-work states.

Cascade Senior Policy Analyst and founder Steve Buckstein praised the study for not only finding a correlation between right-to-work policy and economic growth, but for actually pointing to a causal link. In other words, Buckstein stated:

We conclude that the right to work actually contributes to more employment, higher incomes, more net in-migration of taxpaying households and faster economic growth. It is, therefore, a policy we believe Oregon should adopt.

The study breaks new ground by covering 70 years of data, every state, and relying on what the authors believe to be the largest datasets ever used to study the impacts of right-to-work laws.

The study confirms that the twenty-two states that do not require workers to join a union and pay union dues enjoy, as a group, more rapid employment and income growth, better job preservation, and faster recoveries from recession. Oregon is not one of those states, yet. Buckstein argues:

Rather than repeat Oregon’s failed attempt to pull us out of recession by raising taxes on high-income individuals and corporations, a better approach is to remove a key barrier to private sector initiative and job creation by enacting an Oregon right-to-work law.

Buckstein added,

Oregonians need to recognize that capital and people are mobile. Tax measures 66 and 67 push high-income people and corporations away from the state, likely losing us up to 70,000 jobs and 80,000 high-income tax filers in the ten years after their passage. Enacting a right-to-work law will put mobility to work in our favor, likely adding 110,000 jobs in ten years and 14 percent more taxpaying families every year coming from non-right-to-work states.

Buckstein continued,

Unlike fiscal policies that must weigh spending against taxes or pit one government program against another, enacting right-to-work legislation will not take a single dime out of state coffers. Indeed, right-to-work legislation is one of the few pro-growth policies that are actually costless to enact.

Buckstein concludes,

Even if our research had not so clearly shown that Oregon’s economic prospects would improve as a right-to-work state, we still would support the policy based on the non-economic benefits that the name itself implies. Everyone should have the right to work if the employer hires them and they accept the position. No third party should be able to deny individuals the right to work simply because they decline to join a union. Right-to-work is, therefore, a moral as well as an economic imperative.

Click here to download the full report.

###

The Right to Work Is Right for Oregon
A Comprehensive Analysis of the Economic Benefits
from Enacting a Right-to-Work Law
By Randall Pozdena, Ph.D. and Eric Fruits, Ph.D.
Cascade Policy Institute • February 2012
https://cascadepolicy.org/links/43

 

Read Blog Detail

Night of a Thousand Laughs

Come laugh; it’s for the children!

Join State Representative Matt Wingard and three Northwest comedians for “A Night of a Thousand Laughs,” Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Wilsonville Holiday Inn.

Proceeds from the dinner and comedy show support the Liberi Foundation, dedicated to helping vulnerable children by identifying and supporting charities that directly serve them.

The Liberi Foundation has identified three outstanding metropolitan-area charities that provide opportunities to children in foster care, those with incarcerated parents, and low-income children who wish to attend a private school. Through scholarships, mentoring and love, these charities work to improve the lives of our most disadvantaged children. All the foundations operate at little or no administrative cost.

Cascade’s Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland is one of the charities to benefit from the comedy evening, so come have a laugh!

Visit the Liberi Foundation online for more information or click on the PayPal link below to purchase tickets.

 

Read Blog Detail

Cascade Update Fall 2011

The fall edition of Cascade Update is here! Read about Oregon’s “Year of School Choice,” “Right to Work” laws, Cascade’s 20th Anniversary, and more. If you didn’t receive it in your mailbox, click here to read the pdf version.

Read Blog Detail

You’re teaching my child what? And it is costing us how much!

Join U-Choose exploring public education. Speakers will present information on the history and degradation of curriculum, sex education, censorship of children in the classroom, and parents’ rights. The impact on youth, adults and the family will be addressed. Solutions provided.

 

Featured Topics/Speakers:

 

§  Progressive” Education: How did we get here? How John Dewey’s vision of progressive education was implemented, resulting in the weak “dumbed down” curriculum of today.

Rob Kremer, Host of Kremer and Abrams KXL Radio 101FM, Founder and President of Oregon Education Coalition, Principal Third Century Solutions

 

§  “Dumbing Down” of America’s Youth – Is this real? See examples of the watered down teaching in math, science and English that present day students are receiving in our schools compared to a century ago.

Dr. Chana Cox, Senior Lecturer in Humanities, Lewis and Clark College

 

§  Sex “Hyper” Education Indoctrination – Human Sexuality is a far cry from the biology of reproduction. Now by law students in Kindergarten through 12 grades will be taught everything from mutual masturbation to homosexual experimentation. Discover why this is important to government educators.

Suzanne Gallagher, Business Owner, Former Candidate for State Representative, Pro-Family Activist

 

§  Political Incorrectness and Censorship – What are your rights? Learn about “viewpoint discrimination” including Anti-Christian, and what you can do to defend your right to direct your child’s education.

Herb Grey, Esq.- Alliance Defense Fund Affiliated Attorney

 

America and our children face a bleak future. Their future depends on acting now!

 

Come share your views and experiences during U-Talk.

 

When: Tuesday, September 13, 6:30pm- 9:00pm

 

Where: Stafford Center, 21065 SW Stafford Road, Tualatin, OR 97062

 

$5 donation welcome at door.

 

If you can help with event publicity within Portland areas, please contact

Debra Mervyn 503-819-8800 at debrauchoose@gmail.com

 

Read Blog Detail

This week on CAEPLA Connections Landowner Talk Radio, Keith Wilson, Karla Kay Edwards, and Kevin Avram discuss the impact of Bill 36-like legislation in Oregon. Bill 36 is an Alberta law that is going to change Alberta in a way that few people realize. In many instances, it is also going to affect property values in ways that few people have thought about. The Bill is the Stelmach government’s central planning land use law.

Read Blog Detail

The Truth about the Canadian Health Care System

By Frank S. Rosenbloom, M.D.

President Barack Obama and supportive members of Congress were able to get the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) passed, in part by extolling the virtues of the Canadian health care system. In speech after speech, Obama has touted the alleged lower cost, “universal coverage” and better medical care of that system. All of the mentioned supposed benefits are untrue, but the most disconcerting fact is that Mr. Obama has never discussed any deficiencies of the Canadian system.

Other influential people have shared their concerns about the serious deficiencies in the Canadian health care system. Perhaps the most important of these is the man some call the ”father” of the Canadian health care system, Claude Castonguay. Although several provinces had government involvement in health care from 1946, Castonguay was the pioneer of socialized medicine in Quebec, which gave impetus to the establishment of a nationwide socialized medical care law in 1966.

However, in 2008 Castonguay had this to say about the health care system: “If nothing is done, at one point we will reach a crisis point. This is why we say it is urgent to act. There’s no miracle solution, there is no simple solution.” He has urged some privatization in the health care system to increase choice and fees of up to $100 for doctor visits. How could this be? Haven’t we been led to believe that the Canadian health care system is financially stable? In fact, the system is close to collapse.

Let’s review the facts. The Canadian health care system was established in the 1960s, when the government was spending like a drunken sailor trying to promote economic growth. Sound familiar? The assumption was that the economy would grow at a predictable rate and that the system therefore would be affordable. However, Canadians made the same fundamental mistakes governments always make when establishing entitlement programs; that the economy would act predictably and that the program’s costs would grow in a predictable linear fashion. These two assumptions have proven to be incorrect in all cases, as they were in establishing our own Medicare system.

Health care reform has been a serious issue in Canada for over fifteen years, as the financial burdens of socialized medicine have put increasing strain on resources. Canadian media regularly trumpets fears about escalating health care costs. Furthermore, since accurate statistics are kept only on government spending, substantial hidden costs are associated with that system. Some Canadians are even breaking the law by opening private clinics to relieve a system that is imploding. One significant reason the Canadian system has lasted this long is the safety valve provided by the U.S. system, where Canadians can receive timely care at a fair price. Yet, if you believe President Obama, the Canadian health care system moves along like a well oiled machine.

Although Canadians spend less per capita than we do in the U.S., the rate of rise in their health care costs has been at times equal to or greater than ours during the past decade. So, how can we be told that Canadian health care costs are rising at a slower rate than our own? The rate of rise in Canadian health care expenditures can be seen by reviewing the widely available graph below.

 
Canadian Institute for Health Information

The graph shows total expenditures in constant 1997 dollars. A quick review shows Canadian health care costs rose about 240 percent from 1996 to 2009, by which time they actually exceeded $180 billion.

By contrast, the rise in U.S. health care costs can be reviewed below.

 
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary. National Health Expenditure Accounts – Projected, Table 1: National Health Expenditures; Aggregate and Per Capita Amounts, Percent Distribution, and Average Annual Percent Growth, by Source of Funds: Calendar Years 2003-2018

We see that in 1996, U.S. health care spending was about $1 trillion. By 2009 it had reached about $2.4 trillion, which is an increase during that period of about 240%. Now, wait a minute! The rate of rise of Canadian health care costs is really no lower than ours? Yes, President Obama, (and Governor Kitzhaber), there is no Santa Claus, and no Shangri-La. The often reported, widely disproportionate cost increases between the Canadian and the U.S. health care systems are a myth.

Statistics can be adjusted to promote a particular ideology, as was seen by the graph above adjusted to constant 1997 dollars and the addition of the “projected” 2018 spending in the U.S. graph. Despite these difficulties, the truth about the Canadian health care system and socialized medicine is available to anyone who diligently studies the matter. Unfortunately, many Americans have relied on liberal politicians for their information, and nothing but higher costs and lower quality medical care will be the inevitable result. If we really want costs to decrease while maintaining quality health care, we need real free market reform before the inevitable complete collapse that will occur nationally under ObamaCare and the disaster that will befall Oregon under Gov. Kitzhaber’s reform proposals.


Frank S. Rosenbloom M.D. is a practicing physician and president of the Docs 4 Patient Care Oregon chapter. He is a guest writer for the Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Read Blog Detail

The Not So “Cool School” Initiative

By Michael Bastasch

The Oregon “Cool Schools” Initiative (House Bill 2960) directs the Oregon Department of Energy to provide zero to low-interest loans and grants to school districts for energy efficiency building improvements. Governor John Kitzhaber, the bill’s main proponent, argues that HB 2960 will create healthier, more energy efficient schools and create jobs. However, given the propensity of government to overestimate the benefits of its programs while completely understating the costs, the economic impacts of HB 2960 most likely will yield the opposite results of what Gov. Kitzhaber claims.

Luckily, Oregon has a case study in Washington State. Washington initiated a similar program in 2005, and the results were underwhelming. A recent report from the Washington Policy Center shows the costs of the program greatly outweighed the benefits. First, many of the new “green” schools actually used up to 52% more energy than predicted, and some were even less efficient than buildings that were decades old.

Second, most of the money that went to each school was spent on meeting the program’s guidelines and not to energy savings. For example, the Spokane School District spent $455,826 bringing Lincoln Heights Elementary up to the “green” requirements. Only $81,000 (18%) was spent on energy efficiency measures, while the rest (82%) was spent on meeting other requirements that didn’t yield any energy savings. In addition, estimates reveal that the payback time on these “green” improvements is about 43 years. Since virtually no school goes that long without making any changes, it is very likely that energy efficiency investments will never pay for themselves.

Third, student scores at these “green” schools were not significantly improved. In fact, student performance was 25% below what was promised by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2005. Moreover, academic performance was lower on average at “green” schools than at comparable schools in the same district, according to the State Board of Education’s Accountability Index. Students in these schools are actually performing worse and at a higher cost to Washington taxpayers.

Washington’s experiment should provide us with a lesson on why “green” projects such as these almost never pan out. Instead, Gov. Kitzhaber and other proponents of HB 2960 tout the popular phrase “job creation.” The question we should be asking is, job creation for whom and for how long? HB 2960 requires that schools receiving initiative funds only hire Oregon-based contractors and that district employees not perform work constituting over 5% of the project’s total cost.

Gov. Kitzhaber and his staff also claim that for every $1 million spent, 10 to 15 jobs will be created. How would spending approximately $67,000 to $100,000 per job add jobs to the economy, especially when these jobs are temporary? What the Governor does not mention is how many jobs will be lost for every “Cool Schools” job that is created. Basically, HB 2960 carves out a nice little temporary benefit for a small group of people at the expense of all Oregon taxpayers. What is ignored are the unseen costs to the overall economy, such as jobs not created had the funds been efficiently spent by individuals, and also the goods that those workers could have produced had resources been employed in different areas.

Washington’s “green” schools debacle should show Oregonian lawmakers that these types of endeavors are often fruitless and result in wasted tax dollars, lost jobs and misallocated resources. Why should Oregonians be forced to “invest” in an initiative where they will never see any returns or any noticeable long-run benefits? They shouldn’t, and legislators should consider the wider economic impacts of HB 2960 before blindly passing it.


Michael Bastasch is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Read Blog Detail

FEDERAL LANDS: Should we sell federal lands to pay off the national debt?

By Glen Stonebrink, Guest Writer

History: A historical understanding of so-called federal lands is necessary in order to grasp the true “intent” of their existence and usage. From the Pilgrims of 1620 and the creation of the original colonies, there was no such thing as federal lands because there was no “federalism.” As the people of the colonies became equally and increasingly abused by the King of England, they found it necessary to join their efforts to address their concerns to the King – thus the birth of the Continental Congress, which later was used for their common defense and war against England. It was this newly created Continental Congress that started the road to federalism among the separate and sovereign states. Even though each state gave very little in rights or property, they did give away some degree of their power to federalism.

As the Revolutionary War was nearing its end and prior to the formation of “the United States” as we know it, two basic events were taking place: (1) the western colonies/states were looking to extend their western boundaries into the Ohio Territory in order to accommodate more settlers, which thus would create additional wealth for their individual sovereign states; (2) soldiers from the Revolutionary War soon would be returning to civilian life and were desperately seeking new soils to cultivate, but more importantly their promised wages for their service in the war.

Both of these events were giving rise to a problem. States with no western boundaries were not happy about the expansion of those that did, and the Continental Congress was not able to pay the back wages of the armies. To satisfy both issues the Northwest Ordinances (1784 & 1787) were adopted. The 1787 Ordinance codified how new states were to be formed: on equal footing with the original states in every respect whatsoever, and by selling the western lands the “federal government” could pay its debts. Obviously, there were many land grants and homestead previsions, but clearly these lands were to be “disposed of” – not retained!

It is critical to understand that in the beginning the original states agreed through the Northwest Ordinances that newly formed states were to enter the Union “on equal footing” with the original states in every respect whatsoever, including debts and obligations, and these lands were to be disposed to bonafide purchasers. This is where the debate about federal lands begins.

Intent: Who would have envisioned among the pilgrims, settlers, pioneers or especially the framers of the founding documents that someday there would be an overpowering federal government which would claim ownership over huge amounts (nearly 30%) of this newly formed country? NONE! The thirteen original and sovereign states never would have agreed to a central federal government owning large amounts of the soils within “their boundaries” as a price for statehood within the Union. In fact, before there were nine states (2/3 of 13) in agreement to forming the United States with a binding Constitution, there was an insistence that a Bill of Rights be produced that would limit the power of the federal government to only those things specifically listed within the Constitution, and everything else was to be retained by the individual states or the people.

The intent of ownership of the soils within each state’s boundaries was made extremely clear with the Northwest Ordinances’ Equal Footing Doctrine. The Continental Congress through the Northwest Ordinance, on July 13, 1787, provided that when each of the designated states in the territorial area achieved a population of 60,000 free inhabitants it was to be admitted “on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever.”

To further emphasize the strength of this law that was to determine new statehood, Georgia and Virginia ceded their claim to large areas of western lands, but only on the condition that new states should be formed therefrom and admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the original States. Texas, on December 29, 1845, then an independent nation, “was admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.” In fact, since the admission of Tennessee in 1796, Congress has included in each State’s act of admission a clause providing that the State enters the Union on equal footing. The Act of Congress that admitted Oregon states ACT OF CONGRESS ADMITTING OREGON INTO UNION [Approved February 14, 1859] Whereas the people of Oregon have framed, ratified, and adopted a constitution of State government which is republican in form, and in conformity with the Constitution of the United States, and have applied for admission into the Union on an equal footing with the other States….

So if the founders of the Constitution did not indicate any intent on retaining large amounts of federal lands, what exactly were their intentions for the uses of federal ownership? The answer lies within the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8; Article IV, 5th Amendment and 9th/10th Amendments) and is supported by The Federalist Papers.

Article 1, Section 8 – Powers of Congress:

  • To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
  • To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings….

Their intent is quite clear as to the reasons for federal ownership: roads, post offices, needful federal buildings, military facilities and dockyards. Nothing else is listed. There is not a clause that says “…and anything else Congress chooses any time they wish.” There is not a clause that says “…and Congress may choose to be prejudiced against certain states by retaining ownership of large quantities of land.” Or a clause that says “…and Congress does not have to treat new states on equal footing in every respect whatsoever with the original states.”

The key words in the above Constitutional language need close scrutiny in order to understand the full intent. “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever…” simply means the federal government would have full legal power to own and control their property within any particular state without any interference or taxation from that state. Does this mean then that since the Constitution grants power to the federal government to levy taxes, the government simply may buy all the land within a state and have full and unchecked power over the entire state? No! The state first must give away its control and power by Cession of particular States, and then the Congress (not just a federal agency) must agree. This means the two United States Senators from the state in question would have a strong voice, as well as the state’s members to the House of Representatives. How would a state agree to grant the federal government exclusive legislation? This is addressed with these words “…by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be….” Again, the people who are elected to serve in the legislature of the state in question have the final say as to whether or not to grant the federal government these powers over lands within their state. James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper number 43: And as it is to be appropriated to this use with the consent of the State ceding it; as the State will no doubt provide in the compact for the rights and the consent of the citizens inhabiting it; as the inhabitants will find sufficient inducements of interest to become willing parties to the cession; as they will have had their voice in the election of the government which is to exercise authority over them; as a municipal legislature for local purposes, derived from their own suffrages, will of course be allowed them; and as the authority of the legislature of the State, and of the inhabitants of the ceded part of it, to concur in the cession, will be derived from the whole people of the State in their adoption of the Constitution, every imaginable objection seems to be obviated.” Madison makes it clear that the people’s voice through their representation in their legislature and Congress must be heard before powers are to be given away.

Was it the intent for the federal government to purchase lands and obtain exclusive powers on any land for any reason? Of course not, thus the reason for the final wording in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17: “…for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.” This limited ownership and specific activities were mentioned by Madison in Federalist Paper 43. If the founders had any thoughts of large holdings of lands within the states, they would have made it clear at this point. They knew full well that the people of the various states would not have agreed to the formation of a new nation had this been the case.

Article IV: This article of the Constitution has two important sections.

  • Section 2, which states, “The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several states.” Obviously, if more than half of Oregon’s land mass is owned and controlled by the federal government, the citizens of Oregon are not being “…entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several states,” when other states east of the Rocky Mountains contain a very small percentage of federal ownership.
  • Section 3, paragraph 2, which states: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.” This section is vital because it only addresses “disposal,” not retention, of federally owned properties, which meant the intent was to do just that very thing (dispose of these lands), and this section addresses “no prejudice against any state.” Obviously, there is a huge prejudice against western states concerning federal ownership within their boundaries.

5th Amendment: The 5th Amendment to the Constitution and an important part of the Bill of Rights addresses the importance of private property. In fact, the wording “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property…” is similar and connected to the Declaration of Independence’s wording “…with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration uses the terminology “unalienable rights” and the Constitution uses “…nor be deprived…” within the Bill of Rights. Both documents address “rights of the people.” Furthermore, historical letters point out that Jefferson and others considered using the word “property” in the place of “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration. They concluded that property and pursuit of happiness were synonymous. However, the creators of the Bill of Rights, including George Mason, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, did not overlook the opportunity to codify in the Constitution that private property was a right of the people, and knowing that private ownership of the land was indeed the avenue to pursuit of happiness. With huge federal ownership of lands, there is a direct conflict with the intent of both the Declaration of Independence and the 5th Amendment because it denies private ownership.

9th/10th Amendments: There would not have been enough states to agree to the Constitution and the formation of a central government had there not been a Bill of Rights forthcoming, especially including these two amendments to limit the powers of the federal government:

• 9th: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

• 10th: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Had the founders ever had any intentions to have the federal government retain or obtain large areas of land within the individual states beyond that explicitly specified in Article 1, Section 8, here was there opportunity to do so, but they did not. They did just the opposite: The wording is self-explanatory.

To conclude this understanding of the Constitution’s intent, here are the words of James Madison, also known as the Father of the Constitution, in his Federalist Paper number 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

 

The debate: The question is whether to sell the lands held by the federal government to private ownership or to grant the title to the individual states? There is little doubt that federally held lands have a great amount of value. Whether their value would equal the debt owed is not for this debate, but only if these lands could or should be disposed of by the federal government. To this, the answer is “absolutely.”

A prudent-minded person would have to conclude that the founders never envisioned the federal government owning large amounts of lands within the states, or they simply would have mentioned it in the Constitution. Since they did not, then they did not. There is no mention of designating wilderness areas, national forests,[1] or grasslands, or any so-called “beautiful places” to be locked away forever. All the resources of the states were to be for the benefit of the inhabitants of the states or of the state itself.[2]

Every founding document clearly specifies the intent of land holding of the federal government was to be small, limited and for specific purposes only. All other lands were to be in the ownership of the states or of the individual. Moreover, the intent was for the soils to be for productive uses to create wealth for the states and the nation. That, once again, is where we are today.

Sell these lands to bonafide purchaser,[3] pay off our national debt, allow private ownership to makes these lands productive; and this nation will prosper and have a wonderful future.

[1] Federal laws that created national forestlands, monuments, grasslands, etc. have no standing within the intent of the Constitution or any other founding documents.

[2] In the book entitled History of the Oregon Constitution, the lands within Oregon’s boundaries were not intended for federal ownership, but rather for private ownership and productivity.

[3] Bonafide purchasers of grazing lands would be those producers currently with leases and/or qualified for leases under the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934. Purchase price would be based in connection with current leasing rates and on a 30-year amortization.


Glen Stonebrink was Executive Director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (1998-2005) and previously served as Oregon’s State Executive Director of USDA federal farm programs under the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. He held staff and administrative positions in the U.S. Congress and the Oregon Legislature and has been a rancher, a teacher, and a member of the Oregon National Guard. He lives in Rickreall, Oregon.

Read Blog Detail

Get Involved: National School Choice Week January 23-29

On January 23-29, school choice supporters across the U.S. will shine a spotlight on effective educational options for kids. This is an opportunity on a state and national scale to raise awareness of the need to reform public education and to build support for School Choice. There are many ways to get involved and to show your support!

1) On January 25, attend Cascade Policy Institute’s Policy Picnic about school choice. Cascade’s School Choice Project Director will talk about school choice and the research in favor of expanding educational options. Space is limited! Email deanne@cascadepolicy.org for more information and to RSVP.

2)  School boards play a pivotal role in expanding or restricting school choice in Oregon. On Saturday, January 29, attend the “You Can Be Superman” candidate call. Cascade’s Christina Martin will explain why school choice is important. Several speakers will address major school choice issues and talk about how to start and run a campaign for a school board position. Although this event is hosted by the Washington County Republican Party, ALL charter school supporters are welcome to attend this event regardless of party affiliation.

Full details and free registration are available at http://rescueoregon.com.

3) On Wednesday, January 26, join Americans for Prosperity for a viewing of The Cartel in Clackamas, Oregon. The Cartel is an award-winning documentary about corruption in public education and the promise of school choice. View the movie trailer. Find out more and RSVP by visiting http://schoolchoiceweek.com/Event/afp-oregon.

Read Blog Detail

How to Avoid the Looming Congestion Crisis in Oregon – 4/19/2007

How to Avoid the Looming Traffic Congestion Crisis in Oregon

A Legislative Briefing

Featured speaker: John A. Charles, Jr.
President & CEO, Cascade Policy Institute

Thursday, April 19
Hearing Room 50
State Capitol
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Admission is free.

Complimentary box lunches will be provided to those who register by Tuesday, April 17.

RSVP to nancy@cascadepolicy.org or 503 242 0900.

Read Blog Detail

Valley Pachyderm Club – 3/15/2007

VALLEY PACHYDERM CLUB
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 12 NOON

LUNCH at SALEM SCOTTISH RITE CENTER

4090 Commercial SE (South of Browning near Car’l B Klean)

Our guest will be Steve Buckstein of Cascade Policy Institute in Portland. He will tell us how the major health care reform plans before the Oregon Legislature would move us in the wrong direction, and what a better direction would be.

Pachyderm meetings are open to all who want to learn more about issues, politics, and how to make a difference.

IMPORTANT!!!
RSVP by Wednesday, Mar. 14
Call Wayne at 503-585-6116 or email to wbrady@acm.org

Read Blog Detail

Capitalism Unbound – 11/18/2010

Thursday, November 18th, 7-9 PM
Who: Dr. Andrew Bernstein, Author – “Capitalism Unbound”
What: Lecture and Book Signing moderated by Todd Wynn
Location: MAC Club
Details: $15.00 pp // Dessert buffet and coffee/tea will be served.
RSVP to deanne@cascadepolicy.org or call 503-242-0900.Andrew Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the City University of New York. He is the author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire, as well as of Capitalism Unbound. He speaks regularly on the greatness of capitalism to college audiences, to high school students, to Tea Party groups, and to other private organizations. He is a regular guest on radio talk shows, including a recent appearance on the Jason Lewis show. His op-ed essays have appeared in numerous newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Houston Chronicle, and others. He is widely regarded as a rousing and inspiring speaker in support of individual rights and freedom. His website is:
www.andrewbernstein.net
Read Blog Detail

Best Laid Plans – 10/30/2007

The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served.

Multnomah Athletic Club
1849 SW Salmon Street
Portland, OR

Sponsored by The Cato Institute, Cascade Policy Institute, and Oregonians in Action

Featuring

Randal O’Toole
Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

With comments by

Ed Crane
President, Cato Institute

John Charles
President, Cascade Policy Institute

and

David Hunnicutt
President, Oregonians in Action

Thirty-six years ago, Oregon began an unprecedented land-use planning program that attempts to control how all property owners use their land. Today, the results are in: the program has imposed huge costs on rural landowners, urban homebuyers, commuters, and businesses while producing minimal environmental gains compared with states that do not have such planning. Yet too few people have learned this lesson. Federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. employ more than 20,000 planners who attempt to write comprehensive, long-range plans that attempt to control other people’s land, money, and resources. These plans almost always end in disaster.

In his new book, The Best-Laid Plans, Randal O’Toole demonstrates that comprehensive, long-range planning of other people’s resources is always doomed to fail, and that Congress and state and local governments should repeal existing planning laws and shut down planning departments. O’Toole shows that the problems that planning claims to address can be better dealt with through user fees, markets, and other incentives rather than through regulatory planning.

Cost to attend is $20.

To register, please contact Nancy Wheaton at Cascade Policy Institute by calling 503-242-0900 or emailing nancy@cascadepolicy.org.

Read Blog Detail

Globalization… The Critics Prove Wrong – 5/16/2007

THE ECONOMIC ROUNDTABLE

TOPIC: Globalization…The Critics Prove Wrong
SPEAKER: Ralph Shaw, Shaw Management Company
DATE: May 16, 2007 (Wednesday)
TIME: Noon to 1:30 PM (Luncheon)
LOCATION: University Club (at SW Sixth Avenue and Jefferson Street in downtown Portland)
COST: $17.00 per person
RSVP: Please call Bob Plame at 503-968-6745, or send him an E-mail (bobplame@verizon.net), no later than noon on May 11, 2007 (Wednesday). Roundtable members are encouraged to make reservations for guests.

Please note that we are asking that you make reservations by the Wednesday before the meeting, in order to be sure that we can select the right sized room; we appreciate your cooperation in making timely reservations.

Cancellation policy: Since we must pay for meals for those who make reservations but then do not attend, or who cancel at the last minute, please cancel by NOON on the day before the meeting; otherwise, we will bill you $17.00 for the meal. Thanks for your understanding on this matter.

BACKGROUND ON TOPIC:

Globalization has stirred strong emotions, as evidence by the rioting in Seattle and several commentators’ challenges to those who believe globalization will benefit the world’s less-developed nations as well as the developed world. A look at the trends strongly supports the value of globalization in most nations.

BACKGROUND ON SPEAKER:

Ralph R. Shaw has over forty-five years of experience in the securities business, encompassing securities analysis, institutional securities marketing, mutual fund portfolio management, and the management of investment portfolios for tax-exempt clients, including pension and profit sharing plans, as well as charities and endowments. In 1980, Ralph Shaw formed Shaw Management Company, an investment counseling firm. In January 1983, Ralph Shaw and US Bancorp with Shaw acting as General Partner formed Shaw Venture Partners with $80 million of venture capital assets available for investment. Ralph Shaw has been a leading venture capitalist in the Western United States emphasizing the Pacific Northwest. Companies that were started through investments by Shaw Venture Partners (and others) include Costco, Integra Telecom, Actel Corp., Telestream, Dendreon, Sequent Computer Systems, Protocol Systems, Integrated Measurement Systems, BMG Corporation and Sports Incorporated.

Mr. Shaw presently serves on the boards of directors of Schnitzer Steel, Inc., Telestream, Inc., BMG Seltec, Rentrak Corporation, United Fund Advisors, and One to One Interactive. He serves as chairman of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors for the State of Oregon, is a member of St. Vincent’s Medical Foundation Council of Trustees, and serves as a trustee for the Tax-Free Trust of Oregon. Ralph Shaw is a graduate of Hofstra University, earning a degree in Public Accounting, and of New York University’s School of Law where he received a Juris Doctor degree.

FUTURE MEETINGS:

Be sure to mark the following date on your calendar:

  • June 20, 2007 (Wednesday) — “Commercial Real Estate,” Rance Gregory – Norris Beggs & Simpson
  • July 18, 2007 (Wednesday) — Program to be announced

ADDRESS UPDATES:

For any address list changes or questions, please contact Dick Hanson at 971-327-2710, or by E-mail (dickhan@qwest.net).

MEETING NOTICES:

Meeting notices are now sent primarily by E-mail (approx. 84 of the 86 people on our mailing list). Those who do not have access to the Internet (2) will continue to receive meeting notices by mail.

Read Blog Detail

America Speaks – 6/26/2010

Cascade Policy Institute is joining other local groups encouraging our supporters to attend a National Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, June 26th in Portland. There is no cost, and your voice is needed.

AmericaSpeaks is convening this largest ever national discussion on the country’s fiscal future. In 20 cities across the country thousands of citizens will participate in an AmericaSpeaks 21st Century Town Meeting®. Participants will be connected live via satellite video, webcast and interactive technologies. You will be able to discuss your concerns and register your choices about how we should deal with our country’s out-of-control spending and the federal debt.

Click here for all the information

To register for the Portland event click here:
Portland Saturday June 26th Town Meeting: Our Budget, Our Economy
8:30am to 3pm at the Oregon Convention Center

If you do register to attend the event, please email Steve Buckstein and let him know so he can look for you there.

Read Blog Detail

A Celebration of the Life of Milton Friedman – 7/30/2010

Featured Event

A Celebration of the Life of Milton Friedman

July 31, 2010 would have been Milton Friedman’s 98th birthday. Now, more than ever, we need his vision. To honor the impact he has had on our society, and to help clarify his moral framework for freedom and free enterprise, we will celebrate the Friedman Legacy for Freedom in partnership with The Foundation for Educational Choice.

Who

Keynote Speaker – John Fund (Wall Street Journal Columnist)

When

Friday, July 30, 2010
Reception – 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM – $15
Reception + Dinner – 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM – $100

Where

Multnomah Athletic Club
1849 SW Salmon St.
Portland, OR 97207

RSVP by July 24 to Deanne Kastine
503.242.0900 or deanne@cascadepolicy.org

Read Blog Detail

Milton Friedman Legacy of Freedom – 7/31/2007

Cascade Policy Institute

celebrates

Milton Friedman’s Legacy of Freedom

Milton and Rose FriedmanJuly 31, 2007 would have been Milton Friedman’s 95th birthday. To honor his vision and the impact he has had on our society, Cascade Policy Institute offers these links to his life and work:

Read Blog Detail

Milton Friedman Day – 1/29/2007

JANUARY 29, 2007, DECLARED MILTON FRIEDMAN DAY

featuring

90-minute PBS Television Documentary

THE POWER OF CHOICE: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman

(click for Oregon air times)

Milton FriedmanNobel prize-winner Dr. Milton Friedman, who passed away November 16, 2006, at the age of 94, was perhaps the most influential economist of the 20th Century, and the impact of his ideas will extend far into the future. To honor the man, and to recognize his influence and examine its full import, January 29, 2007 is being declared Milton Friedman Day — a celebration of the economist’s positive impact on American life and business, and the spread of the benefits of free markets to nations around the globe.

On Monday, January 29, at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings), PBS will premiere The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman, an exclusive documentary on the remarkable life and visionary ideas of Milton Friedman. Produced for PBS by Free to Choose Media, it will give viewers a new understanding of the magnitude of this legendary economist’s influence on our modern world.

This 90-minute documentary examines the life of this brilliantly intelligent man who dared to push forward his theories against almost universal opposition, and whose courage and determination changed the world in countless ways. Through interviews with leading economists and policy makers including Alan Greenspan, Nobel Laureates Paul Samuelson and Gary Becker, and the first freely elected Prime Minister of Estonia, Mart Laar, “The Power of Choice” shows how Friedman’s championing of choice in business and economic practices has led to societies with both greater liberty and economic development for the vast majority of citizens. As Friedman said, “The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”

This unique documentary illustrates how the ideas of this once outrageous, yet innovative thinker are now part of the fabric of everyday life. While his ideas are taken for granted today, Friedman introduced them to an outcry within the field of economics and in the world of public policy. As Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once said of Dr. Friedman, “There are very few people over the generations who have ideas that are sufficiently original to materially alter the direction of civilization. Milton is one of those very few people.”

“The story of Milton Friedman’s life and influence can only be accurately told by exploring his science and showing the impact his ideas have had on the world stage,” said Executive Producer Robert Chitester. “To bring life to Dr. Friedman’s ideas, we have taken our cameras to Estonia, Chile, England, and throughout the United States. We have interviewed people whose lives and destinies have been changed — for the better — through the implementation of one man’s ideas.”

“The Power of Choice” begins with an introduction of Milton Friedman and his wife and fellow economist, Rose (who grew up in Portland). As this section of the documentary recounts, their relationship influenced the development of ideas that changed the U.S. and world economies.

In addition to airing the documentary, Milton Friedman Day will include debates at universities and institutions across the country to explore the role of free markets in the economic growth that has improved people’s lives and expanded business opportunities worldwide. Students will also debate the relationship of the economic freedom Friedman espoused to the flourishing of personal and political freedom.

Milton Friedman Day will also be observed through blogs and an online discussion, hosted by The Economist, which will include leading economists and public officials.

“The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman” was produced by Free to Choose Media, a non-profit 501(c)(3) public foundation whose mission is to use easily understood and entertaining popular media to reach inquisitive minds regarding the value and interrelationship of personal, economic and political freedom sustained by the rule of law.

Oregon Public Broadcasting Air Times

The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman will be sponsored in Oregon by Cascade Policy Institute. As of January 3rd it will run on all seven Oregon public broadcasting TV stations on the following schedule:

Monday, January 29, at 10:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 4, at 1:00 p.m.
Portland, KOPB Channel 10
Bend, KOAB Channel 3
Corvallis, KOAC Channel 7
Eugene, KEPB Channel 28
La Grande, KTVR Channel 13
Friday, February 2, at 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 11, at noon
Klamath Falls, KFTS Channel 22
Medford, KSYS Channel 8

To find out more, visit Free to Choose Media or contact Steve Buckstein at Cascade Policy Institute, (503) 242-0900 or steven@cascadepolicy.org.

Read Blog Detail

New Report Documents Massive Cost of Proposed High-Speed Rail Program

For Release June 24, 2009

For more information, contact:
Randal O’Toole, 541-595-1460 or
John Charles, 503-242-0900

The Cascade Policy Institute released a report today documenting that President Obama’s proposed high-speed rail program will cost $1,000 for every federal income taxpayer, yet the average American will ride high-speed trains less than 60 miles a year. The report estimates that the average Oregonian will take a round trip on high-speed trains only once every 10 years. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Climate Change and the Oregon Economy: Still Searching for the Smoking Gun

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

Summary

Several studies on global climate change fall short on empirical data, relying instead on speculative scenarios about the future and often utilizing flawed methodology. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

The Case for Price Gouging

Michael Barton, Ph.D.Cascade Commentary

Summary

Proposed legislation against “price gouging” is a bad idea. Rising prices in the wake of a disaster help to ration scarce resources and prevent shortages. Businesses that raise prices too high will lose customers, while bureaucratic attempts to fix prices are counterproductive and immoral. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Forcing people to be good

Michael Barton, Ph.D.Cascade Commentary

Summary

Proponents of new and more extensive laws against discrimination seem to lack the courage of their convictions. They want to ban only certain kinds of decisions based on racial or other characteristics but not others. While there is no shortage of lofty sentiments expressed by those advocating enforceable civil rights for every group imaginable, these same advocates are strangely reluctant to apply their legal remedies broadly to Oregonians and American society generally. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Oregon Unemployment Insurance Overpayments

William B. Conerly, Ph.D.Cascade Commentary

Summary

Fraudulent unemployment insurance claims cost Oregon taxpayers $76.3 million in 2003, or 9.5 percent of all claims paid. Oregon’s fraudulent claims rate is higher than average, and it spends significantly more on processing claims than most states. Oregonians should demand better accountability from their Employment Department before spending more on this flawed system. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Must this Teacher be Fired?

Michael Barton, Ph.D.Cascade Commentary

Summary

Oregon’s teacher certification process keeps accomplished individuals from teaching their subjects in our public schools. Rather than providing information and methods needed to teach, it acts more like a gauntlet that discourages those with other options from entering the teaching profession. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Deconsolidate Oregon’s School Districts

Cascade Commentary

Summary

Consolidating school districts sounds like a good idea, but in reality costs actually go up and efficiency actually goes down. Bigger districts suck power upward and away from parents and students. Accountability declines and special interests, including teacher unions, gain more power. To control costs and improve student performance, Oregon should go in the opposite direction and deconsolidate districts. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Job Seekers Need Wheels to Wealth

John A. Charles, Jr.Cascade Commentary

Summary

Many public policies are designed to “get people out of their cars,” but recent research has shown that owning a car greatly increases a poor person’s ability to find better-paying work. Over the next year, Cascade Policy Institute’s Wheels to Wealth project will study the travel patterns of low-income families in Portland and educate journalists and policymakers about the value of private car ownership. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

How Does Oregon Government Spending Rank? Ideas for Budget Stability

Summary

This report updates and expands on a previous Cascade Policy Institute report by Dr. Pozdena. The purpose of this report is to compare Oregon’s state and local spending level against that of other states through benchmarking.

Benchmarking helps Oregon citizens understand the extent to which their state’s spending choices differ from those of other states. Since individual states vary widely in both their ability to pay for public services and in population characteristics that determine the demand for spending, simple ratio comparisons are insufficient to fairly benchmark individual states. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Failing Grade for PSU and Light Rail

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

On Thursday, July 8, a Metro committee will finalize the funding plan for TriMet’s $494 million “South Corridor” light rail expansion project. It will run to Clackamas County and through the Portland bus mall. The committee is counting on Portland State University to contribute approximately $5 million.

Unfortunately, putting light rail on the (more…)

Read Blog Detail

One Small Step for Property Rights

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Last week, the Portland City Council adopted a plan to build and finance the aerial tram that will run from OHSU to the North Macadam district down along the Willamette River. In a surprise move, the Council approved an amendment offered by Commissioner Dan Saltzman that requires the city to buy any properties below the tram’s right-of-way if the owners feel that the market value is threatened by the tram. The city will then re-sell the homes, either reaping the rewards of profit or bearing the risk of loss.

This is an important recognition by the (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Door to door transit for less

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

On May 1, Portland’s North Interstate light rail line opened for business. The cost to taxpayers was $60 million per mile, or $350 million total. The train, which runs from downtown to the Expo Center, replaces TriMet’s bus line 5, which used to go all the way to Vancouver. Now Vancouver customers must leave the train at Kenton and transfer to a bus to cross the river—their daily commute takes longer.

Oddly enough, superior transit service could have (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Prioritize police, privatize entertainment

QuickPoint!

For the 2004-05 city budget, Portland Mayor Vera Katz proposes hiring 20 police officers — part of a plan to fill 54 vacant positions at the Police Bureau. To pay for this, she allocates a mere $1 million out of the $370 million general-fund. Ahead of the police is (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Clueless in Portland

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Earlier this month, Portland was designated by Inc. magazine as the eighth worst city to do business in. Local politicians, long accustomed to fawning reviews by east coast media outlets, were stunned by this rebuke. Don Mazziotti, director of the Portland Development Commission, dismissed the ranking by saying, “If you use a screwy methodology, you get screwy results.”

Unfortunately for Portland, Inc. didn’t use (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Why is government in the marriage business?

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Oregonians are busy debating whether the state should approve same-sex marriages. The better question would be, “Why is the state involved in marriage at all?”

As the government is concerned, marriage is primarily a contract between two adults. There’s no inherent reason why the state should regulate the nature of the transaction. If the state’s role were to simply (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Tobacco tax shakedown

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Public health nannies complain that the defeat of Measure 30 reduced Oregon’s tobacco tax by ten cents per pack. They argue that higher taxation on tobacco leads to less smoking and also funds smoking cessation programs.

There’s little evidence to support either assertion. When consumers are taxed too much, they simply buy from lower-cost outlets, either on the Internet or from Native American retailers who don’t pay taxes. This actually (more…)

Read Blog Detail

The high cost of transit math

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Last week we discovered that the Washington County commuter rail line, which is planned to run from Beaverton to Wilsonville, will likely carry 35 percent fewer daily passengers than originally projected. According to TriMet, the rail line was supposed to carry 4,650 daily trips by 2020. But the Federal Transit Administration claims these numbers are inflated, and pegs estimated daily ridership at only 3,000, resulting in a loss of $20 million in federal funds.

Had this anemic level of ridership been (more…)

Read Blog Detail

The myth of under-investment in public schools

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Sharon Kitzhaber was interviewed for the Dec. 24, 2003 Willamette Week. The former First Lady of Oregon said her son Logan attends the private French-American school. When asked why she chose a private school, she responded in part by claiming that Oregonians have “under-invested” in their government schools.

This raises the question: What, exactly, does (more…)

Read Blog Detail

ODOT embraces congestion

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) just announced its intention to increase traffic congestion in nearly 50 small cities and towns where state highways become downtown main streets. The Oregon Transportation Commission, which governs ODOT, plans to adopt rules at its January 14 meeting that would allow traffic speeds on these highways to be reduced through such techniques as more pedestrian crosswalks, wider sidewalks, and adding street parking.

Though accommodating pedestrians on a downtown thoroughfare is (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Improving Public Schools Requires Changing the System

Despite reform efforts, school performance is improving slowly, if at all, and continues to be very inequitable between racial and income groups. Though the causes are typically presumed to be located within the classroom, the system itself perpetuates inequity and poor performance. This paper proposes two systemic changes: allow funding to follow children to the school their parents choose and remove the exclusive franchise of school districts, thereby allowing multiple providers of public education within one geographic region. Together these changes would provide the framework for an education system that offers students and professionals a wide range of opportunity and freedom to pursue success. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Attorney General begs for more federal regulation

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

On October 23 the Attorneys General for 12 states, including Oregon, joined with three cities and 14 environmental groups to sue the federal government for its failure to begin regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded earlier this year that it has no legal authority to regulate CO2.

That environmental groups are suing is no surprise; the question is (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Oregon’s hunger ranking: Much ado about nothing

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Oregon can no longer claim the dubious honor of being the “hungriest state in the nation.” According to the 2002 food insecurity rankings released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), that title now belongs to Oklahoma, whose hunger rate of 5.1 percent edged out Oregon by one-tenth of a percent.

Though this change will likely be fodder for (more…)

Read Blog Detail

The gridlocking of Portland

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Last week the Texas Transportation Institute released its annual congestion rankings, and named Portland the 8th-worst city in America for traffic. Portland officials, upset that even Seattle is now ranked more favorably (12th), complained vehemently that the survey was inaccurate and besmirched Portland’s reputation as the nation’s most livable city.

But it’s difficult to understand why (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Check your wallets

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

During the 2003 session of the Oregon legislature, TriMet submitted legislation authorizing the agency to increase its regional payroll tax rate by 17 percent. The payroll tax, which is levied on all businesses and self-employed individuals within TriMet’s service territory, is the primary revenue source for the agency and raises more than $150 million annually.

TriMet’s legislation passed the Senate but was (more…)

Read Blog Detail

The Mythical World of Transit-Oriented Development: Steele Park in Washington County, Oregon

Introduction

During the past decade, Portland-area planners have embraced Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) as the region’s dominant land use/transportation strategy. They assert that TOD, especially based on light rail, will reduce traffic congestion, increase transit use, and make neighborhoods more livable. Transit-oriented development is generally defined as compact, mixed-use development that concentrates retail, housing and jobs in neighborhoods well-served by public transit. TOD has become so important to local planners that it is now the primary justification for expansion of Portland’s light rail system. Rail advocates concede that light rail is not worth the cost if it is built only as a transit system. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Is Oregon Really the Hungriest State in the Nation?

John A. Charles, Jr.

If numbers don’t lie, Marie and her two little boys should be going hungry. A high school dropout at 17, she became pregnant, got married, and had a second child all by age 19. She separated from her husband at 20. She brings home $500 a month as a receptionist for a garden products company.

Now 22, Marie (not her real name) has lived in more than half a dozen apartments and houses in east Multnomah County during the past five years. Until recently she relied on public transit, which limited her job options. Last year she bought a small Geo that her day care provider sold at a discount. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Stop the highway slaughter

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The tragic deaths of eight young firefighters this week on Highway 20 near the Idaho border was a grim reminder of how unsafe many of Oregon’s roads are. While other states have fully integrated networks of high-speed turnpikes or parkways, Oregon’s highway system — if one can call it that — is a hodgepodge of interstate highways, country roads, and urban arterials.

Impatient drivers treat these thru ways as if (more…)

Read Blog Detail

PERS reforms are not "forcing" people out

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The mass exodus of Oregon public employees—due to pending changes in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)—has become a news diet staple. The August 4 Oregonian headline was typical: “PERS changes cause bailout.” The story featured several long-time public employees who are reluctantly retiring in their mid-50s so they can collect their pensions before legislatively mandated changes take effect that would reduce their benefits.

For employees who had planned to work into their 60s, early retirement is (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Metro Brew: More pork, less mobility

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

On June 12 a powerful Metro committee, JPACT, will decide how to spend $53 million in federal gas tax money. This tax is paid by Oregon motorists, laundered through a bureaucracy back in Washington, D.C., then returned to Oregon as “flexible funds” to be spent on any transportation project Metro approves. Although motorists paid the taxes, they will receive almost no benefits.

JPACT is what’s known as a (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Zoning: It’s all about power

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Wilsonville Mayor Charlotte Lehan and Metro President David Bragdon are both complaining. Why? Because state legislator Jerry Krummel (R-Wilsonville) has introduced a bill that would expand the urban growth boundary by 520 acres immediately north of the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville. The reason for the legislation is that construction of the prison destroyed the value of nearby land for residential development, but local officials refuse to re-zone the land for industrial use. Thus, eight landowners now have property that is nearly worthless.

Lehan and Bragdon argue that the (more…)

Read Blog Detail

The Mythical World of Transit-Oriented Development: Light Rail and the Orenco Neighborhood, Hillsboro, Oregon

John A. Charles, Jr.

Executive Summary

During the past decade, Portland-area planners have embraced Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) as the dominant land use/transportation strategy. They assert that TOD, especially based on light rail, will reduce traffic congestion, increase transit use, improve air quality, and attract private investment.

Dozens of TODs have been constructed in the Portland region since 1990, with several winning national acclaim. Most have received public subsidies, on the assumption that the public benefits of TOD outweigh the costs. However, little is known about how transit-oriented projects actually perform once they are built, in terms of transit use and auto dependency. The purpose of this analysis—the first in a series of Portland, Oregon TOD case studies—is to begin filling in that gap by analyzing one of the most well-known TODs in the country, Orenco Station. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Great selection, low price; why discriminate against large stores?

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The Sandy, Oregon, Planning Commission held a hearing last week on a proposal to ban large retail superstores. The Eugene City Council will be looking at a similar ordinance within the next few months. Hood River has already enacted such restrictions.

Why do politicians insist on trying to (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Legislature should reject TriMet tax request

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

TriMet, Portland’s transit agency, is seeking authorization from the state legislature to raise the tax on workers that funds most of its general operations. But the primary reason for the tax increase request is: TriMet’s labor costs are too high.

Since 1994 salaries and wages have (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Paving the rails with gold

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Since the voter defeat of Measure 28, public officials in the Portland region have proposed numerous emergency tax plans to stave off service cuts such as shortened school years. Oddly, these same elected officials are warmly embracing the joint proposal of Metro and TriMet to spend $850 million building two new light rail lines.

According to Metro’s Environmental Impact Statement, each new trip on light rail will cost (more…)

Read Blog Detail

For a better road system: electronic tolling

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The Oregon Road User Fee Task Force recently became the object of scorn by media pundits. Why? Because the Task Force recommended that Oregon test a Global Positioning Satellite-based system to collect tolls from motorists, using volunteer car fleets for the initial research.

Oregon roads are paid for primarily through a (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Metro "faithful" lose their religion

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Portland’s regional government, Metro, is held up as a national model for how to get local governments to work together on such issues as land use planning. But now Metro Executive Mike Burton has proposed expanding the urban growth boundary to urbanize the 3,900 acre parcel known as the Stafford Basin. This is an area just north of I-205 between Lake Oswego and West Linn, which is surrounded on three sides by upscale suburban developments. The Basin has poor soil but was improperly zoned “farmland” years ago, which has prevented the landowners from building homes the way their neighbors have.

Burton has appropriately concluded that (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Protect everyone’s basic (property) rights

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Last week the Oregon Supreme Court invalidated ballot Measure 7, which voters passed in November 2000. Had it been enacted, Measure 7 would have helped constrain local governments’ zoning powers by requiring them to compensate land owners in certain cases where regulations caused a loss of property value.

Though the Supreme Court’s ruling is disappointing, the authors of Measure 7 have (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Sustainable development

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The United Nations conference on sustainable development is winding down after a week of hand-wringing in Johannesburg, South Africa. As expected, the United States served as an international piñata for many of the delegates from poor nations. In speech after speech, the U.S. was criticized for its level of affluence, especially relative to other nations. South African President Thabo Mbeki, opening the conference, claimed that “a global human society based on poverty for many and prosperity for a few, is unsustainable.”

However, the notion that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer is (more…)

Read Blog Detail

OHSU Tram: Forward into the Past!

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The recent decision by the Portland City Council to build a tram from Oregon Health Sciences University to the North Macadam district is reminiscent of the decision to fast- track the construction of light-rail to the Portland airport. In both cases, the transportation projects were deemed essential to the development of vacant land that would eventually create 10,000 new jobs.

Both projects were also “railroaded” through the political process in a (more…)

Read Blog Detail

I-5 Partnership locks in traffic

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The I-5 Partnership, representing the states of Oregon and Washington, will adopt final recommendations this week for alleviating traffic problems on Interstate 5 between Portland and Vancouver. The recommendations cost over $2 billion, but will do little to actually improve traffic flow.

The primary reason is that nearly half the money will (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Westside story shows land use planning flaws

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Recently the Westside Economic Alliance and others sponsored an economic “summit” to examine the economy of the Portland metro region. The centerpiece was a presentation by economist Joe Cortright.

Cortright’s extensive research showed that Washington County is the economic driving force in the region. Not surprisingly, high technology leads the way. That sector has over 60,000 jobs and is (more…)

Read Blog Detail