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New study concludes: There are few things as expensive as free federal money

Please download and read the new study: Impact of Federal Transfers on State and Local Own Source Spending. “Free is a very good price” announced the 1980s pitchman for a local appliance store known for it’s buy-one-get-one offers. But, like most things in life, the BOGO offers had some hitches (Like you had to spend $399[!] […]

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This blog is on the move … Check out EconMinute.com for regular updates from the world of economics

On a bit of well-reasoned whim, we have moved our economics blogging over to a separate site, EconMinute.com. Today, we’re celebrating the first week birthday of EconMinute.com, and it’s really come along in that first week. We have new posts almost daily, covering some of the aspects of economics that are more interesting than, say, inflation […]

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First podcast – Subsidies, smokes, and solar

Welcome to the Econ Minute. It’s more than a minute, and it’s about more than just economics. This is our first podcast. This pilot podcast begins with a visit to a mixed up world where the homeless are arrested for stealing less than a penny’s worth of electricity while high end electric vehicle drivers get […]

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The crazy mixed up world of “free” electricity where the homeless get arrested and Tesla owners get subsidies

In Portland, OR, Street Roots reports that a homeless former social worker with muscular dystrophy was hit with a misdemeanor theft charge for charging her phone from a plug on a planter-base on a sidewalk. She then spent a day in jail when she missed her arraignment. The electricity she used to charge her phone […]

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How to get pregnant women to smoke, and smoke more: Put them on Medicaid

When Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion was being pushed, proponents argued that the increased insurance coverage would do wonderful things for pre-natal and newborn health. But, a new working paper is questioning that promise. The paper is called, “Does Medicaid Coverage for Pregnant Women Affect Prenatal Health Behaviors?” and is published by the National Bureau of Economic […]

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Portland housing prices are growing faster than incomes

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U.S. home prices up 28 percent since the bottom of the market

Case-Shiller released the monthly Home Price Indices for January (“January” is a 3 month average of November, December and January prices). Both the 10- and 20-city composites reported virtually flat month-over-month changes. The 20-city composite is up 28 percent since the bottom of the market in early 2012, remains down 15 percent since 2007 (the last […]

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Three minute “how to” – How to make a TV news report on the economy

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Red and Black Cafe closes: Lessons in capitalism from a socialist coffee shop

Portland’s Red and Black Cafe recently announced its closing via Facebook with a sad kitten photo. Red and Black sounds like a coffee shop straight out of a Portlandia episode or an article in The Onion. It’s an all-organic, wheat-free, vegetarian coffee and food shop. It’s run as a collective, it’s employees are represented by the IWW union, […]

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You can learn a lot from a one-dollar peanut

Every summer, Portland hosts MusicFest NW which is, believe it or not a big music festival. This year the festival got bigger and the MBAs took over. They decided that the best way to extract dollars from concert goers was to forbid food vendors from selling water. That’s right … Citing safety reasons (naturally), concert […]

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