Economics International

Consulting and expert testimony in economics, finance, and statistics

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Category: Policy

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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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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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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The jobs and profits connection: Does it exist?

Under the headline of Soaring Profits but Too Few Jobs, the Wall Street Journal’s William Galston complains that “Companies have not boosted hiring in line with revenues, or wages in line with productivity.” This somewhat new line of thinking seems to ignore the observation that productivity gains have allowed businesses to increase sales without adding workers. […]

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Raising the minimum wage: Is it worth the fight?

Oregon’s minimum wage workers rang in the New Year with a raise. At $9.10 an hour, the state now has the second highest minimum wage in the country. Add in payroll taxes and benefits, such as paid time off, and the typical minimum wage worker in Oregon costs an employer about $12.75 an hour. People […]

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Lessons learned from Oregon’s state and local technology failures

Cover Oregon’s fizzled launch has been a high profile disaster for the state. After spending $160 million, Oregon’s health insurance exchange had exactly zero people sign up for private insurance in the first two months. Now Cover Oregon claims to have enrolled 7,300 people. However, the fine print from the Cover Oregon press release reveals […]

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Right-to-work: A spark to light Oregon’s employment engine

A little less than a year ago, Michigan became the 24th state to enact right-to-work legislation, a development that has been closely associated with the temperature of Hades dropping. Since then, right-to-work supporters have sought to enact similar legislation throughout the United States. Even here in the Northwest. In Oregon, the Public Employee Choice Act […]

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Income inquality: Is it such a big deal?

Comedian Louis C. K. famously noted that “everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy.” We live in a world of unprecedented prosperity and are much better off then our parents and grandparents were. Since 1950, the average house size has doubled, while the average family size shrunk. We’ve gone from kids sharing a […]

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