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Oregon income drop spurs call for new leadership

November 3, 2009

By Martin Medeiros
Partner, Swider Medeiros Haver LLP

The State of Oregon needs new direction in its leadership to reverse the downward trend in income statistics that began in 1980, the last year Oregon’s per capita was equal to or above the national average.  Not only is Oregon’s trend towards poverty evident—the pace seems to be accelerating, especially in the last seven years.  Compared with the national average, the state is poor, and getting poorer.  A focus by policymakers on some possible causes: structurally high unemployment, poor capital formation, spikes in bankruptcies (especially small businesses) and business flight; appears to be required.  Oregon needs leadership that is skilled in accumulating economic resources.  Otherwise, the “livability” will be compromised; things such as infrastructure, environmental remediation, higher education and the social programs will, by necessity, be unfunded.

Some of our new candidates are experienced in economics and business; they are the “most valuable players” for our state right now.  Oregonians should encourage these people to stay in the race and elect them, and support them.  We need to follow the lead of other states that value economics and private sector experience.  One cannot deny the economic engine St. Paul has become, which boasts 18 Fortune 500 companies and is “America’s Safest” city according to Forbes magazine.  A common element that many of the political leaders in that state share is that they come from a business or business law background.  Many were entrepreneurs and have had the discipline of making a payroll.

– Data Source U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
– Martin Medeiros is a Partner at Swider Medeiros Haver LLP, the law firm for business of the creative and innovative classes.

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Discuss this article

Bud November 3, 2009

It seems from the chart that in 1999 Oregon began losing its competitiveness with the nation on per capita income. I do not know what happeneded that year or what began to happen, but we have failed to do what we have done before and it hits us rigth where we live — our income.

Eli November 3, 2009

I wonder hor hi-tech plays into this. Oregon has recruited many huge firms and their pay has been above the Oregon state average.

Columbia County Kid November 3, 2009

The reason why our income lags below the rest of the nation is because our thoughtful leaders keep trying to create jobs in the tourist industry as a way of “keeping Oregon green.” Jobs in the tourism industry are transient and low paying – they don’t stimulate local economies, they detract from them.

Face it – if America wants to thrive again, we need a manufacturing sector. What’s left of our manufacturing sector has moved to the south, where the lack of private unions has allowed the industries to survive, with lower wages to the workers. But the workers still make far more than workers in the tourism industry, who also aren’t unionized. The greens and the left don’t want manufacturing, however, because it’s not environmentally pure. So we continue to languish.

Alpha Dog November 3, 2009

Well, Columbia Kid that is why they should rename those GREEN Jobs to be DREAM Jobs because they never come to life.

where o where November 3, 2009

Sure, where are the green jobs, but where are the busienss-minded leaders Martin is talking about. I see few in congressional races, I expect none in the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. I mean we need some business sense and discipline in managing education. Where are the ones to run in Portland’s next City Council election? Where oh where?

common sense November 4, 2009

To be a leader you have to lead. Being in a top spot does not make it so.

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