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Buy Local laws have unintended consequences

May 31, 2011 --

Buy Local laws have unintended consequences
By Steve Buckstien,
Cascade Policy Institute

In the Great Depression many Americans thought they would be better off if they only bought American products. Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930. It raised import duties to protect American businesses and farmers, becoming a symbol of “beggar-thy-neighbor” policies designed to improve one country’s lot at the expense of others. Of course, those “others” retaliated in kind, resulting in everyone becoming worse off as trade declined.

Trade is almost always beneficial because of the economic law of comparative advantage, which says that any two countries, states or localities can both benefit from trade when they have different relative costs for producing the same goods. Even if one place could produce all goods more efficiently (which is virtually never the case), it still can gain by trading with less-efficient places as long as they have different relative efficiencies.

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50% boom in flags after Osama Bin Laden death

May 30, 2011 --

The death of Osama Bin Laden has been a boom to some businesses according to a CNN report of a flag business who has reported a 50% boom in flags sales since Osama Bin Laden was killed. One month went from a $200,000 month in certain flag related sales to a three million dollar month after.

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The Future of Books and Libraries–and Education?

May 29, 2011 --

By Bill Conerly,
Conerly Consulting
, Businomics

Seth Godin has a stunningly useful commentary on books, libraries and librarians.

“The librarian isn’t a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user.”

I learned this truth too late in life. The librarian is not the keeper of the book warehouse, but is a knowledge guide. Let me take it one step further and apply Seth’s concept to education.

In the medieval university, books were scarce and expensive, far too scarce to expect every student to buy a half dozen textbooks. So professors lectured. It was a cost-effective way to transmit information.

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Survey: 30% work while on vacation

May 28, 2011 --

30 Percent Work While on Vacation
By Career Builders

CHICAGO – May 25, 2011 – A recent study from CareerBuilder shows financial constraints and demanding work schedules have some workers foregoing vacation plans this year. Twenty-four percent of full-time workers reported they can’t afford to take a vacation in 2011, up from 21 percent last year. Another 12 percent reported they can afford a vacation, but don’t have plans to take one this year. More than 5,600 workers participated in the nationwide study, which was conducted from February 21 to March 10, 2011.

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Industrial Land and Zoning Bills hang in the balance

May 27, 2011 --

Industrial Land and Zoning Bills hang in the balance
Oregon prosperity Project,

Senate Bill 766

Senate Bill 766 – is a needed change to our land use system that protects industrial land. It requires the state to designate up to 15 “regionally significant industrial areas.” These industrial areas will offer expedited permitting for industrial uses. They will not be subject to local government restrictions on industrial uses or overlay zones. Senate Bill 766, sponsored by Senator Lee Beyer, deals squarely with the problem of availability, permitting, and restrictions on land that is set aside for job-creating industrial uses. The bill is now in front of the Ways & Means Economic Development Subcommittee…

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Debt chart: How much does each nation own of America

May 26, 2011 --

By Oregon Tax News,

The United States has not seen a balanced budget since 2001, leading to increasing national debt. Although private banks in the U.S. hold the majority of the country’s debt, over 52% according to MSNBC, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board estimate that foreign governments hold 4.4 trillion of the country’s $14 trillion debt in Treasury securities. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Mainland China owns $891.6 billion of the U.S.’s debt. Even Russia owns $106.2 billion.

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How degrees perform against each other

May 25, 2011 --

By Patrick Emerson
Oregon Economics Blog

From the new report out of Georgetown University entitled “What’s it Worth” comes a mountain of data about the market value of college majors. Not surprisingly economics does very, very well. It is not surprising because lots of previous data has shown economics to be a very valuable major and because of the skills that are developed in the course of an economics training – quantitative, analytic and expository – that are both rare and valuable across many professions.

Here is a look at the general data. As usual, engineering comes out on top. A fine and valuable skill and profession is engineering, but we often see engineering students who are quantitatively skilled but looking for some more social applications migrate to economics (and no doubt the reverse is true as well).

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Business tax credits could see 75% reduction

May 24, 2011 --

Business tax credits could see 75% reduction
By  J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

Legislature set to repeal most business tax credits

Oregon’s business community has about $38 million in tax credits that are set to expire at the end of this year. This includes such credits as the R&D Tax Credit, the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) and the Film & Video Production Credit.

New information coming out from key legislators points to an agreement in principle that the legislature will only renew about $10 million worth of credits – an overall reduction in total business tax credits of about 75%.

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Hemp Foundation President Guilty of Tax Evasion

May 23, 2011 --

Paul Stanford, Hemp and Cannabis Foundation President pleaded Guilty of Tax Evasion
Below is Oregon Attorney General Press Release

Paul Stanford will serve 18 months of probation and 160 hours of community service.  Attorney General John Kroger  announced the conviction and sentencing of the president of Portland-based The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF), who was arrested in March for tax evasion. “Paying taxes is not optional,” said Attorney General Kroger.

Paul Stanford (DOB: 6/26/60) pleaded guilty today in Marion County Circuit Court to one count of Oregon Personal Income Tax Evasion. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation and 160 hours of community service.

Stanford is the president of THCF, a Portland-based organization founded as a nonprofit in 1999 that has grown dramatically. According to the Foundation’s website, it now has medical clinics in at least ten states and more than 100,000 patients. However, in 2010, the IRS announced that it had revoked THCF’s status as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.

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Chart shows how GDP has slowed after upswing

May 21, 2011 --

The most recent report by Bureau of Economic Analysis shows an rising 1.8 percent increase in real gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2011. This follows a 3.1 increase in the previous fourth quarter. See whole report here.

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