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The politics of parking meters

December 31, 2012 --

Patrick Emerson PhD ,
OSU Economist
Oregon Economics Blog

One of the most important lessons economists try and teach new economics students is that costs are both monetary and non-monetary and that in economics costs include opportunity costs: the value of the next best thing you give up by choosing a certain economic activity.

I was reminded of this when I read Beth Slovic’s article in The Oregonian about the proposal to bring parking meters to the NW shopping district of NE 21st and 23rd.  I was surprised at the local merchants apparent conviction that this would lead to fewer customers.

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Video: Dave’s Killer Bread goes national

December 30, 2012 --

KATU-2 News showcases the big success story of the local small business bread maker who just announced their giant expansion plans.

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Video: Biggest business stories of 2012

December 29, 2012 --

CNN-Money Magazine review the biggest business news stories of 2012

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Subsidies Make Streetcars Costly

December 28, 2012 --

San Antonio officials who believe an expensive streetcar line will promote mobility and economic development are doomed to disappointment. Streetcars are obsolete: they move slowly; are hazardous to cars, bicycles, and pedestrians; and unlike buses, one disabled streetcar can shut down an entire line.

In 1933, San Antonio became the first major American city to replace all its streetcars with buses because buses were faster, more flexible, and far less expensive. Buses remain superior today: American cities with streetcars spend far more operating and maintaining those cars than their buses.

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Portland foreclosure rates increase

December 27, 2012 --

Portland foreclosure rates increase

 Portland foreclosure rates rose to 2.74 percent, an increase of 0.18 percent compared to September 2011. The state’s rates rose to 3.12 percent, an increase of 0.15 percent. Nationwide, the foreclosure rates fell to 3.52 percent, a decrease of 0.27 percent. Oregon’s foreclosure recovery has lagged behind the nation since July, says the Portland Business Journal, when a new law took effect that gives delinquent mortgage holders more rights to arbitration.

The good news is that the number of Portland homes headed for foreclosure is 5.42 percent, a drop of 0.27 percent. The average price of a home ($281,400) has increased 4.9 percent compared to a year ago.

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Portland Metro area regained 60% of jobs lost since 2008

December 26, 2012 --

Portland-business-alStudy reveals Portland-metro’s progress of economic recovery
— Value of Jobs Coalition reports high productivity, job gains, but low median incomes
Portland Business Alliance

Business and civic leaders released the latest economic study of the Portland-metro area, examining how the region is performing compared the U.S. metro average and other metro areas. The study highlights job recovery, primarily in construction and retail and leisure sectors, and identifies that the Portland-metro region still lags behind the national average in per capita income. The study is part of the Value of Jobs coalition’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of private-sector jobs and income and wage levels and their connection to the region’s quality of life.

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A Keynesian Christmas (video)

December 25, 2012 --

by Bill Conerly, Oregon economist
Conerly Consulting, Businomics

If you are a little skeptical about claims that spending more will spur the economy, listen to John Papola’s “Deck the Halls with Macro Follies” (hat tip to Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek)

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Retailers test same-day delivery

December 24, 2012 --

Retailers test same-day delivery
Oregon Small Business Association:

Giant retailers are offering same-day delivery in selected cities to try to gain a competitive edge. Amazon started same-day delivery several years ago, filling orders from its own warehouses.

“Amazon created this monster and everyone has had to jump on board to compete,” expert analyst Kerry Rice told the Wall Street Journal.

Walmart announced it would test same-day delivery in October in several key cities. They charge a flat $10 delivery fee, no minimum purchase required. Orders are filled from local Walmart stores and delivered by UPS. Orders must be placed before noon for same-day delivery. Most US residents live within close driving distance of at least one of Walmart’s nearly 3,100 Supercenters, giving Walmart a strategic advantage over Amazon, at least until Amazon can build more distribution centers.

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US Chamber: UN internet rules a terrible idea

December 23, 2012 --

Chamber-of-commerceU.S. Chamber Comments on Proposed UN Internet Regulations
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Voices Strong Support for U.S. Government’s Refusal to Sign Agreement in Current Form

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer David Chavern today issued the following statement regarding the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) treaty regarding internet regulation currently being discussed in Dubai:

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce firmly believes that regulation of the Internet by the ITU poses serious risks to years of Internet-led innovation and growth. We recognize and support the desire to promote sound Internet policies and maximize broadband penetration. However, we don’t believe that the ITU is the proper forum for advancing these discussions, and we are troubled by the apparent desire of some governments to create political cover for curtailing the expression of political speech and dissent. We strongly support the U.S. government for refusing to sign on to such a misguided

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Sales spike 400% for armored backpacks for kids (video)

December 22, 2012 --

The Wall Street Journal interviewed the Vice President of Business Operations of Bullet Blocker which created a bullet-proof backpack for school kids. The idea is their backpack can be a lifesaving lightweight shield against mass shooters. Bullet Blockers said they saw sales rise 400% since the Newtown shooting.

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