Month: February 2007

Testimony on HB 2700

Bina PatelThe Cascade Policy Institute, a non-partisan free-market think tank, would like to present information on the economic impacts of increasing health insurance mandates. This question is focused not only the economic consequences, but also on the larger question facing policymakers: are we seeking universal health insurance, or expansive benefit coverage for the few?

  1. Insurance by definition is designed to provide security against unpredictable risks that a group of individuals share and pay premiums for in the event such a risk may occur. The principles of insurance include that risks covered are unpredictable and unintentional. Insurance is not an effective mechanism to provide maximum coverage to all for every foreseeable event. When predictable and regular costs are billed to insurance, in addition to occurrences for those experiencing an unpredictable risk, the cost of insurance increases — that is, more funds are needed to cover both risks and predicted events. In this case, health insurance in fact appears more as a “health benefits package”.

(more…)

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Testimony on SB 80 and SJR 10

Steve BucksteinBefore the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee

on deleting the double majority voting requirement from certain property tax elections

Good morning Chair Deckert and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank.

There’s no one right way or wrong way to hold an election in a democracy. Clearly, some limitations on pure majority rule are both acceptable and appropriate under our form of government. In 1996 Oregon voters approved a Constitutional amendment that requires a (more…)

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Designing the Carbon Cartel

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced on Monday that he has joined 4 other governors in signing the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative. The stated goal of the Initiative is to “collaborate in identifying, evaluating and implementing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

As is typically the case with such pronouncements, none of the governors has an actual (more…)

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An inconvenient truth (about prevailing wages, not global warming)

Steve Buckstein

Cascade has researched, written and testified about what’s wrong with prevailing wage laws for a long time. Basically, these laws require that higher than market wages be paid to workers on “public works” projects such as roads, schools, courthouses, etc.

Supporters of Oregon’s prevailing wage laws, primairly trade unions, defend them by claiming that the prevailing wage is really just the market wage for a given skill in a given region of the state. The wage rates are set after a compulsory survey is returned to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries stating wages paid by the responding construction firms.

Now, a bill before the Legislature seeks to exempt certain projects, primarily the construction of low-income housing units. Both agencies commissioning such projects and trade unions testified in favor of this exemption. What isn’t clear is why (more…)

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Evidence-Based War on Poverty

Sreya SarkarCascade Commentary

Summary

Forty-three years after President Johnson declared the War on Poverty, Americans are questioning the effective-ness of government welfare dollars. Evidence-based policymaking seeks to bridge the gap between policy makers and social scientists in finding solutions to poverty that are effective in the real world. (more…)

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Testimony on HB 2557

Steve BucksteinBefore the House Business and Labor Committee

on certain exemptions from prevailing wage laws

Good afternoon Chair Schaufler and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research organization based in Portland.

I’m here to express my support for exempting certain projects from Oregon’s prevailing wage laws. Let me briefly tell you why. (more…)

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Testimony on SB 580

Steve BucksteinBefore the Senate Business, Transportation and Workforce Development Committee

on the establishment of signature research centers

Good afternoon Chair Metsger and members of the Committee. My name is Steve Buckstein. I’m Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a public policy research organization based in Portland.

Directing the Oregon Innovation Council to establish signature research centers is poor public policy because (more…)

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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Wi-Fi

Cascade Commentary

Summary

As Thomas Sowell once wrote, “What is politically defined as economic ‘planning’ is the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by government officials.” The city of San Francisco is a case in point. If Mayor Gavin Newsom wanted San Francisco to benefit from a robust and inexpensive wireless market, he would abandon TechConnect and devote his energy to the removal of any existing barriers to competition. (more…)

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Smith and Wyden on health care reform

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Oregon’s two U.S. Senators spoke on a wide range of issues at a Portland Business Journal breakfast on Monday. Health care reform took up much of the time.

Senator Wyden would end the link between employment and insurance. He correctly pointed out that this link was brought about by wage and price controls during World War II, and is now causing (more…)

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Oregon Legislative Update

Matt WingardCascade Commentary

Summary

The 2007 Oregon State Legislature is in full swing and it’s getting ugly fast for those of us who believe in individual liberty, economic opportunity and personal responsibility. Stay tuned for more updates from Cascade Policy Institute. (more…)

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