Month: June 2007

Social Security Reform: The Thrift Savings Way

Cascade Commentary

Summary

In just 10 years’ time, the Social Security system will begin to pay more each year in benefits than it receives in tax revenues. Giving every worker in America the same opportunity that federal workers have to save for retirement would allow everyone to create and fund their own protected retirement accounts that can never be taken away by Congress. (more…)

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Bandon Dunes Is a Private (Not Government) Success Story

Steve BucksteinCascade Commentary

Summary

The implication that private business success stories are really dependent on government subsidies needs to be looked at critically. Contrary to the impression made by a recent New York Times article, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the southern Oregon coast was developed and became successful due to private risk taking and entrepreneurial skill. (more…)

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Oregon schools get more money, but most isn’t for students

Jeffrey CarlsonQuickPoint!

The Oregon Legislature recently passed a 6.2 billion dollar budget for K-12 education for the 2007-2009 biennium, a 14 percent increase over the last two years and the largest in Oregon history. This funding will enable some districts to expand music and physical education programs, and decrease class sizes. However, over half of the additional funds will be used to pay for rapidly rising health-care costs and teachers’ salaries. These funds come without any state mandate for school districts to prove they are using their money efficiently.

Parents’ calls for school spending accountability seem to have fallen on (more…)

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Supreme Court slaps public employee unions

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that public employee unions can’t violate state laws that prohibit them from using non-members’ dues on political campaigns without prior permission. The ruling came in two cases from Washington State where, as in Oregon, the teachers union has been coercing non-members to pay not only for collective bargaining, but also for its political activities.

If you think coercion is too strong a word, that’s what Justice Scalia called it in (more…)

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Testimony before the Portland City Council on The Great Duct Tape Controversy

Steve BucksteinThis testimony was in response to a proposed ordinance by Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard which would ban reserving sidewalk space to view parades. Before my testimony, Mayor Potter suggested that Leonard withdraw his proposal and agree to solicit citizen input through a public committee. As the first person to testify, I supported the Mayor’s suggestion. After my testimony and that of others, Leonard withdrew his ordinance and agreed to co-chair such a committee with the head of the Rose Festival Association. Commissioner Dan Saltzman told his colleagues that he hoped “Steve Buckstein’s Rose Festival Duct Tape idea” would be considered. The idea was presented in my testimony below. (more…)

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The Great Duct Tape Controversy

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

The 100th Portland Rose Festival has come and gone, but the great duct tape controversy lives on. The city is divided among those who think it’s legitimate to duct tape off your parade viewing spot days in advance, and those who think it should be first come, first served.

If sidewalks were owned by the adjacent home or business owners, this would not be an issue. But sidewalks are public property. They’re usually conflict free, but (more…)

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Opposing the Salem Zealots

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

The Oregonian’s front page feature on lobbyist Mark Nelson is a revealing insight into the views of a man the paper calls “the most powerful man in government whom you’ve never met.”

Nelson works for a number of powerful clients. Among other battles this legislative session, he’s trying to keep cigarette and beer taxes from rising, and he’s fighting caps on consumer loans.

His opponents couch their arguments in terms of (more…)

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Cancel the Apocalypse: School Funding is Up (Again)

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

The conventional wisdom in Oregon is that we’ve been “disinvesting” in public schools during the past decade. Portland Public Schools were lampooned in Doonsbury a few years back, and the number of portable classrooms in suburban districts is supposedly proof that we face an educational funding crisis.

There’s just one thing wrong with this image: it’s completely wrong. Tax spending for schools has been going up for years. But many journalists are so used to repeating the dominant story line that they can’t (more…)

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