Month: August 2007

Who Owns Your Social Security? (hint: it’s not you)

Bina PatelCascade Commentary

Summary

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that retirees do not have an ownership claim to future unpaid Social Security benefits. Because you do not have a property right to your mandatory contributions, you may never be able to benefit from them. In over 30 countries, however, personal accounts are increasing long-term security and ensuring retirement benefits. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Carbon Grandstanding

John A. Charles, Jr.QuickPoint!

Last week Gov. Kulongoski and the governors of five other western states signed a regional agreement that commits their respective states to reducing greenhouse gases by an aggregate of 15% below 2005 levels by 2020. Although this sounds aggressive, it’s actually a goal that rides the momentum of an ongoing trend.

In Oregon, total carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 1999 and were 6% lower by 2003. Emissions will continue to decline for the (more…)

Read Blog Detail

NO SCHIP

Anthony StintonCascade Commentary

Summary

Congress wants to expand SCHIP to provide more uninsured children with health coverage. While exactly how much private insurance the expansion of public coverage will crowd out is uncertain, the Congressional Budget Office projects that if SCHIP is expanded, 25-50% of new participants would be children who already had private insurance. Instead, Congress and state governments should act to make insurance more affordable. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Central Oregon private-public mobility agenda

Sreya SarkarQuickPoint!

Central Oregon Mobility Consortium, under the Central Oregon Intergovermental Council, is on the verge of creating an innovative regional transportation plan for Central Oregon counties. The region’s continuing phenomenal growth has created an unprecedented demand for alternative transportation choices that are customer friendly but not totally reliant on the existing public transit model of fixed routes.

The traditional bus service doesn’t effectively serve the smaller communities in the region because of their (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Portlanders See Through the “Bike vs. Car” Racket

Debate Club poster

Debate club poster
(Photo: Garrett Downen/Bus Project)

The Wheels to Wealth program is finally communicating with an audience it always wanted to reach out to. Program Director Sreya Sarkar took part in a debate in SE Portland that attracted the biking community of Portland.

As part of their monthly Debate Club series, the Bus Project and the Portland Mercury hosted a (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Better Health Care Through Less Government

Daniel RoncariCascade Commentary

Summary

Many of the problems present in Oregon’s health care system associated with access and affordability would be alleviated by increasing the number of medical procedures that do not require a fully licensed physician and by allowing doctors licensed in another state to practice in Oregon. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Unions undermine democracy

Steve BucksteinQuickPoint!

Oregon’s strong public employee unions may grow even stronger now that Governor Kulongoski has signed House Bill 2891 into law. Known as card-check, it allows unions to organize government agencies simply by convincing half of the eligible workers to sign a card stating they want to join the union. If half sign, all must join or pay dues. No secret vote, not even a way to vote no. Talk about pressure and the abandonment of democratic principles.

At the federal level a similar attempt to impose (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Tolls (not tax, spend and waste) to Fund Bridges

Anthony StintonQuickPoint!

The collapse of the I-35 Bridge and loss of life in Minneapolis is a tragedy that prompts Oregonians to ask, could such a tragedy happen here, and how can we reduce our risk?

The first widespread reaction is to demand that our state and federal legislators appropriate more money for bridges and roads. Oregonians should think twice. Federal, state and local transportation appropriation processes regularly produce pork barrel spending (read about pork in the 2005 Federal Highway bill) and wasteful projects like the (more…)

Read Blog Detail

Consumer Protection from What?

Anthony StintonCascade Commentary

Summary

The payday lending interest rate cap passed by the Oregon legislature has reduced gross revenues on a typical loan by 70%, causing the closure of 102 stores. As a result, the Oregonians these regulations were meant to protect have less access to credit than they did before. (more…)

Read Blog Detail

The Private Sector Has More Incentive to Invest Wisely

Daniel RoncariQuickPoint!

Governor Kulongoski recently signed a series of bills that will spend a total of $28 million dollars on several industries and research centers. The Oregon Innovation Plan will “invest” in “innovation-based economic development,” supposedly to help make Oregon more competitive. Because the Oregon Innovation Plan is government-directed investment, it is inferior to private sector investment. That is because government decision makers, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, do not have as strong incentives to invest wisely.

Milton Friedman once said: “Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as (more…)

Read Blog Detail