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Category Archives: Center of the American Experiment

Minnesota in the bottom 5 for tax climate, again

How is Minnesota like the Chicago Cubs? They’re both “lovable losers.” Another season of Major League Baseball will soon expire, and the Cubs will have failed, again to even make it to the World Series. And as another year has passed, a tax-policy organization has once again said that Minnesota is a cellar-dweller. The Tax […]

Pensions “could be adjusted,” says bankruptcy judge

Across the country, states and cities face difficult fiscal situations, aggravated by the fact that they have over-promised and under-funded pension plans. As cities and other units of government consider bankruptcy, judges and others must ask whether those promises have a superior standing over promises made to vendors, bondholders, or citizens as a whole. The […]

Trying to limit what you want

It’s easy, but wrong, to think of today’s governing philosophy as socialism. Rather, it’s control, including constraining demand in a number of areas of life. For example, transportation planners such as Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council want to minimize the demand for miles of roads. We can’t build our way out of congestion, they say. So they seek to […]

Hooray for cuteness capitalism

Along the curbs of many residential streets this summer, you’ll find a classic piece of Americana as well as free enterprise–the lemonade stand. Stop and drop a couple of quarters, please. The other day, I was driving back home when three children caught my eye. They were all girls, roughly ages 9-12, standing at a […]

If they can’t even get a bridge repair right …

In its recent session, the Minnesota Legislature doled out $250 million in favors to a mega-famous retail center that doesn’t pay property taxes. Thanks to the insistence of one legislator, it also allocated $9 million to please birders and bicyclists. The Star Tribune’s Rochelle Olson reported on this in a story called “Mall of America […]

Childcare Unionization: Using the Power of Government to Enrich Partisan Advantage

Introduction: As I write this, the Minnesota House is set to vote on a proposal to unionize independent, self-employed business owners who heretofore worked primarily for families of small children (home health care aides are also included). Some of these business owners have customers who receive public subsidies. AFSCME, the powerful union of state and local workers, […]

Do tax rates matter? Ask the calendar

Politicians may say that tax rates don’t matter, but the number of people who move away from Minnesota to low-tax states suggest otherwise. So do the actions of politicians who offer selective tax breaks. But today, I’d like to tell a story about one person whose life choices suggest that tax rates do affect personal behavior–sometimes to […]

Two school models, two ethical models of financing

As I left the church-based preschool my daughter attends, the director drew my attention to the nearby countertop. On it was a class photo of my girl and all her classmates. Would I like to buy this photo, she asked, for only $10? “Another revenue stream?,” I asked. “Oh yes,” she said, with a mixture […]

How right-to-work came to Michigan

How is it that Michigan, of all states, is set to become the latest state to have a right-to-work law? Economic distress is one factor, but personalities and over-reach are factors as well. Long-term decline leads to a one-state recession One factor in Michigan’s move to right-to-work is the state’s dismal economic performance. In the […]

I’ll take rule of law over majority rule

Opposition to a photo ID requirement stresses the importance of voting, but it forgets the more important principles of republican governance and rule of law. Earlier this week, John Fund (co-author of Who’s Counting?) and Mike Freeman (Hennepin County Attorney) debated the issue of photo ID at the University of St. Thomas Law School. Two thoughts […]