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Category Archives: MNFMI

One-sided Economics Afflicts Politics

The warm winter, virtually without snow, provides a lesson in incomplete thinking about economics. The Star Tribune recently published a story about the economic impact of the season: “Minnesota businesses are seeing red ink in brown winter.” It then quotes, as evidence, people with businesses that clear driveways of snow, remove ice dams from buildings, […]

When Government Expands, Volunteerism Shrinks

Three European scholars have confirmed the obvious: Government social programs crowd out private ones. Franz Hackl, Martin Halla, and Gerald J. Pruckner, all of Austria’s University of Linz, have this to say: * “An increase of in public social expenditure by 1 percentage point of GDP decreases the individual’s probability of volunteering by 1.7 up to […]

NFL Should Buy Vikings a Stadium

With $9.3 billion in annual revenue, the NFL could afford to buy the Minnesota Vikings a stadium. When Sports Illustrated crunched the numbers in March 2011, it estimated that the NFL is a $9.3 billion-a-year enterprise. That’s almost as much money as flows to Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL combined. About half of the […]

Expanding Gambling for the Wrong Reason

Gambling has been a political “hot potato” in Minnesota. What’s the right path forward? Should gambling be legal, given the costs it incurs? Humans have gambled for thousands of years, so it’s in our social if not actual DNA. Like many activities, gambling can be an enjoyable diversion. Go to the casino with a limit […]

Minnesota is a Leader in Digital Learning, With More to Do

Minnesota may be a leader in one new development in education, but there’s a long ways to go. The news comes from Digital Learning Now (DLN), which describes itself as “a national campaign to advance policies that will create a high quality digital learning environment to better prepare students.” (For a very quick introduction of digital learning, […]

School Elections Are Getting Political–Thankfully

Tomorrow is school election day, which prompts the question: Is a non-political approach to education possible–or even desirable? A recent article in the Star-Tribune carries the headline “School board races become more political.” The lead paragraph says, “polarizing politics seen nationwide are filtering down to the most local level.” What’s the evidence? “Community campaigns have endorsed strings […]

Pay Up For Your Purple Delusions

Are Minnesotans doomed to hand over $400-$500 million to a man whose financial worth is twice that amount? Tom Powers, sports columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, recently wrote about the prospects of a new taxpayer-paid stadium for the Wilf Vikings. The headline tells it all: “Like it or not, you will be paying […]

Online Learning Grows Fastest in Charter Schools

Charter schools have been one of the most important innovations in public education in the last 20 years. They are the natural home to online learning, which is the next new thing. Online learning, which goes by the name of  online learning, cyberschools, and a few other terms, is subject to both hype and unfair […]

What’s Good for ObamaCare is Bad for Minnesota Jobs

When industry trade groups and companies talk about public policy, they often engage in special pleading, asking for special tax breaks or regulatory preferences. But sometimes their claims do in fact serve the public interest–especially when they call attention to unusual taxes or onerous regulations. Such is the case with the medical hardware industry and […]

Fear the Federal Debt? Blame the Progressive Income Tax

Is the tea party to blame for the downgrade of U.S. credit? Or perhaps President Obama? Try “the increasingly progressive nature of the federal income tax system.” A new working paper from two economists has the details. Jody Lipford (Presbyterian College) and Bruce Yandle (Clemson University) take a look at several related topics: the thoughts of some […]