Archive for July 2016

Fiscal Policy Doesn’t Explain Below Average Employment Growth

Minnesota has lagged modestly behind the national average in terms of employment growth during the 21st century. However, there is no reason to blame Minnesota’s sub-par employment growth upon progressive fiscal policy. Rather, the state’s below average job growth is explicable—and even defensible—in terms of other labor force realities in the state versus the rest…

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Mid-Week Reads: Heroes in Love

Jeff Van Wychen To Boldly Go… Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock hooking up? How about Captain America and Iron Man? Or perhaps wholesome Harry Potter and sinister rival Draco Malfoy? This article from 1843 (a cultural publication from the Economist Group) explores the world of “slash fiction,” a branch of fan fiction that imagines heterosexual…

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The Economic Case for Reducing Income Inequality

The trend in declining wages and increased income inequality has been well documented, most recently in a July 18 North Star article. Concern over these trends goes beyond the gut level response to the impropriety of concentrating a larger and larger share of societal wealth within a smaller and smaller slice of the population. There…

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Minnesota Wage Growth Stronger Under Progressive Policies

Conservatives have blamed “blue-state” policies for what they consider to be lackluster performance by Minnesota’s economy during the 21st century. However, wage growth in Minnesota has been slightly stronger vis-à-vis the national and adjacent state averages under recently enacted progressive policies than under the conservative policies that preceded them. As noted in the first article…

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Mid-Week Reads: Bullying and FOIA

Every week, North Star will take some time out of our schedules to bring you our favorite reads from the past week. Jeff Van Wychen Too Late for Kindness: Why Didn’t I Protect a Bullied Classmate in Highschool? This is a story of regret—of an opportunity for compassion and courage that was declined in order…

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Wendell Anderson and “A State That Works”

Sunday marked the passing of a Minnesota icon, as former Governor Wendell Anderson died at age 83. Governor Anderson faded from the political scene over the course of the 1970s, but even Minnesotans borne long after Anderson’s heyday have seen the August 1973 Time magazine cover featuring the image of the governor, holding a far-from-trophy…

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The 1% vs. the Rest of Us

We hear a lot about income inequality, and thanks to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), we now have some state-, county-, and metropolitan area-level data to take a closer look at local inequalities. According to EPI: “Income inequality has risen in every state since the 1970s and in many states is…

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Don’t Blame Blue-State Policies for Red-State Outcomes

Conservatives frequently claim that “blue-state polices” are hurting Minnesota’s economy. One line of analysis they have used is to identify negative or lackluster economic trends since the turn of the century and then lay blame for them at the feet of progressive public policy. There are at least three problems with this line of analysis.…

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Mid-Week Reads: Intelligence and Pollution

Every week, North Star will take some time out of our schedules to bring you our favorite reads from the past week. Jeff Van Wychen The War on Stupid People Intelligence—narrowly defined in terms as the kind of “smarts” that is measured by SAT scores—is an attribute that only about one-third of Americans have, according…

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Impact of 2013 Legislation on 2014 Rankings is Modest

A pair of recent North Star articles demonstrated that Minnesota was fairly typical of other states in terms of the size of government. Total state and local government expenditures per $1,000 of personal income* in Minnesota were modestly below the national average, ranking 31st among the states (including the District of Columbia), while total revenues…

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