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  • A Minimum Wage Fable by Mark Perry

    [This is a great post from Dr. Perry’s Carpe Diem blog.] [The full 60 min. audio from American Experiment’s BIG minimum wage debate with Sen. John Marty, Dan McElroy, and Dr. Perry is available here.] Consider an imaginary economy with two types of workers: two-armed and one-armed. Two-armed workers are the large majority, while the one-armed workers are a small minority. For most manual tasks and some service-related jobs, suppose the one-armed workers are realistically less productive than their two-armed counterparts for: a) agriculture jobs like manually picking vegetables and fruits, b) construction and maintenance jobs like carpentry, electrical wiring,...

  • Affordable Housing? Not For Twin Cities Families

    The Metropolitan Council—the Twin Cities area’s regional government—has been telling us for years that we’ve got to change the way we live. “Thrive MSP 2040,” the council’s 30-year development plan, is intended to remake our region around transit; move us into high-density, “stack and pack” housing along fixed-rail lines; deplete road funding; and wean us out of our cars so we walk, bike or take public transit to work and leisure activities. But today’s Star Tribune provides powerful evidence that people here generally don’t want to live that way. The Met Council is pressuring the region’s municipalities to densify, but...

  • Students Need to Take Responsibility, Too

    It’s not exactly rocket science. Students can’t learn much if they skip class. More than 100,000 Minnesota students were AWOL for 15 days or more in the 2013-14 school year–nearly 13 percent of students statewide.  School districts from Anoka-Hennepin to St. Cloud and Bemidji report a problem with chronic absenteeism. A recent Star Tribune editorial highlighted the issue, citing a laundry list of reasons at home and at school behind the problem. As to why so many kids aren’t showing up, local districts report a variety of causes. Physical and mental health (student and family), poverty-related challenges, suspensions, homelessness and bullying are...

  • Paper by Former American Experiment Intern Reveals the Hidden Cost of Wind to Electricity Consumers

    Last month the Odell Wind Farm went on line in Southwestern Minnesota, which will add another 200 megawatts of electricity to Xcel Energy’s portfolio.  Xcel claims this addition of wind will result in savings for customers, but analysis by Tyler McNeal—a former American Experiment intern—calls such savings into question. According to an Xcel news release, this addition of 100 industrial wind turbines “is part of a commitment Xcel Energy made in 2013 to increase its wind capacity by 42 percent by adding 750 megawatts of cost-effective, clean wind energy in the Upper Midwest by the end of 2016.” This is...

  • Once Again, Star Tribune Cheers Mediocre Performance

    We Minnesotans have a habit of patting ourselves on the back for performance that is, at best, average. Our local press, especially the Minneapolis Star Tribune, encourages this form of self-deception. A case in point was an article in today’s Strib business section headlined Twin Cities economy posts solid gain in 2015. The boosterish article, by Adam Belz, was based on a release of data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on economic growth by metropolitan area: The Twin Cities economy grew steadily in 2015, setting a pace that’s better than average and keeping Minneapolis-St. Paul in its spot as...