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Here’s an issue we can all agree on: End ridiculous, anti-competitive occupational licensing

Reforming excessive state-based occupational licensing requirement is the issue that has a U of M labor professor sounding like a disciple of Milton Friedman and expressing strong support for legislation supported by the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress. Work to fix this anti-competitive abuse begun under the Obama Administration but progress has been difficult since all this regulation takes place at the state level.  But now a recent court case has opened the door to action by Congress that could spur reform at the state level. Even so, it was a joy to read in today’s Star Tribune the brilliant op-ed...

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Who Asks the Right Questions About Refugees?

We do. Sunday's Pioneer Press had a long article about refugees in Minnesota that featured an admirable family: the Sivasundarams, who have come to Minnesota from Sri Lanka, by way of Malaysia. They hold multiple jobs, and they love Minnesota. Their children grew up speaking English and appear to be assimilating well. If you focus on a single successful family, you can create the impression that our refugee programs are terrific and it would be good to take in lots more refugees. Conversely, if you focus exclusively on the story of a refugee who turns out to be a murderer or...

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Thousands of Minnesotans Get Bonuses and Pay Hikes Thanks to Tax Cuts [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Two more Minnesota companies have made the Americans for Tax Reform list of companies handing out bonuses to their employees as a result of the federal tax cut.  DTN, a Burnsville firm, and St. Paul-based Priority Courier Experts are among 164 companies with two million employees and counting that have already benefited from the tax relief measure, according to ATR. DTN, an independent provider of information and actionable insights in the areas of agriculture, transportation and energy, and publisher of The Progressive Farmer, gave $1,000 bonuses to nearly 700 employees. Priority Courier Experts paid a “TRUMP BUMP” [$500] to each of its 80...

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Is MN Ag Department Playing Politics With Farmers’ Water Tests?

The politicization of science may be good for researchers lining up for government grants but not so much for their credibility.   It's already happened with global warming. The data have been manipulated and misconstrued by government agencies and activist scientists to the point where anyone who's less than a true believer has little confidence in its reliability, much less concern over the alleged conclusions. Now Brown County commissioners and farmers worry the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a similar hidden agenda with the state's offer to test residents' well water for nitrates. The county board turned down the state's generosity, skeptical...

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Minimum wage’s unintended consequences

We all want to see higher wages for workers. But these will only come in a sustainable way from increasing worker productivity. For this, we need to look at education, investment, entrepreneurship, and all the interconnected policies which influence these. True, this doesn’t have the attractive simplicity of a politician simply decreeing that employers will only be allowed to pay above $X, but it will work....

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