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Is MNsure on Life Support After Election?

One of the biggest questions raised by the election results this week is what it all means for the unpopular MNsure state health insurance exchange. Minnesota was among a handful of states that chose to develop and operate its own health insurance exchange following passage of the Affordable Care Act. But all of a sudden, the survival of both the ACA and MNsure may be on the line due to new political realities, according to the Star Tribune's prognosis. Republican control in Washington plus increased GOP power in St. Paul clouds the future for Minnesota’s MNsure health insurance exchange. Republicans in the U.S....

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Nearly Twice As Many Work In Government As In Manufacturing

Terence Jeffrey reports the latest data: The United States lost 9,000 manufacturing jobs in October while gaining 19,000 jobs in government, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Government employment grew from 22,216,000 in September to 22,235,000 in October, according to BLS, while manufacturing jobs dropped from 12,267,000 to 12,258,000. This chart plots the number of manufacturing employees against the number of government employees: No wonder economic growth has slowed to a crawl! Of course, the decline in manufacturing jobs doesn't necessarily mean a decline in manufacturing. On the contrary, the value of goods made in America is higher than ever....

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Buyers’ Remorse Over $500 Million Public Investment in Vikings Stadium?

Despite three straight losses, it may be premature for Vikings season ticket holders to throw in the towel just yet. There's a lot of football to be played for a team that still claims first place in the Central Division. But there could be significant losses occurring in U.S. Bank Stadium whether the team tees it up or not, according to local business columnist Lee Schafer. Investing in an NFL stadium in downtown Minneapolis is starting to look a little like buying RCA stock in the summer of 1929, gold in 1980 or shares of Apple stock last May. Investing in an NFL...

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MN Utility Files for Huge Rate Increase to Pay for Wind and Solar

Utilities, regulators and environmentalists make it as difficult as possible to track the real costs of switching over 30 percent of Minnesota's electrical power generation to wind and solar.  Xcel Energy has been claiming its wind turbines will actually save consumers in the long run. But a newly filed rate increase by Duluth-based Minnesota Power provides rare clarity and proof positive that Minnesotans can expect their electric bills to continue to increase dramatically for the foreseeable future. The utility wants the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to grant an 8 percent rate residential rate hike ASAP on January 1. After that? Ten percent...

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The Joy of Knowing “I Built That”

At its height, about 1,800 men and women were on the job building the new Vikings stadium in Downtown Minneapolis.  A truly remarkable number when you think about it. In the starkest of contrasts, the American Enterprise Institute’s Nicholas Eberstadt recently wrote about how one out of every six American men between 25 and 54 – known in the trade as the “prime age working years” – are currently not in the workforce at all.  Which is to say, they are neither working, nor between jobs, nor even looking for one.  They’ve dropped out.  As numbers go, this too is a...

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Could Be Worse! Minnesota Has Only 4th Highest Obamacare Rate Hike

Steep Affordable Care Act premium hikes and declining options through the MNsure state health insurance exchange have made headlines for days. Rate increases of 50 to 67 percent on the individual market forced a panicked Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to recently admit "the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for an increasing number of people." But there's always a silver lining. As the Pioneer Press points out, residents of a handful of other states have even worse premium increases to deal with. Minnesota’s 59 percent premium increases on its individual health insurance market have been shocking consumers and...

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More of the Same: “Nothing Spectacular” in State Jobs Report

The new state jobs report is out and not surprisingly, it's more of the same that Minnesotans have come to expect and accept. Last month Minnesota plodded along with an increase of some 1,900 jobs statewide. Yet even the status quo's biggest apologist--the Star Tribune--characterized the numbers as "a slight overall gain" that continues "slow, steady growth in the state job market." “Although it’s been nothing spectacular, I think it’s been notable that as long as it’s been going on, our growth rate has been very persistently solid, if not remarkable,” said Steve Hine, a labor market analyst for the state. "Nothing spectacular." "Not...

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Higher Property Taxes? Blame Hidden MNsure Costs

By now most Minnesotans realize the Affordable Care Act has drastically increased the cost of healthcare coverage for many, while at the same time decreasing coverage choices. Governor Mark Dayton has confirmed the worsening prognosis with his admission that "the reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable to increasing numbers of people." What’s not widely known is that taxpayers are also being gouged for millions of dollars a year on their property tax bills because of ongoing problems with MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange. This hidden cost is borne by counties to compensate for the inefficiencies and software failures...

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Cuban Cigars and Rum. What’s a Fan of the Constitution to do?

The Center’s Senior Fellow and Professor of Economics King Banaian gave me a heads up this morning on his weekly radio show: President Obama issued yet another executive order, this time allowing for the importation of the Cuban cigars, rum and pharmaceuticals, thereby once again by-passing our Congress and the long-held though not uncontroversial conclusion of our elected officials that the continued trade embargo is the better policy. I called in to the radio show this morning to pose the following ethical dilemma to King: Should conservatives buy Cuban cigars and rum? (I want to make damn sure I do...

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Minneapolis buys political cover to raise the minimum wage from the U of MN Humphrey School

It’s no secret the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs faculty tend to hold and promote liberal views.  That just goes with the territory in academia.  According to the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, liberals outnumber conservatives by about 5 to 1 among college and university professors. It’s one thing for a university’s faculty to tilt liberal.  It’s quite another for one of the country’s leading public research universities to be paid to produce advocacy materials for liberal causes. Unfortunately, it recently became clear that the Humphrey School is now in the advocacy business. As American Experiment's Tom Steward reported...

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