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Conservative economist Milton Friedman called it "the least bad tax." Liberal professor John Kenneth Galbraith said the tax "can also play an important role in the redress of these problems," which include "declining housing affordability, growing economic inequality and environmental decay." For that matter, Adam Smith -- the founder of modern capitalism -- was a fan, as were Winston Churchill, John Stuart Mill and David Lloyd George. What is this tax that has had such a diverse and interesting lineup of supporters over the past 200 years? The answer is the land tax, a tax imposed on the
Once might just be an accident. Twice could be a coincidence. But now that trains carrying North Dakota crude oil have exploded in flames three times in less then six months, the catastrophes are becoming a pattern -- and it's time, probably past time, for officials and industry to act. Any actions risk slowing down some of the economic activity that the Bakken boom has brought to North Dakota. But failing to act has risks as well -- namely, the risk that the pattern of derailments and fireballs could continue.
Here's a prediction about Red River Valley life that seems sure to come true in 2014 and for many years to come: Local leaders and governments will be continue to be influenced by the valley's status as a borderland between "red" and "blue." "Political polarization has ushered in a new era in state government, where single-party control of the levers of power has produced competing Americas," a fascinating story in the Washington Post reported last week. "One is grounded in principles of lean and limited government and on traditional values; the other is built on a belief in the essential r
"This could be our Bakken." Grand Forks reached a historic turning point Monday.
Forty million stolen card numbers here and 45 million stolen card numbers there, and pretty soon you're talking about a real problem. Bank robberies used to be the financial crime that most often made headlines. But since the 1930s, most bank customers themselves have been protected (thanks to deposit insurance), so they weren't personally affected by the news. That was then. This is now: The recent revelations of a data breach at Target Corp.
Have you noticed? The word "Williston" in the Herald no longer carries the identifier, "N.D." For decades, the Herald's list of "stand-alone cities" -- that is, cities which we assume Herald readers know are in North Dakota -- was only five cities long. So, Bismarck, Devils Lake, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot could "stand alone," and didn't need the tag "N.D." on first reference. Every other North Dakota community including Williston and West Fargo did.
In 2014, North Dakotans should keep an eye on one of America's most intriguing trends. And they can do so just by looking across the border at Minnesota. Because starting Jan. 1, Minnesota will join a handful of other states and about 50 cities in enforcing "Ban the Box" legislation, which prohibits many employers from asking on a job application about an applicant's criminal history. As the law's supporters are quick to note, the new rule doesn't forbid any such inquiries completely.
Some call it the "environmental Kuznets curve." Some call it the "richer-is-greener curve." But whatever the terminology, the effect seems to be at work in North Dakota and is likely to shape policy for many years to come. Credit Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for understanding the curve and helping to bend its arc. The "richer-is-greener curve" graphically portrays the way rich countries (and places) tend to be cleaner and less polluted than poor countries (and places) are. Do you know the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the famous stainless-steel icon of the city?
There are good arguments on both sides of the Marketplace Fairness Act. But one key point tips the scale in the act's favor: The Marketplace Fairness Act is a means to collect a tax that's already owed. It's not a new tax, in other words. Nor is it a tax on businesses, contrary to some critics' claims. Nor does it have anything to do with "unfairly" forcing faraway businesses to pay for services in a customer's home state -- because those businesses aren't the entities being taxed. Instead, the customer is the entity who's being taxed.
The Affordable Care Act isn't the only newly enacted federal law that's not working out as planned. The Biggert-Waters Act is another. Haven't heard of it? Well, that's likely to change, especially if you live Grand Forks, Fargo or elsewhere in the Red River Valley. Because the Biggert-Waters Act is a wholesale reform of the national flood insurance program.