Keynesian economics made America the greatest power the world had ever seen. That was the conventional wisdom about 50 years ago. At that time, most students — this writer included — tended to accept the prevailing theories of every field of study. Keynes was right about anything dealing with economics; Freud was right about psychology, and so on.
Another month, another set of upbeat numbers. We could call the building permit report negative. The total dollar amount is only about 30 percent of the first four months of last year, and there is not one category that is better than last year.
This job should be easy. With an economy like the one we have in Grand Forks, the Red River Valley (including Minnesota) and all of North Dakota, it is as good as it gets. Of course, that’s the problem. I mean, what is there to say month after month? Power up Word and write, “Well, the economy continues to grow. There are no signs of trouble” again this month. Then what? I am supposed to write a column. How do I fill the rest of this space?
As someone who always has believed property taxes were the least fair of all taxes, and as someone who agrees with most of the stated problems and wrongs of property taxes, I am sorry to say I am going to vote no on Measure 2. Why will I vote this way? One reason: While those writing the initiated measure did eliminate the problems concerning property taxation, they replaced them with problems of state appropriations.
About 20 years ago, co-ops were all the rage in the upper Midwest. Led by American Crystal Sugar and Dakota Growers in Carrington, N.D., farmer-owned and value-added businesses were going to make us all rich. As for American Crystal, today it is the most successful agricultural investment in the region. But there are problems, some of which were created by poor management decisions.
Today, I fear this sense of community has disappeared from much of America. But one of the few places where it has continued is in rural areas, and that means North Dakota. Now, I fear the North Dakota Legislature is about to take on giant step toward destroying that community. It will save taxpayers a few pennies, maybe the cost of a Big Mac a year or so.
Globalization. That’s the way they describe it now. When the trend first started, it was called free trade. We were told — and most of us believed — that if only we would let production take place in countries with the greatest “comparative advantage,” we would all be better off. It’s not my intention to discuss the American Crystal situation again, except to say that as it relates to free trade and globalization, the federal sugar program’s survival even in the near future is questionable.
Last month, I wrote how this job could become boring. All that this town, this area, this state were doing was growing. Some places grew fast, some grew slow, but every place was growing to some degree. How could I find any excitement in this?
Herald columnist Ralph Kingsbury’s column concluded that American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative, had no choice but of offer a union contract that threatened job loss (“Nothing — not even sugar — stays the same forever,” Page B1, Aug. 20).
I may be the one with an economics background, but Herald publisher Mike Jacobs is the wordsmith. Jacobs has written several times that he thought majoring in philosophy gave him a broader understanding of life and made him a better writer than if he had majored in journalism.
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