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Today, I want to be…

Veronique de Rugy of the American Enterprise Institute. Why? I’ve long been a booster of small business creation and the need for government to improve the general business climate. The problem is the debate has morphed into a maniacal focus on access to capital. That is important, but the folks in the small business cheerleading squad, generally because they lack strong experience in business creation (otherwise they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing…), ignore the numbers. Along comes Veronique with a tremendous article in the Cato Institute’s magazine Regulation, which deconstructs the practices of the multi-billion dollar Small Business Administration. (The SBA provides government-sponsored loans and loan guarantees, as well as technical assistance and advocacy to and for small […]

School choice saves public education, in Edmonton and Boston

Edmonton, Alberta’s Angus McBeath is back in town this week, which is good news for the Commonwealth’s public school students – though it’s too bad they won’t get to see him. Pioneer is reintroducing Mr. McBeath to education policy leaders in Springfield and Holyoke, and at the Boston Foundation and BU, and his message deserves to be heard: Teaching is the most important paid work in society. – Angus McBeath, from 2005 Lovett C. Peters Lecture in Public Policy As the Superintendent of Edmonton’s public schools, Mr. McBeath presided over dramatic systemwide reforms. Each school’s performance was measured, and that data was made available to parents, who could then choose any school they wanted for their child. District funding followed children […]

Supply and Demand — Is it really a law or just an opinion?

The Commonwealth is funding an innovative program to replace our current strain of cranberries with higher producing vines. This makes perfect sense because just a few years ago, the Federal government had to bail out the industry to the tune of $50 million because of a glut of cranberries on the market. See, government interference in markets makes us more efficient.

No more fat to cut

Watching the Sox-Yankees game last night (the local feed on NESN, not the national feed on ESPN), taxpayers were treated to not one, not two, but three sets of advertisements from state agencies. The Commonwealth Connector (the universal health coverage people) had a series of ads. Makes some sense — they want to get the word out to folks, given the individual mandate. Then an ad for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. I always find these in-state ads odd — I’m already here, aren’t I? Finally, the billboard behind home plate kept showing ““, which I learn this morning is the website for the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. And that’s where I absolutely object. Why does a state economic […]

Go Newton Go

A year ago, Pioneer released a report that put the cost of local pension fund underperformance at $1.6 billion over the past 10 years. We recommended folding all underperforming funds into the state pension fund. Some people appeared to notice, the Governor has put forward a less muscular version of this reform in his Municipal Partnership Act. Now Newton is jumping on board, with plans to roll the assets of its pension fund into the state system. We estimate that Newton has left $20 million on the table, in underperformance, over the last ten years. In the Globe article on Newton’s move, there are two quotes from officials in other cities defending their current practices: “Recently they’ve done very well,” […]