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Crowdfunding for businesses has caught on from coast to coast. Most crowdfunding projects rely solely upon donations, and offer donors a small gift in return. Now a new type of crowdfunding has begun to emerge, one where the incentive for investors is business equity. After the JOBS Act passed, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) was put in charge of writing the rules to regulate the new bill. The regulations could affect the laws involving crowdfunding. The SEC's rules were expected to be finalized by the end of 2012, but are currently still being drafted. The stalled rulings have left business owners and investors alike anxiously awaiting the final results. We'll talk with a securities lawyer about the possible rules the SEC is considering, and how they could affect the future of crowdfunding and venture capitalism. We'll also hear from two business owners, Jennifer Ferguson and Scott Schroeder, about their widely varying experiences with crowdfunding.
Segmentarticle - Aug. 16, 2013
Lipstick sales have often been considered a gauge of the economy — the theory being that in tight times women will often buy themselves a new lipstick instead of a new outfit. Economist Alan Greenspan said he looked to men's underwear sales as a predictor for a recession or recovery. He believed that in a recession, men failed to replace their underwear. We featured unconventional economic indicators in a down economy. Now, as the economy begins to improve, we're looking into unusual signs of recovery. What are your economic indicators? Are you going to the spa again? Or eating out more often? Or are you still holding back on buying a new book in favor of visiting the library? Perhaps continuing to shop at Goodwill?
Segmentarticle - May 5, 2011
As the weather gets warmer and the rain (hopefully) lets up, Oregonians are doing more food shopping outdoors at their local farmers' markets. But how local is the food? Many farmers sell their own crops along with those grown by others. This practice is condoned by some markets, with some guidelines about clear labeling. The rules vary, but many markets require that a certain percentage of a vendor's wares be fruits and vegetables they grew themselves. Some go so far as to say that everything a seller brings must be homegrown. One farmer we spoke with said he's disappointed that many of his fellow merchants don't follow the rules when it comes to selling food they haven't grown. He's gone so far as to stop selling wholesale altogether in order to keep from competing with his own harvest at the market. Another concern to many vendors is the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is working its way through Congress. (We talked about this last December, when there were still many specifics to be worked out.)
Segmentarticle - June 7, 2010
A recent article in Oregon Business made waves in this state and around the country — and grabbed our attention as we were preparing for a trip to southern Oregon. The article looked at the economic effect of marijuana, tracing it from glassblowers to fertilizer makers to medical-marijuana-card recommenders. It painted a picture of an above-ground economic engine that has sprouted from (but not replaced) an underground trade. At the same time, both law enforcement and pro-pot activists have complaints about the gray areas in Oregon's current system. In fact, pot has been all over the news in the last few months. NPR explored many financial and legal questions in their multi-part series "The New Marijuana." Initiative efforts throughout the country aim to liberalize marijuana laws. And in Oregon, backers of Initiative 28 hope to put a measure before voters in November that would bring marijuana dispensaries to the state.
Segmentarticle - June 23, 2010
According to the latest numbers, Portland is no longer one of the tightest rental markets in the country. But with a 5.2 percent vacancy rate, it it can still be tough to find an affordable apartment or home for rent in Oregon's most populous city. The statewide rate — 6.1 percent — remains among the nation's lowest. The national average is 8.7 percent and only nine states reported lower vacancy rates than Oregon's in the fourth quarter of 2012. While a limited rental market can create opportunities for property owners, rising rental costs put a strain on renters, particularly if they are low-income.
Segmentarticle - Jan. 30, 2013
On February 12th an off-duty sergeant walked into the M & M Lounge and Restaurant in Gresham and shot and killed his wife, two of her friends, and, ultimately, himself. To my count this was the eighth murder-suicide in Oregon and Southwest Washington since November. At the same time the headlines are filled with other stories detailing domestic abuse. Oregon football player LaMichael James was arrested for grabbing his girlfriend around her neck and throwing her to the ground in a parking lot. An Oregon assistant attorney general, Susan Gerber, was accused of punching and strangling her longtime partner. And Milwaukie detective Thomas Garrett was accused of assault in the presence of children. Why are there so many cases of domestic violence in the news right now? Is it, in part, because of the economy? What is driving people to hurt others in this way? Local experts stress that more people do not abuse because of a bad economy. But they do admit that people who do abuse, or who have abusive tendencies, might be more inclined to violence when they lose their job or their money gets tight. Limited financial resources can also hinder people from leaving abusive situations. Abuse, therefore, can become more lethal when times are tough. Do you see that correlation? What's your response to the many stories of domestic violence in the news? How does the recession affect the way you, or your family members or friends, act? Are you a person who has suffered from abuse? Or who has a history of abusing? How have you seen the economy affect your actions?
Segmentarticle - March 2, 2010
According to the New York Times, polls show that the economy is now Americans' top concern. Not so coincidentally, the White House and the House of Representatives agreed on an economic stimulus package last Thursday that would send checks of up to $600 to individuals who earned less than $75,000 last year. The last time the government issued tax rebates like this was June 2001, when people received up to $300. Before that, you have to go back to 1975 to find a similar rebate.
Segmentarticle - Jan. 29, 2008
Segmentarticle - March 13, 2014
President Obama will hold a press conference today at noon. Topics will include Russian relations, Edward Snowden and the state of the economy. We'll have reactions to the speech with our News Roundtable immediately following the press conference.
Segmentarticle - Aug. 9, 2013
Over the last few months, Think Out Loud has traveled around Oregon to explore the broad question of what makes rural economies thrive. From the high mountains of eastern Oregon to the central Oregon coast, we met fascinating people in old and new industries — all trying to make the best living they can in relatively small and sometimes isolated communities. In this show, we'll bring you the highlights and some favorite moments, but you can hear the entire series — plus stories from OPB news on the same subject — here.
Segmentarticle - Sept. 6, 2010
What are the lessons of central Oregon's boom and bust, and what are the right engines for its future success?
Segmentarticle - Oct. 8, 2008
How are prisons affecting your local economy?
Segmentarticle - March 10, 2008
Segmentarticle - Nov. 26, 2008
Segmentarticle - Dec. 16, 2013
Segmentarticle - Oct. 17, 2013
Segmentarticle - Nov. 12, 2008
On Wednesday afternoon Dave Miller spoke with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at the Portland City Club. Geithner looked back at the financial crisis and some of the unpopular measures the Obama administration took to respond. He also talked about the current threats to the economy, including the national debt, tensions with Iran and the instability of European financial markets. On Thursday morning, we'll rebroadcast their conversation, get reactions from our guests and take your calls. Here's a few photos from the live conversation with Dave and Timothy Geithner:
Segmentarticle - April 26, 2012
Ranching has been a way of life in many parts of Oregon for generations. In the next part of our Rural Economy Project we'll travel to eastern Oregon to explore the realities of ranching there — an area where some ranch land has been passed down through families for generations. Success in ranching, like farming, depends a lot on weather conditions and market demands. Many ranchers will tell you that the price of production has risen as ranching equipment has gotten more advanced. Yet, the price of beef has not kept pace with those costs. As ranching operations have become leaner, many ranchers have taken second jobs off the ranch to make ends meet. Some have held onto their acreage but let go of employees. Others have even had to sell their land and quit ranching altogether.
Segmentarticle - July 22, 2010
Washington state released their latest unemployment figures today. Oregon is expected to follow later this week and Oregon's news — much like Washington's — is not expected to be good. More and more people are losing their jobs as the economy continues to slide. What about people who are not being laid off, but whose employers are starting to feel the pinch? Some companies are cutting salaries by five or ten percent. (That may not sound like much, but if you're living paycheck to paycheck it may mean a present-less birthday party for your daughter or a missed mortgage payment.) Other companies are lapsing on their employees' medical insurance payments. How are you being chipped away at in this economy? How are those small changes changing your life?
Segmentarticle - Feb. 25, 2009
Presdient Obama delivers his third State of the Union address Tuesday night. In expectation of the speech the White House released a video preview and some excerpts of the speech. In them he said: As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place. No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. The economy has remained one of the most important issues to voters throughout Obama's term, and it will undoubtedly play a major role in the elections this year. House Speaker John Boehner anticipated the speech by posting his own video (as a mock-trailer) criticizing the President's economic record. Boehner's video knocked the President and Congressional Democrats for "More spending, higher taxes, and fewer jobs."
Segmentarticle - Jan. 25, 2012
In Newport, business and community leaders are working on attracting new residents and what they're calling "lifestyle entrepreneurs." They want to brand the coast as a place to live, work, and play to slowly convert tourists to residents — residents who will bring their businesses (and their money) with them. But what impact will this actually have? Can the slow movement of one entrepreneur after another make a real difference to the local economy? Many people say yes, but Tim Duy, an economist at the Univesity of Oregon disagrees. We'll get into this debate tonight at a local watering hole in Newport's trendy (and growing) Nye Beach. If you're in the neighborhood we welcome you to join us at Cafe Mundo. The reception begins at 6 pm and the show starts at 7 pm sharp. And in case you're far from Newport, we hope we'll have a chance to meet up with you in the future. This program is the first of several we'll be doing in the coming months to explore how rural communities are coping with the recession. We'll be travelling to Southern and Eastern Oregon in the coming months. The Rural Economy Project is a partnership between OPB and the Rural Development Initiative, Sustainable Northwest, and The Oregon Consortium & Oregon Workforce Alliance. But for today's show: have you recently moved to the Oregon coast? What do you do for a living? If you're a long-time resident, what kinds of new businesses and people would you like to welcome? What do you think of the branding of the coast?
Segmentarticle - April 20, 2010
When people in struggling industries like manufacturing and wood products jobs are laid off, they're often eligible for job retraining. (They become, in federal parlance, "dislocated workers.") The idea is to help workers transition from struggling industries into growth industries — like green jobs and health care. But there are plenty of questions about whether jobs actually follow the retraining and about how well-calibrated job training and demand actually are. Some people have also questioned whether retraining programs focus too much on short-term employment and not enough on long-terms careers.
Segmentarticle - June 11, 2010
It's no secret that California is having some serious financial problems. Last week, the state started issuing IOUs (aka registered warrents) in lieu of tax returns to individuals and checks to companies contracted with state agencies. A handful of those companies are based in the Pacific Northwest. The global recession hasn't been kind to Californians who migrated to Oregon during the boom years, either. A recent editorial cautions Oregonians who may be feeling smug about our local economy in light of California's crisis, arguing that the Oregon tax structure could put us in a similar predicament in the not-so-distant future.
Segmentarticle - July 9, 2009
Personal savings rates are on the rise. At 6.9% they're the highest in 15 years — and far above the negative rates of only a few months ago. It may be good for people's pocketboooks, but can the economy rebound if we keep saving instead of spending? Some economists say saving could be bad for the economy overall, though it might seem like a good idea for individual and household budgets. While Portland didn't make the Forbes list of America's thriftiest cities, at least one regional bank says they've seen an uptick in savings that lines up with national statistics. People have approached saving money differently depending on their generation, and it remains to be seen how the current recession will affect the nest eggs of the future.
Segmentarticle - July 15, 2009
President Obama delivered an anticipated climate change speech today where he outlined tough new policies to reduce carbon emissions. Points of the plan distributed in advance of the speech. The administration will: Direct the EPA to establish carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants Make up to eight billion in loans available for investing in innovative technology Permit more renewable energy projects on public land Strengthen fuel economy standards
Segmentarticle - June 25, 2013