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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

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September 12, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Vote: Are sanctions on Russia wise?

Without being a Putin apologist, there are other lenses through which to see Moscow’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine and even break off eastern provinces as “New Russia” than raw Russian aggression. But the United States and, more reluctantly, the EU have been steadily imposing more sanctions in retaliation. I suspect this only boosts Tsar Vald’s popularity…


Comments | More in Russia trade | Topics: Russian sanctions

September 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Nevada’s impossible Tesla gamble

I have hesitated to comment on Nevada beating out several states to win a coveted battery factory for electric automaker Tesla. After all, with Washington giving Boeing nearly $9 billion in tax breaks for the 777X, it might seem like a “pot, meet kettle” situation. But there are important differences. While distasteful and bowing to corporate…


Comments | More in Economic development | Topics: Boeing, Nevada, Tesla Factory

September 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Low income ask, ‘What recovery?’

A report from the Federal Reserve found that last year 60 percent of Americans described their situation as “doing OK” (37 percent) or “living comfortably” (23 percent). That in itself makes for a highly conditional recovery. But lower-income Americans are especially continuing to suffer from the Great Recession and the economic toxins that preceded…


Comments | More in Income/living standards

September 3, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Seattle exports hit record high

Merchandise exports from the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area rose 13 percent last year to record $56.7 billion, according to new data from the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. That ranked the area No. 4 nationally behind Houston, New York and Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, Houston’s big showing was heavily powered by oil…


Comments | More in Trade | Topics: Washington exports

August 28, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Burger King to America: Drop dead

As you know, Burger King will move its headquarters to Canada with its purchase of Tim Hortons, thus evading America’s supposedly onerous corporate tax rates. The talking point here is that the effective federal, state and local tax rate in the United States is 40 percent, highest in the OECD, vs. Canada’s 26 percent. A few…


Comments | More in Tax policy | Topics: Burger King, Tax avoidance

August 27, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Weyerhaeuser rides the waves

In the early 1970s, when Weyerhaeuser was one of America’s mightiest corporations, it could have built a landmark downtown skyscraper in its hometown of Tacoma. But downtowns were on the outs. Gasoline was cheap. Traffic was relatively light. Outlying land was inexpensive. The externalities — hidden costs — of sprawl were not even considered. So…


Comments | More in | Topics: Downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square

August 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Yes, we’re still shipping logs

Logging is the most legacy of the Pacific Northwest’s legacy industries, but it’s still here, especially thanks to the appetite from Asia. According to a recent report by the North American Wood Fiber Review, North American log exports in the first quarter were 14 percent higher than the same period in 2013. The U.S. Northwest…


Comments | More in Pacific Northwest economy | Topics: logging, Plum Creek Timber, Weyerhaeuser

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