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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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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…

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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…

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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…

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

August 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Inequality grew from 2000 through 2011

More evidence of growing inequality among Americans comes today from the Census Bureau, which looked at five groups, each representing 20 percent of the population (quintiles) from 2000 through 2011. Overall, median net household worth declined by $5,046, or 6.8 percent. But inequality widened. The top two quintiles saw their worth increase. The lower three saw…

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Comments | More in Inequality | Topics: Household income

August 20, 2014 at 10:11 AM

State’s GDP growth slowed in late ’13

Washington ended 2013 with state gross domestic product valued at nearly $386 billion. However, inflation-adjusted GDP growth slowed in the fourth quarter to 1.8 percent, the national average. That put us at 38th in the nation for growth in the generally weak last quarter of the year. For the year, Washington’s output increased 2.7 percent compared…

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August 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The economics of Ferguson

While the world is watching Ferguson, Mo., it is useful to examine how this inner-ring suburb is emblematic of many unfortunate economic trends in America. In 2010, the town was more than 67 percent African-American, a demographic particularly hit hard not only by the Great Recession but by disruptions with a longer arc. The homeownership rate…

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Comments | More in Income/living standards, Inequality | Topics: Ferguson, Mo.

August 11, 2014 at 10:28 AM

A closer look at Washington exports

If you go to the federal government’s TradeStats Express site, it provides a wealth of data on state exports going back to 1999. It shows, for example, that Washington’s merchandise exports have increased 130 percent from 2003 through 2013. The drawback is that these are nominal dollars not adjusted for inflation. Chaining the numbers to…

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