Making crime pay.1:02 PM, Feb 2, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
There’s no doubt that convicted felons often face a difficult time reentering society after leaving prison. One particular difficulty is finding gainful employment. But while the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not break down employment stats for felons, in 2011, the New York Times reported –- alarmingly -– that “various studies have found unemployment rates of 50 percent or higher for former prisoners nine months or a year after their release.” Perhaps needless to say, this is not helpful in reducing recidivism.
There are numerous approaches to dealing with this problem. Perhaps states should invest in more job training programs in prison, so that criminals can gain useful skills while they’re behind bars. Some states have re-entry programs – perhaps these should be expanded. On the more extreme end, several states and cities have “banned the box” – that is, barred employers from asking applicants whether they have a criminal record.
What would seem to take the laudable goal of landing felons a job rather too far is the practice of literally paying employers to hire criminals. Leave it to Portland, Oregon (and the federal government), to do just that.
In his “State of the City” address late last week, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales announced a new city-funded $5,000 “tax credit” (i.e. a subsidy) for each felon hired by local businesses. This would be larded on top of a smaller (maximum $2,400) federal tax credit that business that hire felons have long been eligible for.
Mayor Hales’s initiative would take the perverse effects of affirmative action to new extremes. Why should taxpayers pay a business to hire a felon – but not, say, a single mother, or a person who has been unemployed for at least six months, or, indeed, a crime victim? More broadly, what is the moral basis for tilting the playing field in favor of those who have transgressed against their fellow citizens over those who haven’t? Surely there are better, fairer ways to help felons than to encourage, through financial incentives, discrimination against the law-abiding.
And by the way, given that there’s a decent chance that Mayor Hales will be applying for new jobs after the next election, he may want to reconsider the wisdom of his plan. Unless he has a felony conviction we don't know about.
After an audit finds Portland inflated its streetcar stats, a legendary loudmouth suddenly clams up.1:33 PM, Dec 16, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland, Oregon, city commissioner Steve Novick is nothing if not verbose.
Feb 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 22 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
While in the popular Portlandia-inspired imagination, Portland, Oregon, may be nothing but an endless array of organic food shops, “fair-trade” coffee roasters, and “subaltern”-themed, not-for-profit bookstores, Portland is still a midsized American city with the typical problems that midsized cities tend to face. Swaths of northeast Portland, for example, where the lion’s share of Portland’s black population lives, have for decades been beset by high crime, joblessness, and out-and-out blight.
Is Jeff Cogen Portland's Weiner or Portland's Ford?1:59 PM, Nov 11, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
It’s a pity that there’s no Portland, Oregon, edition of the New York Post. After all, one can only dream of the headlines the wags at the Post would come up with to describe the ongoing travails of (now former) Multnomah County (home of Portland) Commissioner Jeff Cogen.
Steve Novick strikes again.4:03 PM, Oct 22, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland city commissioner (as city councilmen are called in that Oregon city) Steve Novick has never been one to respect the limits of his office - or recognize that it has any limits at all.
'Portland's Weiner' resigns.3:49 PM, Sep 6, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Could we be witnessing a revival of moral standards in our politics?
Sep 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 01 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
It's not often that The Scrapbook finds itself defending “graffiti artists.” But when they find themselves on the barrel end of silly and borderline extortionate government regulations, we can’t help but feel solidarity.
1:10 PM, Aug 9, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland city commissioner (as city councilmen are known in the Oregon city) Steve Novick may have been elected only last year, but he’s wasted no time in using his public office to indulge his personal crotchets.
Details of county chief’s sordid affair with subordinate emerge.10:08 AM, Jul 25, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Portland is nothing if not tolerant. The picturesque city in the Pacific Northwest has, in recent years, endured one mayor who admitted to a gay affair with an underage intern, a different mayor who claimed residency in Washington state (where there is no income tax) yet voted in Oregon, not to mention downtown streets choked with aggressive transients. (Oh, and the weather's not great either.) But a new scandal must be trying the patience of even the most forgiving denizens of Portlandia.
A Portland, Oregon, city employee is charged with financing terrorism.10:39 AM, Mar 7, 2013 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
It’s good to be a government worker in Portland, Oregon. And not just because of the subsidized sex changes. It seems that city workers’ salaries are also ample enough to support a family and . . . finance a little terrorism on the side.
11:02 AM, May 16, 2012 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
A host of liars, miscreants, and extreme leftists – and those were just the serious candidates! – squared off yesterday in the Portland, Oregon, mayoral election. In total, 23 candidates were on the ballot to see who would run the so-called “Rose City” (or, more appropriately, “Insufferable Portland”).
Oregon city stopping citizens from saving money in tough times.3:40 PM, Apr 26, 2012 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
As Ronald Reagan famously quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I'm here to help.’” Portland, Oregon, though, really is here to help. The problem is that the city hasn’t created laws to benefit Portlanders—it’s created them to benefit one specific industry, at the expense of every consumer in the area.
11:30 AM, Feb 28, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
In this week's issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD I have a long feature on how America's hipster theme park Portland, Oregon, destroyed its infrastructure and jobs base in order to indulge a bizarre obsession with public transportation and other cultural fetishes. Among other things, I noted that the city isn't budgeting for "major road paving" for the next five years.
Oregon’s capital of cool and the downside of hipness.Mar 5, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 24 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
I keep expecting America’s trendsetters to get over Portland, Oregon, but the odes to the City of Roses just keep on coming. The Portland tourism board could compile an impressive anthology of the New York Times’s recent coverage of the city, most of which couldn’t be more fawning if it were bylined by Bambi.
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