Do You Agree With French Taxes?

Talking about taxes, economists like to quote Louis XIV’s finance minister: “The art of taxation consists of so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.” We have been hearing…

Are You a Follower?

This sign in Arizona’s Petrified Forest was having little impact: “Your heritage is being vandalized every day by theft losses of petrified wood of 14 tons a year, mostly a small piece at a time.” However, after some sign experimentation,…

Sweden, Ikea and Taxes

Our story starts when Ikea’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, left Sweden during the 1970s. It ends with Sweden’s current finance minister saying that taxes were the reason. Associated with a more humane form of capitalism, Sweden was the prototype for the…

Free or Fair Government?

I live in a town where I have to pay for garbage pick-up and recycling or I can dispose of it myself. The fire department is voluntary. Because there is no local high school, the town pays other school districts…

Top Earners

A quiz: Looking at the top 1% of earners, how many are in financial services? Close to 75%, 50%, 25% or 10%? The answer: 10% (or precisely 13.9%) Next… How much does the top 1% earn? The 1% threshold is…

Baseball Salaries and Taxes

There is a connection between baseball and President Obama’s budget proposals. Let’s start with USA Today’s baseball salary database. For 2011, at $32 million, NY Yankees’ 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez earns the most; #2 is LA Angels’ outfielder Vernon Wells…

State Dilemmas

Do higher taxes make you want to move? Hearing that taxes were going up in Illinois, the governor of Wisconsin said, “Escape to Wisconsin.” According to census figures, people do seem to be moving to no income tax states. One…

Innovation and Regulation

Is more innovation the opportunity cost of more regulation? If so, which do you prefer? To see one person’s opinion, I recommend a recent Washington Post op-ed, “Strangling innovation and job creation with red tape.” The Washington Post article took…

Dietary Incentives

Which would you choose? 2000 calories from 10 donuts that would cost you $5? or… 2000 calories from Greek yogurt, organic raspberries, a turkey avocado wrap, Alaskan King Salmon, green beans, a whole wheat roll, strawberries and heavy cream for…

Inequality and Movie Stars

Did you know that Academy Award winners live longer than losers? Much more than a trivia fact, Academy Award winner longevity provided researchers with data about inequality. As reported in the May 15, 2001 issue of The Annals of Internal…