When Is A “B” Bad?

A state would not call a “B” a good grade. The grade is a credit rating that relates to a loan. Triple-A usually means not to worry. On the other hand, a “B” says you might not get paid back.…

CPI Concerns

Should we care if China has a 5.1% annual inflation rate?  A little. The International Herald Tribune tells us that just 1/4 to 2/5 of the price we pay in the U.S. for an imported item reflects the cost of…

Greener Money

Hearing that Canada was switching to plastic money this year, I imagined…plastic. It turns out that plastic money looks and feels pretty much like the cotton-based paper currency we now use.  Why make the change? Money was one reason. Although…

More Than Just a House

The story of a small home in Los Angeles is about much more than one house. Told by Marketplace.org and KCET TV, the story of the house on Lot 354 explains the entire housing bubble and bust. Built in 1927,…

Raising the Ceiling

Calvin Coolidge once said, “Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.” The national debt did decrease when Coolidge was President. But then…

Passing the Euro Test

Having just entered the euro zone, the Estonian kroon will be replaced by 194 million euro coins and 45 million bank notes. The process will take 2 weeks as the new currency replaces the old. Here are some pictures of…

Austerity and Harry Truman

What are people saying about austerity, the 2010 word of the year? According to Dr. Econ at the San Francisco Federal Reserve, households are demonstrating austerity by saving more and borrowing less. On the one hand, living within our means…

A Price Story

Do you think that the BPP is more accurate than the CPI? Based at MIT, The Billion Prices Project (BPP) monitors close to 5 million items sold by approximately 300 retailers in 70 countries. Using the BPP, we can choose…

A Savings Lottery

Assume you have 3 extra dollars each day. Would you use it for a lottery ticket or a savings account? Most people would select the lottery ticket. Economists, though, hoping to elevate our nation’s savings rate, would like to encourage…

A Different Kind of Currency Crisis

Our story begins with the United States announcing that it would be issuing a state-of-the-art new $100 bill. Designed to thwart counterfeiters, the new bill has 3-D interactive features. Move the bill and certain shapes and colors shift. The bill,…