The Tip of the Iceberg?

Growth or a safety net? Thinking at the margin, an increasing number of European policy makers are debating a change. The result is a classic economic dilemma. Unemployment and medical insurance, pensions, licensing protections, and job guarantees can each tug GDP…

A New Fed?

“Independent” is the first word that comes to mind when I think about the Federal Reserve. Overseeing the supply of money and credit, the Fed is supposed to be an independent Federal agency. I wonder how the following basics of…

Costly Behavior

Do you approve of Pigovian taxes?  These are taxes levied on seemingly undesirable behavior in order to compensate for their negative impact on society. soda tax: Among other municipalities, New York State and Philadelphia are proposing soda taxes. bag tax:…

Random Recession Notes

The impact of a recession might not be entirely what we expect. A recent study from the University of Ottawa suggests that we sleep more during a recession. Canadians slept two hours and 34 minutes more per week. Hypothesizing that…

Frugal Fatigue?

Some of us are suffering from frugal fatigue. According to a New York psychologist, symptoms could include anxiety, fear, depression, and even the common cold. The cause is stress from watchful, recessionary budgeting which for certain people is no longer…

Mandate Broccoli?

What if there was a miracle food that helped fight colds, prevent cancer, heart disease, and cataracts, and fostered healthy bones? According to several non-medical web sites, there is one. It’s broccoli. And what if another food promoted diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, dental cavities, kidney stones, high…

Roads to Prosperity

In Part 1 of the Teaching Company course, “America and the New Global Economy,” Professor Timothy Taylor discusses the origination of the euro. Four goals he says were sought: free movement of people, goods, services, and capital.  Central especially to…

Statistical Fun

Reading that China might be concerned with an annual 3.5 percent inflation rate, I wondered how that compared to other countries and the world.  At a Google site with World Bank data, not only did I get some answers, but I had some fun.  Graphically,…

Icemen and Pinsetters

In a wonderful story, NPR looked at “The Jobs of Yesteryear.”  Among those they discussed were pinsetters, elevator operators, icemen, and lamplighters. For each one, while technology made the occupation obsolete, the economy benefited with a higher GDP and a better standard of living. More specifically……

The Top 19

Are 19 banks “too big to fail?” Listening to Bloomberg radio, I heard that four banking firms control close to 50 percent of their industry’s assets, that the top 19 control 85 percent, and that the bottom 8000 control 15 per cent.  An…