Where Do the Slimmest Americans Live?

Because obesity related diseases increase entitlement spending, should government use penalties rather than incentives to slim the US population?

Chart of the Week: The Rare Disease Spending Dilemma

Our Sunday Chart of the Week Since our chart looks at Medicaid spending on rare diseases, we better start with Medicaid. It is complicated. Yes, Medicaid targets the poor and has federal and state funding. However, varying from state to…

More Thanksgiving Economics

Our annual Thanksgiving post: In 1623, 2 years after the first Thanksgiving, Governor William Bradford was worried about Plymouth’s food supply. The problem, he concluded, was that people shared whatever they produced. Because they expected “able and fit” young men…

The Market System: Defaults and Decisions

Coffee: At Starbucks, I order a Grande West Java Black Eye Clover in a Vente cup. My drink requires 4 decisions. Software: Downloading software, don’t you just check the default package rather than selecting from a customized list of alternatives?…

Cost and Benefit: Calorie Counts

Soon everyone will know that a Starbucks venti Double Chocolaty Chip Frappucino Blended Creme has 670 calories (200 calories more than turkey on whole wheat with mustard). Announcing that all of its company owned stores would post calorie counts on…

Medicaid: What Will Happen in 2014?

I suspect that the more you study Medicaid the less you know. We better start with by saying Medicaid is not what most of us think it is. Yes, it involves medical care for the poor. But, federal law says…

How Has The Safety Net Affected the Unemployment Rate?

University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan believes that the US unemployment rate has remained high because of many separate public policy changes. Big and small, each one influenced workers, businesses and consumers by creating new incentives. For workers, Dr, Mulligan…

Fiscal Cliff Notes

There might be 2 ways to look at the fiscal cliff. Specifically, we can focus on tax increases and spending cuts: Tax Increases Bush era tax cuts: expire 2010-2011 2% payroll tax cut: expire Affordable Care Act taxes: kick in…

The Downside of Sitting

I’ve been thinking about the economic connection between sitting and butterflies. Our story starts with sitting studies. Pulling together the data from surveys covering 167,000 adults, researchers have concluded that you might live longer if you sit less. More specifically,…

Tomatoes, Health Care and Unintended Consequences

Trying to make pretty tomatoes, plant breeders inadvertently created a tasteless fruit. It all started 70 years ago with a gene mutation that evenly ripened tomatoes. Seeing the commercial potential of uniformly colored bright red tomatoes, growers bred the gene…