Austin and Oakland: A Tale of 2 Cities

Sort of, we can “celebrate” a birthday. 5 years ago, the Great Recession began. And that takes us to Texas where they can celebrate. Among the large metropolitan areas in the US, Austin (#1), Houston (#2), San Antonio (#4) and…

A Path for Driverless Cars

A self-driving car could be a pleasure… The day would begin with a pick-up that you scheduled through your phone app. When your self-driving car arrived at your front door, you would get in, check today’s drive time and start to…

California Consumers and Gas Prices

How might California be responding to $5.00 gas? Let’s start with bread machines. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains that when one of the first sellers of bread machines placed it on the shelf, few people were interested because they could…

Higher Prices at the Gas Pump

Sometimes 25 cents at the gas pump can make a huge difference. Economist James Hamilton explains why with his “rough rule-of thumb” correlation between the price of crude and gas at the pump. When crude increases by $10 a barrel,…

More Soda Wars

If you lived in Richmond, California, would you vote yes or no for their proposed soda tax? The tax is unusual because it does not charge people at the register. Instead, retailers would have to pay a license fee that…

High and Low Gas Prices

Why is the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Wyoming close to $3.36 and New York, $4.00? Location and regulation. Wyoming produces oil, it refines it, and, its taxes are among the lowest in the country. Also…

California and Kentucky

Could we compare California’s relationship with Kentucky to Germany and Greece? Somewhat like Germany and Greece… California and Kentucky share the same currency. California has a more vibrant economy than Kentucky’s. Workers in California earn more than workers in Kentucky.…

California and Greece

It is good to pay fire fighters and police officers generously. It is good not to raise taxes. It is good to give voters what they want and get re-elected. As Michael Lewis describes in Vanity Fair, San Jose, California…

Amazon vs. California

According to the Seattle Times, in 1996, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos said, “You have to charge sales tax to customers who live in any state where you have a business presence. It made no sense for us to be in…

A Budget Question

Thought to have saved many lives, a Japanese early warning system sent a media alert seconds before the earthquake struck.  The system took 12 years to implement and cost close to $500 million. A similar warning system for the U.S.…