From Estonia: Cheap International Calls, Priceless Tweets

Estonia’s market economy resulted from eurozone membership, human capital and infrastructure development and fiscal discipline.

Have We Halved the Deficit?

In the State-of-the-Union, President Obama said, “Our deficits–cut by more than half.” Looking at the federal deficit as a percent of GDP, we can say that the deficit is much lower than 4 years ago. BUT… The deficit was an unusually…

Would Adam Smith Have Supported a Higher Minimum Wage?

Because it would be wonderful if we all knew Adam Smith, I was delighted that President Obama quoted him in a recent speech. However, Smith’s relevance to a minimum wage boost is a bit of a leap. Discussing economic mobility, the…

Creative Destruction: Chain Store Wars

Visiting an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Tuesday, President Obama was told by independent booksellers, “We are disheartened to see Amazon touted as a ‘jobs creator,’…when..the exact opposite is true.” Small retailers opposing large firms is nothing new.…

Tax Code Untouchables

Just eliminate deductions and exclusions to cure our budget problems. Yes? Not so easy. Here is a list of the 20 largest “Tax Expenditures” for 2012 from Credit Suisse. As you can see, each provision connects to an incentive that…

Making Presidential History

President Obama has been having dinner with historians. Described by the NY Times as a “largely left tilting group,” the names I consistently discovered that attended the dinners were: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Robert Dallek, Douglas Brinkley, H.…

Election Economics: Looking at the Millennials, Xers, Boomers, and Silents

Before tomorrow’s election, let’s take a look at the voting age gap. Absent since 1972, the young and the old again are voting differently.   The Silent Generation: The oldest slice of the population, the Silent Generation was born between 1928…

Big Macs and Currency Manipulators

In China, a Big Mac costs close to the equivalent of $2.44. That same burger in the US is $4.20. The basic idea is PPP, purchasing power parity. The dollar can buy more when the yuan is undervalued. And President…

Election Economics: Too Much or Not Enough Stimulus Spending?

For the first quarter of 2009, GDP declined at a 5.5% rate and, at 7.6% during January, unemployment was rising. With the economy in a tailspin, policy makers wanted to act quickly. Primarily split along party lines, the Congress responded with…

Big Bird’s Issues

All the talk about Big Bird and federal funding is really about 2 much bigger issues. 1. Discretionary Spending With proposed spending in the Obama 2013 budget at 3.7 trillion dollars, a tiny proportion–between 1 and 2 percent, goes to the…