Schools Cut Back Subjects to Push Reading and Math

I read an interesting article about schools having to cut back on other subjects to push reading and math. Apparently the new “No Child Left Behind” act, is forcing schools to narrow their base of courses taught in order to avoid being punished for falling below the rising benchmarks of annual testing for the act. It seems kind of crazy to me. I would think we would have smarter people who were exposed to music, art, and history as well as reading and math. What are your thoughts?

Remittances to Mexico Exceed $20 Billion

I found an interesting article relating to immigration. The author states, “In 2005, Mexicans in the United States remitted some $20 billion home. That's 3% of Mexico's entire national income.” The article says that remittances have surpassed that of oil and tourism for Mexico. The author also says that President Bush should not concede to Vicente Fox’s pressures of keeping the flood gates open. Rather Mexico should work on fixing itself and not relying on the US. What are all your thoughts?

AACSB Accreditation

I know I am beating a dead horse, but here is another post concerning this topic of AACSB Accreditation. I am looking at the value of the accreditation. I like to look at the value based on different perspectives.

First, consider being Harvard University versus the University of Phoenix. As you may know, Harvard is AACSB accredited and the University of Phoenix is not. Take the perspective of each school and see how you would view AACSB accreditation.

Next, consider being a business professor versus a business owner. In most cases, the professor understands what accreditation is and the business owner has no idea what it is. Take the perspective of each individual and see how you would view the AACSB accreditation.

P.S. Way to go SUU!

Any comments?

CBS's Slam Dunk on the Web

This year is the first year that CBS offered a free webcast of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Last year they charged $20 for the webcast, but this year it was absolutely free. Over 200,000 people watched the webcast, which was twice what CBS expected. People seemed to enjoy the site, and the ability to rewind parts that they want. Advertisers seemed to appreciate the unexpected demand as well. A representative from Pontiac claims that the webcast, along with TV and other advertisement, contributed to a 10-15% increase in visits to their new site. Other advertisers haven't released a number on how they were affected, but believe that the increase helped them as well. CBS stated that they will work to improve the webcast and offer a whole line of sports events free to the public.

Buyer (And Seller) Beware

This article presents potential problems in today's real estate market. The rise in home values and the fear of increasing interest rates pose problems for anyone involved in real estate. Southern Utah has been experiencing a boom in the market far more than the nation-wide average of 10%. This type of excitement brings in investors looking to make a quick buck. One of the problems that this article points out is that these investors tend to over-price their home. If the market value starts dropping, they slowly will decrease their asking price but will usually still be just over market value. They then get scared that they will lose their investment and dump it.

Buyers need to watch out as well. Take Cedar City for example. The average wage in Cedar City is not nearly enough to be able to afford a home. Renting is still cheap compared to what a mortgage payment would be. Buyers tend to overlook this because of the prestige of owning their own home. If the market drops when it comes time to sell, most will end up losing money. This is a good article to read if you are even remotely involved in the real estate market.

Bush's Temporary Worker Plan

As many of us are aware, illegal immigration is becoming an issue of greater concern daily. The effect that such illegal immigration has on our country’s economy is very powerful. President Bush has proposed a "Temporary Worker" plan which will enable illegal immigrants a chance to legally obtain work in the United States for three years. Afterwards, the workers would have a chance to renew their permits. Although Bush's plan is not without its flaws, I believe it is a step in the right direction. I feel that some type of action needs to be taken in order to change the current situation which is only worsening. After the initial action is taken we can then make the necessary adjustments to correct the flaws. To reject Bush's plan or some version of it and expect that the current situation is going to improve without any action being taken would be pretty stupid of us. The bottom line is that if something is not done soon, illegal immigration will continue to weaken our boarders, thus increasing chances for terrorist acts and will further the strain which it already places on Medicaid.

Yes...'Illegal' Immigrants are Illegal

I saw this post on the Cafe Hayek blog called Are 'Illegal' Immigrants Illegal?. The writer of the post argues that they are not illegal. He goes off on how laws are not really laws unless they are enforced. This is a direct quote from the post, "Someone in America peacefully going about his or her business is not illegal, regardless of whether or not this person has Uncle Sam's permission to be here". This logic can lead us down some pretty scary paths. There are all kinds of arguments we could get into about what this writer has said. In fact, he went into some arguments himself that really did not seem to make sense as the post's title promised to be about immigration. However, I would rather focus on the facts, not on theoretical arguments.

I lived in an area where there were many illegal immigrants...and yes, that means it was not legal for them to be there. These people that "immigrate" into America illegally really have no regard for the law. In fact, they just continue to break the law. On one hand, they knowingly break the law. This is evident by those that falsify their identity and/or their citizenship status. On another hand, many of them do not even know the law. This is painfully evident when they don't follow traffic and pedestrian laws. We don't need to go into what becomes of a society that disregards the law. But if you want a good idea of the result, be my guest and visit any area that is densely populated with illegal immigrants.

Now, I would guess that this writer does not live in an area like the one I described. If he did, I doubt he would write such posts. I have found that it is easy for people who do not have to directly deal with the consequences of illegal immigration to treat it lightly. The problem is that all of us have to deal with the consequences of this issue directly or indirectly. For example, when the illegals come, they often receive government benefits. They don't pay any taxes, but get the benefits of taxes collected from legal citizens. This is a serious issue; not one to be argued in some abstract manner. I do not claim to have the answers to solve this problem, but I think I have a grip on the reality of this issue.

Do not mistake this post to be about a certain race or even about immigrants in general. It is about "illegal" immigrants. These are totally different issues. While living in that area with a lot of illegal immigrants (mentioned above), I also had an "immigrant" neighbor who was in the United States legally. Guess what? He did not stand on the street corner waiting for work. Instead, he owned his own business as well as his own home. He and his family had respect for the laws and the community. This person was also a great neighbor and good friend. What a stark contrast he is from those that immigrate illegally.

GM/Delphi Strike Good For Economy?

GM could be forced to shut its doors at a cost of 1 billion per week if Delphi’s union contract cancellation request is denied. The United Auto Workers Union has said it would be "impossible to avoid a long strike" and that there is no reason to continue talks at this point.

It would seem the union has the upper hand. However, GM and Delphi are sending the signal back that if the union strikes there may not be any jobs to go back to after the strike.

The union is the real loser here. Either way they lose. If they go on strike GM and Delphi will have to file for bankruptcy and shut the doors and their contracts are void. If they offer concessions they still lose because jobs and wages will be cut and they give up power.

GM can win either way. Although chapter 11 maybe bad for publicity it maybe a chance to void union contracts and cut excess fat. If the union offers concessions they still win because GM can still cut and trim costs.

Either way the US economy in the long run will benefit. GM has been run like a government pork project since the 50’s. It’s time they get competitive in the global economy. However, in the short run this shake up will sting.

Schools Cut Back Subjects to Push Reading and Math

I read an interesting article today in the New York Times regarding the impacts on school children due to Bush's signature new law, No Child Left Behind. Federal law requires annual testing on only two subjects, reading and math. It's no surprise then that teachers are only pushing these two subjects. It is sad to think that when my children are school-age, the well-rounded curriculum that they will have the opportunity to choose from will be whatever they would like, as long as it eats, sleeps, and breathes reading and math.

AACSB Accreditation at SUU

Warning...long but interesting post ahead!

I too wanted to put in a few words about the soon-to-be-official AACSB accreditation at SUU mentioned on Dr. Tufte's other blog site. I have to admit that I when I first looked at MBA programs, AACSB accreditation was ranked very high in my search criteria. This is probably due to the fact that I came from an undergraduate business program that was AACSB accredited.

Without knowing that SUU was even in the accreditation process, I decided that AACSB accreditation was not everything. I was able to do this only after I stepped back and analyzed the true value of the AACSB accreditation. When I took an objective look, I found that some interesting insights:

First, the value of AACSB accreditation is very high within the accademic realm. There is a greater acceptance of credits between and among AACSB accredited schools. It does not guarantee this acceptance, but often facilitates it. All of my MBA prerequisite work at SUU was accepted mostly because I held a business degree from an AACSB accredited school.

Second, the AACSB accreditation does not hold the same clout in the business world. Accreditation is probably one of the most misunderstood areas of education by the public. When employers look at resumes, I doubt if they bother to find out whether or not an MBA is from an AACSB accredited business school. On the other hand, it does not hurt to hold the same business accreditation as the more well-known schools like Harvard or Stanford.

Third, the true value of the AACSB accreditation is the higher level of quality that it promotes in the business school. As many could attest to, the AACSB accreditation process is rigorous and intensive. The sheer fact that the accreditation process is undertaken shows the commitment to quality by a business school. This can only be good for both the business school and the student.

I am very happy that the School of Business at SUU decided to pursue this accreditation. I think it tells alot about their commitment to quality and growth. Also, congratulations to all the faculty and staff who made it a success! While AACSB accreditation is not everything, it is something special. Great Job!

Many Accolades to The SUU Business School!

After getting word of SUU's accreditation from one of my professors on Wednesday night, I was very excited and thankful that the accreditation came when it did, just weeks before I graduate! I also gained a reaffirmation for my decision to continue my education at SUU when I read a post on the subject in the voluntaryXchange blog. While having accreditation gives more notoriety and distinction to SUU's business school, I would still recommend getting a business education at SUU to anyone regardless of whether or not it had occured. I have been extremely impressed with the curriculum and experienced faculty here at SUU. I have especially enjoyed my investments class, where class teams get to invest real money in the stock market, which is virtually unheard of. I have learned so much from having the opportunity, and am amazed that a school as small as SUU has such a program in place. Aside from my investments class, I have also been tremendsouly impressed with the school of business's advisement. Paula Alger is extremely efficient, and courteous, and is always encouraging students to do well in school, and pursue more education. I could go on and on about how wonderful I think SUU is, but I will close by just saying I have really benefited from my time here, and I'm glad I made the decision to transfer here upon receiving my associate's degree.

Sad Commentary

As I was reading a March 21, 2006 post entitled "Terrorism Insurance" from the Hypothetical Bias Blog, I experienced somewhat of a rude awakening. While I am all too aware of the horrific acts of terrorism ocuring in Iraq, and all over the world, it had never occured to me that there would be a product offering available for terrorism insurance. However, after reading the article, and becoming aware of such a product, I can see where there would be a genuine demand for it. Sadly, the Iraqi man featured in the post felt that purchasing terrorism insurance was a necessity for him because of his inherent amount of risk due to his job, and family status. It is such a sad commentary on the globe at large that violence, terrorism, and hate has become so widespread that markets are having to provide consumers protection in the form of insurance for terrorism.


Today in The Case for Small Government blog, I read a post that I agree with. The author affirmed that government need not develop more legislation to protect perscription drugs from being re-imported. I couldn't agree more! I'm so sick of pharmaceutical companies asking the American public to cry them a river. They are making billions of dollars at our expense, and often ailing health. If they are so determined to stop "illegal" importing and reproduction of their drugs, they should cough up some of their hefty profits to improve measures themselves! While I understand that a lot of time, and money goes into their research, they are making thousands of times more in profits!!! They are susceptible to the same things other producers of goods are. For example fashion designers create clothing, and accessories that are often reproduced as knock offs in China and sold around the world for a fraction of the cost. Also, movie makers experience piracy of their media around the globe, and lose money as a result. I'm not saying it's ideal, but it is reality, so I highly suggest drug companies come to terms with it, and become proactive, rather than reactive by rubbing shoulders with Uncle Sam to solve their problems.

Not Overly Amused

As I was reading a post from the Market Power blog entitled "Good Things", I felt that the author seemed somewhat sinical. Apparently he has nothing better to do than to rag on the media for reporting on altruistic acts. He seemed to feel like the media should sing praises to businesses that provide society services for a profit. While it is true that businesses do provide products and services that consumers want and need, I wouldn't categorize that type of "service" the same as that of volunteers preparing meals for the homeless, w/o pay. Volunteers add value to society, even though they aren't making revenue that will be taxed, and then fed back into the government. Instead they choose to selflessly give of themselves, providing to society at no charge, ultimately saving money that perhaps the government would have had to shell out anyway. Can't this guy see the merit in philanthropy in some form other than business related product and service offerings that exist because of the profit they make?

Are We Seeing a Trend?

This latest article in Newsweek spoke of a familiar situation. The article explained that more and more people are reading novels over their computer. This situation reminded me of a case discussed in class. Britannica was once an item that had a bulky volume you had to purchase to get all the information you could ask for. Now its something you can get over the internet or a CD. The question is will books be a thing of the past like Britannica and just be read over a computer?


Electricity Price Gouging

I recently read an interesting article entitled Electricity Price Gouging in California? This article talked about how many people were angry with the high prices of electricity in California. Everyone was trying to blame the Government or energy generators, but this article points out that this could just be a normal functioning market. This article also made the point that markets are not perfectly competitive at all times. Energy generators have found a way to exploit a situation of imperfect competion. Everyone was hopping that the deregulation of this market would fix everything, but it many ways it has made it worse. This may only be true in the short run. As more time passes, the high prices will drive more suppliers into the market.

Slowing Down Time

I read a very interesting article on Economist's View about true time management. It talked about how, for years now, we have been figuring out how to do more work in the same amount of time instead of actually altering how we perceive time. The author asserts that it may actually be possible to slow down time. Neurobiologist David Eagleman says, under extreme duress, our minds have the ability to slow down time. He uses the example of a fall or a car crash. He is currently testing this hypothesis by showing people numbers in a rapid sequence, too quickly to comprehend, as they bungee jump off a tower. So far, these people have been able to read the numbers. I'm not sure if I believe what Eagleman states, but it is definitely a new way of looking at time management. Perhaps it will be possible in the future to train your mind to slow down time!


Pharmaceutical companies and AIDS in Africa

Pharmaceutical companies dropped their lawsuit that was designed to stop African countries from importing cheap copies of patented drugs. Africans were pleased with the decision stating even the discounted drugs the companies were offering were too expensive. Now more Africans will be able to get the needed drugs to help fight the disease which is becoming an epidemic.

general motors is looking to increase prosperity with buyouts

General Motors (GM) is looking to become a smaller company by allowing employee buyouts and selling a major part of it's mortgage department. Some analysts believe this is an unwise decision and that GM should invest in it's motor vehicles to help reverse it's loss from last year. The problem with employee buyouts is soaring health care costs for GM.

Who can we blame for high oil prices?

Who can we blame for high oil prices? According to this article by Ben Stein, the oil companies are not to blame. Oil prices are set by the trade market and not by executives of the oil companies. Factors that drive oil prices include expectation of war, weather, or terrorists. These all affect supply and demand of oil and in the end that is what drives oil prices. Some companies benefit greatly from higher oil prices while others only have a moderate profit.

Tribe to get contract with the defense department

A tribe in South Dakota is hoping to get a contract with the defense department. The contract is to build an operation plant in the reservation that will make and test circuit boards for a Defense Department contractor. The positions available will be few in the beginning but many tribe members are hoping that it will grow to over 100 in the next year. This South Dakota tribe is known for its high unemployment rate and large rate of poverty. Even a small number of jobs would be beneficial for this town. Building an operation plant in town is also expected to help give kids the desire to go to school and get an education.

New fed chief to increase interest rates

Ben Bernanke the federal chief who replaced Alan Greenspan is preparing for his first chance to alter interest rates. He is suspected to follow what Greenspan has been doing since late June 2004, increasing interest rates. The article states that commercial banks may increase their prime lending rate to 7.75 percent. This would be the highest rate in almost five years. Increasing the interest rate will affect the new gradauting class of 2006. Housing loans will increase which will make it more difficult for first time buyers to be approved for a loan. Credit card interest rates will also be increased causing Americans to have even more debt.

FREAKONOMICS - Economist for President

I have recently been thinking about purchasing this book for my reading pleasure. I came across a blog based on the book with a post titled "An Economist for President". In the blog post it discusses how the 2nd economist has been elected as the president of an African nation. My question is, do you think an economist can ever get elected in the United States, and if one did get elected would he/she do a good job?


Has Anyone Checked This Guy's IQ?

The author of the Half Sigma blog put up a post that makes me seriously question his "intelligence". His March 22, 2006 post entitled "A better way to fix education than with vouchers" left A LOT to be desired! He made several very arrogant claims within his post that are purely false. He was bold enough to claim that the most destructive students are those that lack intelligence, and that poor students are worsening the state of education for others. Students who require discipline are suffering more from a lack of parental direction and structure than any deficits in intellect. Also, poor students don't lessen the quality of education, biased legislators do. The author's solution to these and other problems came in a package that suggested testing students, and clumping "intelligent" students together, away from their intellectually inferior co-students. I think this is a lame idea. Who's to say that some standardized test is a measure of someone's intelligence, and is worthy of determining who goes to a great school, and who doesn't? My brother is extremely bright, and just happens to have autism. He learned "differently" than many of his peers, and I can tell you that his performance on a standardized test may have not been stellar, but would that have been a fair representation of his capacity? I think not. Despite paying taxes year after year, for public education, my brother was never a recipient of a public high school education. My mother opted to combine a private high school and home schooling to help my brother succeed, ultimately enabling him to earn a high school diploma, which may have never happened, not because he lacked intellect, but because his different learning style was not conducive to our public school system. I agree that the current state of public education is less than perfect, but this solution is a poor attempt to better the situation.

Oldie, but Goodie

I was reading a TrendMacro post from June 21, 2004, and must say that I agreed with the message. Basically, the post was asserting that if tarrifs were decreased, developing countries would actually be better off. Alhtough there is a mega trend in books, and the media, etc. that highlights how much industrialized nations are dependant upon cheap labor, and products from abroad, there are still those that are likely discouraged by having to cough up pricey tariffs, and thus may be influenced to decrease, or stop their purchases. That being said, I think that it would be a good idea to keep a lid on tariff prices. Surely, product purchases would increase, even from developing countries' most avid supporters, which would only help them attain more profitability in the long run.

Disturbing image/philosphy!

As I was reading a post from the capital freedom blog, I saw an image that was particularly troubling to me. Although the post's message was short and sweet, it summed things up well: "If that's the case, why is she holding a sign to protest?" -Capital Freedom Blog. While I understand that the woman in that picture has virtually zero rights, and is most likely demonstrating her genuine belief, I can't help but feel sad that so many women are being subjected to such imprisoning ways of life. The woman in that photo claimed that freedom of expression was a form of western terrorism, but I wonder, how does a society's perception become so warped that they fail to recognize suicide bombs, and planes crashing into buildings, etc as something other than terroristic acts? I am extremely thankful to be a female in the United States. Not only can I express myself as I choose, but I can be educated, and can work in any field I choose. I can wear a tshirt and jeans, listen to my favorite music, all while driving to my university, where I will be sitting with many of my fellow male co-eds, something that woman will likely never experience. God bless America!


Global Warming and Argentina

I found an article in Bonobo Land about an article on Bloomberg.com that talks about the economic reach of global warming. The article starts out talking about icebergs floating into the Buenos Aires ports. The issue isn’t that huge icebergs are floating around thousands of miles from Antarctica (where they originated). The issue is what caused the icebergs to break loose.

Using Argentina as a focus, the article went through and delineated the effects of rising global temperatures on a country. Argentina is a country based on an agricultural economy. The soybean and wheat fields in the center of the country are being flooded and ruined. The north part of the country is in a drought and the agriculture fields are drying up. Shipping companies are running into the issue that major thoroughfares are underwater. Most shippers thought that the roads would only be underwater for a season, but it has now been years.

It is pretty amazing to me to see how the higher global temperatures affect the world economy.


We have all heard that Wal-Mart is planning to enter the financial services industry. I work in financial services and many people are concerned that Wal-Mart could bring their many retailing strengths to this market and force many companies out of business. I read an article that discusses reasons why Wal-Mart may not succeed in this market. Some of the reasons the author believes Wal-Mart may not succeed in this market is because there are countless regulations in this market that Wal-Mart doesn’t have to worry about currently. Second, people’s perceptions of Wal-Mart and their perceptions of what a depository institution should be are very different. As a member of the financial services industry it is good to hear that Wal-Mart may encounter difficulties in this endeavor.


Possible Tax-Write-offs!

As I read the economics roundtable blog, I came across an interesting link within it commenting on the prospect of people getting a tax write-off for their mbas. If this were to become a legal, widespread practice, the results could be great! I am completely in favor of such a practice, and think it would be a great incentive for people to further their education. Regardless of whether or not someone pursues an mba for a better job, a more educated society, is a better society!!! More knowledge=more power.


Updated Blogroll

I posted an updated and much larger blogroll on the left.

Right To Be Concerned With Oil Prices

As I read this blog on the high prices of oil, I must say I wasn't overly impressed with the article linked within it. The prevailing rate of gasoline is astonishing! I am in favor of some government intervention in regard to the price of oil we pay. I am not crying any tears for oil companies. They are not going to hurt financially, they just might be required by law to be a little less greedy, but they will still be wealthy! My demand for oil hasn't changed, but my ability to pay for it has. Whether it's turning on the heat, or having the ability to pay for a drive to St. George, my purchasing ability has gone way down because gas is currently $2.50 a gallon! What can I say, I'm out for the common man on this one, I hope that the government steps up and helps out its citizens. And for any that are worried about oil companies' profit ability, there will always be mounds of politicians that will continue to support them because of the incentives they offer through their lobbying and private jets, etc.

Debt and War

As our country enters its 4th year of war in Iraq, they are spending like mad men, and have approved another debt increase to prove it. It seems as though the "conservatives" running Washington, are anything but conservative in their approach to our country's fiscal status. As "managers" of America, they are indifferent to their projects' cost of capital, and when it comes to running the world's most influential nation, they take on debt like it's the last day of the world. Shouldn't leaders have some kind of accountability and integrity in regard to how they finance government projects? If every business the world over has to, why shouldn't the U.S.A. have to do the same?


Deal or No Deal?

If you've seen NBC's new game show "Deal or No Deal", you may have quickly realized that it doesn't take an uncanny knowledge of history, art, and pop culture to strike it rich. So why does a show involving dumb luck have economists glued to the television? The Wall Street Journal indicates that behavioral economists have studied a variety of game shows in previous years; however "Deal or No Deal" has created particular excitement mainly because it involves no skill at all. This in turn reduces the variables when comparing subjects. "There is no doubt that these are real people making real choices for high stakes, and we rarely get to observe such pure decisions," says Richard Thaler, a leading behavioral economist at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Why is it that most people will take $450,000 instead of a 50-50 chance at $1,000,000? For many economists questions like these reveal a great deal about risk aversion as well as other behavioral theories. So what would you do with a 50-50 shot at a million dollars: Deal or no deal?


AT&T to buy BellSouth

I read a post on oligopolywatch.com about how AT&T is going to buy BellSouth. The $89 billion deal is said to be the 5th largest in U.S. history will create the largest telecommunications company in the world. The new company will be able to bundle many different services like internet, tv, land-lines and wireless. Will smaller companies be able to compete? Why aren't the antitrust regulators jumping all over this deal? It is believed that consumers will not be hurt by this deal because there are still many other telecommunications companies out there who can compete. Some of this companies provide the same services in different ways. For example, Vonage provides Voice over IP phone services via the internet. Also, there are many different types of internet connections. New technology is allowing consumers to connect to the internet via power lines. Soon power companies may be competing with AT&T in the ISP market.

They're stealing our consumer surplus!

For some reason I was listening to NPR today and happened to tune in to a discussion about some new ideas that the airlines are devising to try to get back in the black. I found the program on the NPR website if anyone is interested.

As if Americans weren’t already price sensitive enough about airline flights, a few airlines have decided to charge a little more for some seats that they think we might pay a premium for. Specifically, they’re planning to charge more for aisle seats and exit row seats. In my opinion, the ideas will not get them very far. Firstly, the only successful airlines in the country right now are the ones that are cutting costs and lowering prices. I don’t see this idea creating a good image for struggling airlines. Second, although some people probably would be willing to pay a little extra for specific seats, I think there are a lot more who will choose to fly on another airline if all of the cheap seats are taken, unless there are no other options.

Wal-Mart goes direct with Coca Cola

I was reading an article on knowledgeproblem.com titled, “Is Coke's Franchising Business Model Obsolete? This made reference to an article from the Wall Street Journal about Wal-Mart wanting to go direct to Coca Cola with Powerade. Apparently Wal-Mart has developed their distribution system so that they can do a “better job” than Coca Cola. The big deal is that the bottlers of Coca Cola feel that they are being taken out of the loop and that if Coca Cola allows this deal to go through than what will stop them from allowing other deals to go direct. My question is, isn’t this economically efficient?

The "Wal-Mart Bill" in Maryland

There is a very interesting article by Alan Reynolds about a bill that was passed in Maryland. It was dubbed the "Wal-Mart Bill" because it was really targeted at Wal-Mart. The bill requires Wal-Mart to pay 8% of its payroll expenses to health insurance. Yet, it does not require Wal-Mart to pay more in total compensation.

I agree with the author in his findings related to this bill. The intent of the bill was to get Wal-Mart to spend more on health care for its employees. The problem is that is was founded on weak arguments and it has adverse side effects. Ultimately, this will hurt the workers at Wal-Mart more than anyone else.

This bill mainly hurts those that are part-time workers like students, housewives, and seniors who also receive health insurance. These types of employees are typically covered by other insurance plans-husbands, fathers, or the government. Specifying that 8% of compensation has to be in health insurance just means that these workers will received less in pay. The insurance is not meaningful to them anyway.

There are other adverse side effects mentioned in the article if you want to reference it. This goes to show what happens when governments try to get involved in business. They try to regulate one area and then create problems in other areas.

Economics inverse Darwinism

The Chicago Boyz blog babies and market signals discusses the modern resource allocation dilemma of children and the choice between self-financial preservation and the less academic species preservation. The blog discusses the factors in reproduction on an economic scale and the resulting conditions. It further examines the median population, of course not everyone fits perfectly into the average. This blog is evaluating the consequences of childrearing through the opportunity costs, such as children result in less education and income for parents. Typically for the mothers it results in less income, and for a single parent situation, the market signals would be there, and would demand decisions on profit or children, but I think most don't want children by themselves. Yes, to some extent there is a Darwinism effect in choosing between how much education and income weighted against the gene pool, however I think whether it's self or species preservation, it's survival of the fittest, and then there's welfare.

Tufte's Economics Classes Blog

Tufte's Economics Classes Blog

Mid east's economic boom

In a blog on the Chicago Boyz site there is reference of a WSJ article about the OPEC oil cartel, the inelastic demand for their energy sources, and the resulting economic boom in the area. In the article it states that their stock markets have out-paced our own by at lest twice as much in the last decade, their cash rich banks are investing at record levels, and all seems to be exploding economically. Could this be the luck of having a natural resource that the world can't live without or is their business structure just that much better? I think it's both the luck and business structure to use a natural resource to finance an economic boom that is going to last as long as the oils inelastic demand.

Do moviemakers deserve a tax break?

Wisconsin's State Senator, Ted Kanavas, is proposing a bill that would allow tax breaks to filmmakers who chose The Badger State as the ideal location for their film. The proposed bill was discussed in an article on The Idea Shop wherein Sen. Kanavas states that the bill is not offering subsidies, rather lower taxes, and the state is not offering grants or loans, just forbearance. I think the film industry is on the tail end of those in need of tax breaks. Although a movie filmed in your area would bring in revenues, I think a different course of action needs to be taken to produce state revenue.

Medical Outsourcing

I read an interesting post on the Ben Muse blog discussing a new trend, the outsourcing of medical expenses. It discusses a patient who received a medical procedure in India saving himself thousands of dollars. With the enormous medical expenses that we are faced with, and with them continuing to rise at such an alarming rate, this type of outsourcing is surely to gain much more in popularity. Unless the medical companies face the problem head-on and address it, they may begin to lose thousands of dollars in medical expenses due to this new form of competition.

Tufte's Economics Classes Blog

Tufte's Economics Classes Blog

Most Business Friendly States

I read an interesting article talking about which states have the most business friendly tax systems, and how businesses are attracted to these states. It is interesting; Utah is ranked number 18 on the list. The article stated, “Every tax law will in some way change a state’s competitive position relative to its immediate neighbors, its geographic region, and even globally. Ultimately it will affect the state’s national standing as a place to live and to do business.” I believe this is what a lot of business look for when they settle down in a state. How profitable can they be if they locate themselves in Nevada (ranked number 5) verses California (ranked number 40)? What’s your take?

French Employers Can Now Fire More Easily

In a right-to-work state, we may take advantage of the ease with which we can hire and fire employees. In a post on the Atlantic Blog, it is explained that, for the first time, French employers may now fire employees without giving any reason. This only applies to employees under 26 years of age that have been in the job for less than 2 years. Some in France are upset by this new law. However, it seems that this could be a step in the right direction if France is to overcome their unemployment issues. According to the blog, unemployment rates are at 20% among young workers, with some areas reaching as high as 50%. Because it is so difficult for employers to release employees, many inefficient workers have held onto jobs that they should not have. By allowing employers to fire workers, unproductive workers will no longer be guaranteed a job, resulting in two possible consequences. First, unproductive workers will become more productive, allowing the employer to be more profitable. Second, unproductive workers will be fired, making room for productive workers. Either way, this new law will allow better opportunities for workers looking for jobs and for employers looking for better workers.

Does the Superbowl Predict Economic Growth?

In one of my economics classes I remember hearing about something called the Super Bowl effect. For those of you who don't know what this is, I will explain. The myth says that if a team from the AFC wins the Superbowl, the national economy will do bad. If a team from the NFC wins the Superbowl, the national economy will do great. By just looking at the raw data it seams that this could be true. During the 1970's and early 1980's the AFC was strong and the economy was weak. The economy was strong during the rest of the 1980's when the NFC was strong. Mike Moffatt did a statistical study to determine if this myth had any truth. He looked at the last 39 Superbowls. He found that there is a statistical correlation between Superbowl result and economic growth. He found that the correlation between NFC wins and economic growth was .074963. I thought this was very interesting. Could the Superbowl really be correlated to the economy? If this is true it just goes to prove how complex the economy really is. It would be interesting to do similar studies and see what you would find. Does anyone have any ideas about why these two things would be correlated?


Learning Curves

Recently in class we discussed a case study on the wide-body aircraft industry. In that discussion Dr. Tufte suggested that the evidence supporting the learning curve is really quite flimsy. He said that most of the supporting evidence was gathered during WWII and the decreases in time were the result of lower quality not improved ability. He further stated that the decreases in costs in the wide-body case study came about because the fixed costs were being allocated over more units of production. I’m not sure I buy that. A person does get more proficient at a task with repetition. Dr. Tufte himself I think would admit this, one of the reasons he started one of his blogs was that he “was losing (his) ‘edge’ as a writer.” That would suggest to me a shift backwards along a learning curve. I will admit though that the discussion in class made me question whether or not learning curves are a valid as I had thought.

Tufte's Economics Classes Blog

The Controversial School Voucher Issue

An issue that has become more prevalent lately is that of the declining education that is received in public schools across America. I recently watched an interview in which various European high school students were given an exam from the United States which most American students seemed to struggle with. Not only were the European students exam scores incredibly higher but when asked to comment on the American exam a typical response was, “the test was very easy; if American students can not do the exam then they are very stupid.” In many countries in Europe, government funding for students is tied to the individual student and will follow them to the school they choose to attend. This creates competition amongst the schools, resulting in increased efforts in order to earn the students’ registration. Unlike public schools in America where there is great difficulty in removing a poor performing teacher, in Europe the teachers must perform well in order for the school to remain competitive and stay in business. This creates great incentive for administrators to only hire and keep teachers who perform well. The issue of introducing school vouchers across America would serve to move the country to greater resemble the competitive system found in Europe. There are still some downfalls associated with the voucher system, but would those downfalls provide a greater cost-benefit analysis in comparison to the current declining system?


price war: does anyone benefit?

When two companies compete and in turn both lower their prices as with cable and DSL does anyone benefit? You would think the consumer benefits due to the lower prices but this is not always true. When two companies compete and end up in a price war, generally both companies lower value along with price. In the end the companies lose profit and the customer loses value.
Posted by Will


I'm Thirsty for Price Discrimination!

For most businesses, being able to effectively price discriminate is a dream. A company that can create a mechanism that allows price discrimination can significantly increase seller surplus and revenues. Coca-Cola is considering the use of vending machines that react to temperature changes. When the temperature rises, so does the price of Coca-Cola. When you are hot and thirsty are you willing to pay more for a cool Coca-Cola? Coca-Cola stands to benefit greatly if this strategy can be successfully implemented. According to my understanding this idea was met by a consumer backlash. Wouldn't a consumer who purchases Coke on a day when the temperature is below freezing increase their consumer surplus? Economically this is a very good idea if it can be executed without adverse impacts on demand.

America: Capitalistic Hypocrites

It is interesting to me that even though we are a "capitalistic" society, America is always violating its own rules. I’m not talking about socialistic/communistic policies, such as welfare, etc. I’m talking about our own policies to “protect” ourselves. America continuously subsidizes steel manufacturing, farming, and other industries.
I contend that if we truly were a capitalistic society then we would let other countries produce these types of products because they can do it cheaper, faster, and better. We in turn would competitively produce with our competencies whatever product we make best (big cars, movies, music, and porn).

With our global society today and this formula, our products we could purchase and produce would be bigger, better, and cheaper.


Economic Freedom vs. Economic Security?

How should the U.S.A. respond to the impact of globalization on economic stability, security, and foreign policy? The Dubai Ports controversy is a prime example of the fact that capitalism doesn't take homeland security into account when decisions are made. Interestingly, foreigners cannot own U.S. television stations, yet at the same time approximately 20% of the Pentagon's contracts are with foreign companies (many of which involve sensitive technologies). Many experts say that limiting these contracts would reduce quality and increase costs. The solution posed by this article is simply to make Americans feel a little more secure in the midst of the rapid globalization that is taking place. It's hard to feel "economically secure" when your job could be offshored to China at any time. At the same time, protecting U.S. jobs with tariffs and quotas only hurts our standard of living.

Outsourcing: Day Care

In The Atlantic Blog, I read an article about women working and putting their children in daycare. This is a controversial subject because many people seem to look at the situation as either 1) enslaving the women at home or 2) liberating them from their bonds and letting them work. I don’t see it that way.

Personally, I think that it would have made all the difference in my life to have a mother at home. Economically, this article points out that a mother’s raising of her children is an investment that will provide great benefits in the future. The investment cannot be better made by anyone other than the mother.

The blogger points to research that shows that prekindergarten (day care or preschool) can increase the child’s performance in English and Math, but it can also increase behavioral problems and lack of self-control. Economically, if a mother wants to see a return on her investment, she must weigh the costs of behavioral and self-control problems vs. money earned at work. Later on in life, when the parents are retired, what type of return on that investment will the mother receive? Will the child be successful in life and be able to support the parents? On the other hand, will the parents be able to support themselves and their children?


Some People Just Like To Hear Themselves Talk

After reading a second post from "the angry economist", I am convinced that he must have A LOT of time on his hands, and thrives on being miserable. For whatever reason, he seems to have a real beef with Elliot Spitzer, and feels that his proposals for economic growth and development in Upstate New York are not efficient, however I completely disagree! If you read the link within the angry economist's post of Spitzer, it is clear that he is a highly intelligent, and rational, with many great ideas on how to improve the state of upstate New York's economy. I am especially impressed with his ideas concerning the promoting more accessible health care, and economic opporunities for women, etc. To me, Spitzer seems like a man with high integrity, and hopes for the common man. Unlike many "managers" of our time, he is truly out to yield the best for the people he works for, and wants those with the least opportunity to have equal access to the necessities of life. Perhaps the angry economist needs to recognize those qualities in Spitzer, and tone down on his demeaning attacks against him.


Our Oil?

Many people say that American troops are in Iraq protecting "our oil." This article from The Angry Economist talks about the farce that our troops are dying in Iraq while protecting America’s oil. I agree with the author that if it truly were America’s oil, that America would get the oil before any other countries, or that other countries wouldn’t be able to buy the oil until America bought all the oil it needed.

McDonald's...the Next Starbuck's?

Upon reading the heading from this article, I stopped for a moment and thought, what? Apparently McDonald's will soon be marketing a new high end coffee as a way of competing with other gourmet coffee producers, such as Starbuck's, etc. While this tactic from Wal-Mart could improve their coffee sales, I don't see it as any real threat to Starbuck's. In fact, perhaps McDonald's decision to sell fine coffee will offer their existing customers an added perk. Similar to what the article states, I don't think McDonald's choice to offer gourmet coffee will give it much of a competitive advantage, because other places such as Starbuck's, focus primarely on coffees, whereas McDonald's is more specialized in its fast, cheap, and tasty meal solutions. I suppose only time will tell whether such a marketing strategy from McDonald's will prove profitable.