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“Solyndra” — that would be a tantalizing title for a film about government waste. Maybe George Clooney should have a look. Probably not. His political movies embrace the Left and generally flop at the box office. Solyndra is anything but a liberal dream. Rather, it’s a harsh example of economic ignorance, political ineptitude, and government… Continue Reading Shedding the light of economics on solar subsidies

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Prohibition seems like a strange 14-year anomaly in U.S. history, when common sense gave way to a utopian crusade against the consumption of alcohol. But if you think there’s nothing to be learned from this odd period, you’d be wrong. Early this month, a new documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick titled “Prohibition”… Continue Reading Prohibition’s lessons for today’s economics and politics

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Finding business lessons in unexpected places

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I tend to drive my family crazy with little lessons about economics and business found in everyday life. For example, mention a state during a conversation, and chances are pretty good that I’ll point out what the state’s taxes look like, and whether it’s a friendly or unfriendly place for business. And given that I’ve… Continue Reading Finding business lessons in unexpected places

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Japan, United States and lost decades

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It’s never good to be talking about a “lost decade” when it comes to the economy. Recently, there’s been chatter about the U.S. being in the midst of a lost decade along the lines of Japan’s experience. But could the news be even worse than this analysis suggests? Consider this grim assessment from a Sept.… Continue Reading Japan, United States and lost decades

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China, the U.S., politics and exchange rates

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When it comes to exchange rate policies, it’s often hard to tell the difference between a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat. Especially in a tough economy, both sides of the political aisle tend to get exchange rate economics wrong. The political class might be forgiven in this instance as many economists, business executives, and… Continue Reading China, the U.S., politics and exchange rates

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Texas and the Perry record

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Since jumping into the race for the Republican presidential nomination in mid-August, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has stirred things up. Most notably, according to polls in late August, Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, had been dethroned as the GOP frontrunner by Perry. Is this a good thing for the business community, especially given Romney’s business… Continue Reading Texas and the Perry record

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Big business the Disney way

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Many Americans distrust so-called “big business” — unless that big business happens to be the Walt Disney Company. When it comes to Disney, most anti-big-business bets seem to be off. Instead, people think about family entertainment, from television shows to movies to theme parks. That’s a great credit to the way Disney has done business… Continue Reading Big business the Disney way

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Borders ending sad but not surprising

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Have you ever had the end of a business affect your day-to-day life? If you owned or worked for a company that closed its doors, then the obvious answer is “yes.” But I’m thinking as a customer. For example, disappointment still lingers on my wife’s side of the family over a favorite bakery closing several… Continue Reading Borders ending sad but not surprising

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Like it or not, the 2012 presidential election season is well under way. With the first Republican primary coming in January — a little more than five months away — candidates already have been raising money, and crisscrossing key early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Heck, the first debate among GOP candidates… Continue Reading The early outlook for President Obama’s re-election effort

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Mandates, consumers and manufacturers

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President Obama can’t seem to make up his mind about auto manufacturers. Does he want them to survive and even thrive, or not? In the late Bush and early Obama administrations, the idea was about trying to “save” General Motors and Chrysler with bailouts. After Congress voted against subsidizing the automakers, President Bush nonetheless doled… Continue Reading Mandates, consumers and manufacturers

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