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Few like the “double dip.” “Seinfeld” brought attention to the chip double-dipper. George dipped a potato chip in dip, took a bite, and then dipped again. He was called for his unsanitary double dip. Then there’s double dipping in government. An individual carries two government titles; or retires, collects a pension and still gets paid… Continue Reading Public policy to blame if we see a double-dip

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Is the current U.S. Supreme Court — or more accurately, a slim majority of justices — pro-business? Some decisions from the just-finished court term led to the “pro-business” label being hurled in an accusatory tone. A recent New York Times analysis quoted Lisa S. Blatt, who served in the solicitor general’s office for 13 years,… Continue Reading The Supreme Court: Business-friendly or not?

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Christopher Buckley wrote a funny novel a decade-and-a-half ago titled, “Thank You for Smoking.” It focused on three lobbyists billing themselves as the MOD (Merchants of Death) Squad, representing the tobacco, alcohol and gun industries. It was an amusing send-up of politics, lobbying, and neo-Puritan political correctness focused on “sins” as defined by the political… Continue Reading Sin taxes hurt business and society in general

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Based on various polls, it’s clear that solid majorities of voters are worried about federal government spending, debt and taxes, and related to all of that, where the economy is headed. As a result, incumbents feel uneasy heading into the November elections, especially with the Tea Party movement generating political uncertainty. However, one of the… Continue Reading Business experience can help, hurt candidates

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NASCAR fans better at economics than most

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As an economist dealing with public policy issues, and teaching business and economics classes at the graduate level, I often wonder why some people grasp basic economic principles while others don’t. After explaining the economics of a policy issue, for example, it’s not unusual for a student to say, “But I feel differently.” Indeed, from… Continue Reading NASCAR fans better at economics than most

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The risks of misguided prohibitions

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President Obama rolled out the big guns in late May and early June against the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. First, the administration turned to Hollywood. Movie director James Cameron was brought in on June 1, along with various scientists and experts, to brainstorm on how to plug the oil leak. Why Cameron? Well, he’s… Continue Reading The risks of misguided prohibitions

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Entrepreneurship in a down economy

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Economic growth and job creation overwhelmingly are about entrepreneurs and investors willing to undertake the risks that come with starting up and expanding businesses. The U.S. economy, of course, started to turn down in December 2007, with matters getting far worse when the credit meltdown fully hit in the latter part of 2008. After the… Continue Reading Entrepreneurship in a down economy

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Healthcare tax credit offers too little

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ObamaCare was sold as a way to help the little guy, including small businesses, especially against those big, bad insurance companies. However, when this legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March, supporters failed to mention the many ills it would impose on small businesses and their employees. Wait… Continue Reading Healthcare tax credit offers too little

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Greece covers an area slightly smaller than Alabama. Nonetheless, this small nation bordering on the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean seas has had and continues to have a big impact. The Greeks gave us the Olympics; the foundations of philosophy through Socrates, Plato and Aristotle; and the beginnings of democracy. For good measure, the New Testament… Continue Reading Lessons from Greek financial crisis are being ignored

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When it comes to energy, a critical question always seems to be whether public policy will be guided by sound economics, or irrational, pandering politics. That question looms particularly large right now. There is the usual issue of prices. Early this month, the price of a barrel of crude oil was up by 34 percent… Continue Reading The Gulf oil spill and energy economics and politics

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