Category Archives: Money and risk

Free trade #2 – It’s personal


In Part One of this series, I discussed the best, largely-unspoken argument in favor of free trade, where the increasing fungibility of goods and services will largely circumvent any attempts to make effective one-on-one trade deals. In this second part, I want to address what is, in my view, the best populist argument against free trade too often ignored by… Read more »

Free trade #1 – Assume everything is fungible


With free trade hitting the news in conjunction with the President’s recent visit to the Davos conference, I was looking again to see if either side could identify the best arguments for the other side of the debate. Advocates don’t like to give press to strong ideas from the other side, so too often the ideas get passed by. In… Read more »

Income inequality and the Rule of 72 – part 3


“If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality.” Entrepreneur and investor Nick Hanauer. [1] Part One of this series looked at how some basic compounded income growth projections with fairly-low rate differentials could alone result in fast-widening income inequality, and then Part… Read more »

Income inequality and the Rule of 72 – part 2


The first part of this series of posts showed how small differences in average pay increases over time can explain much, if not most, most of the wide spread of income growth cited as evidence of income inequality. The question addressed in this part is whether the historical record supports this assertion. Part Three, in the queue, will look at… Read more »

Income inequality and the Rule of 72 – part 1


Income inequality is an issue fraught with political stake-in-the-ground positioning, but there is some very basic math that, if understood, deflates a lot of the political grandstanding from either side. If we get the math out of the way then perhaps the policy implications and choices become clearer. The first principle applied here is that nature itself does not usually… Read more »

Progressive or conservative? No, “payday lender.”


I have been working on a three-part post about the math of “income inequality” which goes online tomorrow and over the next week. I think it takes an important and different tack from other viewpoints. Hint: the newest tax law will only make income inequality worse. I am still banging my head trying to pin the “Tax Cuts and Jobs… Read more »

Here is how you really simplify taxes


In an earlier post from January 9, I noted how the most recent change to the U. S. tax code makes compliance more complex, not less, for many taxpayers, and certainly for businesses. In this post, I will lay out some opportunities for truly reducing tax complexity. For the vast majority of ordinary taxpayers, the “quick-hit” route to simplification is obvious…. Read more »

Why your taxes won’t get simpler


A major part of the public relations sell accompanying the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” was the idea that Americans would be soon be submitting their taxes on a postcard. The mock-up of the postcard was trumpeted by politicians well after it became patently obvious to most tax professionals that this was not going to happen. In this… Read more »