My Take on the SOTU

See my commentary on the Federalist website.

Are Weekly Jobless Claims Numbers a Concern? Yes and No.

Economists’ predictions were a bit off this week pertaining to the number of applications filed for unemployment benefits, according to Shobhana Chandra in Bloomberg.  Forty-eight economists surveyed predicted 290,000 jobless claims for the week ending January 10.  But the actual count was 316,000, the most since early September.  Is this a cause for concern?  In and of […]

Tax News You Can Use

Now that President Obama has signed the 2014 Tax Extenders bill (H.R. 5771), it’s time to take a look and see what’s in it (to read H.R. 5771, click here): Charitable giving:  Seniors age 70 1/2 and older who are subject to an annual required minimum distribution from their IRA accounts can have the money paid (up to […]

Is Having a Job a Necessity or Simply an Option?

According to Josh Zumbrun in the Wall Street Journal, the improving economy is simply not enough to get people back into the labor force.  Zumbrun features three “nagging indicator” charts showing that a dramatic share of the unemployed are simply leaving the workforce (particularly since 2008), the rate of unemployed reentering the workforce is the lowest […]

Tax Extenders Bill — An Annual Event!

With barely two weeks remaining in the year, the Senate finally got around to passing the tax extenders bill. The bill extends the lives of some 55 tax breaks through the end of the year.  Most of those tax provisions had expired at the end of 2013, but in what has now become a silly […]

‘Tis the Season (Back by popular demand…)

Note: The following post is an opinion expressed solely by the author and is not necessarily supported by anybody else on the planet. First, let me start by saying I love the free market – whether it be the marketplace of ideas, opinions or goods and services.  The marketplace of ideas and beliefs is especially […]

News on the Retirement Savings Front

The Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) released a report in November on the state of individual retirement plans, based on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.  Most reports on retirement savings these days (or any type of savings for that matter) are doom and gloom, with three overarching themes:  1) People aren’t saving […]

Is a Wealth Tax in Our Future?

The inequality “problem” — the growing gap between the very rich and those near the bottom — has become a popular topic of discussion ever since the release of French economist Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, earlier this year. It’s over 600 pages long, so I doubt that anyone has actually read […]

Will Minimum Wage Hikes Help Red States or Hurt Them?

Last night voters in four “red” states approved minimum wage increases over the next few years.  The highest wage on the ballot was in Alaska, which will increase to $9.75 an hour by 2016 (indexed to inflation).  One on hand, it should be up to states to decide what their wages will be.  They have a better idea of how […]

A Rarely Mentioned Reason for the Wealth Gap

When Janet Yellen starts talking about income inequality, it is evident the topic is not going away anytime soon.  In addition to the differences in income earned by the top and bottom 20 percent, however, there are differences in overall wealth (assets).  Wealth disparities are not addressed as often as income disparities, since wealth goes beyond labor […]