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 […]

Tax Inversions: A Clarion Call for Corporate Tax Reform

The U.S. Treasury Department issued new rules last month designed to make it more difficult for U.S. companies to strike “tax inversion” deals — transactions in which a U.S. company merges with a foreign business located in a lower-tax jurisdiction, and then reincorporates overseas in order to reduce its tax bill to Uncle Sam. Tax […]

Los Angeles Planning to Hike the Minimum Wage for Hotel Employees

Just when I thought the granola state could not get any nuttier, here comes a city-council approved plan (to be subject to a final procedural vote and the mayor’s signature), to hike the minimum wage for employees of large hotels to $15.37 an hour. The law would apply to hotels with 300 or more rooms […]

What’s In a Wage?

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its quarterly report (June 2014) on the cost of employee compensation.  The average hourly wage for U.S. workers in the private sector was $21.02.  Broken down: The average hourly wage for private sector full-time workers in all industries was $24.04.  For part-time workers it was $12.37. The average […]

More Evidence: Unemployment Benefits Hurt the Unemployed

In an earlier post, I highlighted a study from the Federal Reserve concluding that the extension of unemployment benefits through December 2013 may have prolonged unemployment. Several previous studies over the past decades have suggested this same effect of unemployment benefits.  To add to the body of evidence, a study just released from the House […]