Affect of improving economy on stock markets

This article discusses the current relationship between the U.S. economy and recent stock market trends. There have been indications of a strengthening economy including a drop in unemployment rates. Common patterns would expect the stock markets to increase as the economy strengthens, however that is not the case. Economists theorize that the change in trends is due to the fact that the Federal Reserve has been fueling trillions of dollars into the market economy since 2009, and as a result has caused a decrease in interest rates.


International Trade: U.S. and India

This article discusses a relevant example of international trade. Ultimately, the trade relationship between the U.S. and India had been limited in recent years and as a result the level of trade between the two countries hasn’t met the expectations set between Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009. The main factors that have impeded business are due to recent actions taken by the Indian government, including compulsory licensing and tarrifs.

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Poverty in America: The Problem with U.S. (GET IT, IT’S A PUN)

This article came again from the NY Times, this time from their opinion blog. That reveals my bias, but I think it is something that you all can handle, and if it really bothers you than presents me with the other side of things, and I will listen.

This blog (in a blog, BLOG-CEPTION), discusses the issues and myths of American poverty, in particular the fact that most Americans have a very idealized concept of what poverty in the U.S. is and who it affects. Not only are the inner-cities not the only areas that are affected by poverty, but the myth that the non-white population (the main inhabitants of what is defined as the “inner-city”) is the mainly impoverished demographic. This is not the case, as it turns out. Mark A. Rank, author, cites US census data and other official documents that explain that poverty affects most people in the US, even if only for a short amount of time. This is really striking, especially when I think about poverty in relation to the Dickinson community and the greater Carlisle area, which oftentimes seems to have an incredibly apparent impoverished area (north of campus) juxtaposed with a very well-off and typical suburban neighborhood. As I thought about this more, I realized that this was probably just personal bias and not, in fact, the reality. I tried to think of the number of times that I saw an obviously homeless person in Carlisle around the center, or someone asleep in a gutter. When I studied abroad in Italy, or even when I am at home in Boston, I am able to see this type of poverty very apparently. In Carlisle, I have never seen this, or it is a different community that expresses its poverty in a different way. Interesting to think about.



Frackenomics: “Fracking’s Achilles’ Heel”

Firstly, I would like to thank my friend Kyle Klose for presenting me with this article. Well-written and informative, definitely worth the read regardless of which side you support with this issue.

This article, while having a little bit less of an economic focus than my previously posted article, it raises an important question to ponder: What is ethical relationship between being economically successful and the health and safety issues associated with cost-cutting, or cost-saving measures? In this case, is it ethical to continue fracking for natural gas, even if it means leaking methane into ground water supplies? For me, it is an obvious, but difficult choice. Yes, I want to see safer practices and better methods of extracting energy sources, but I also think that we should focus on better energy sources like solar and wind. At the same time I am able to see and understand the other side of the story, fracking provides natural gas to thousands of people who need it to heat their houses  and without it they would need a less-clean method of heating their house, or just wouldn’t be able to heat their houses. I agree with the author, Joe Nocera, that the battle should not be about the actual energy sources anymore, but rather should focus on making the sources we are already utilizing safer and better for the environment that they already are. Tough decision, but an interesting debate. Thoughts?


ALSO: I don’t know if someone has already claimed the term “frackenomics,” but if not, IT’S MINE.


Cigarette Tax vs. Smuggling

This article discusses a problem that occurs when state-established cigarette taxes are raised to a point where consumers are no longer willing to buy cigarettes from that state. New York State is the primary example used in the article due to the fact that it has the highest cigarette tax in the country – $4.35 – and three out of every five cigarettes consumed there are smuggled in from lower-tax states. It is interesting to note that consumers, despite their state’s efforts to increase revenue via cigarette taxes, are able to respond in such a way that they will spend the money to smuggle the good from another state. Clearly, the opportunity cost of potentially paying for gas and/or finding someone with out of state cigarettes is more worthwhile than paying an absurd amount of money for convenience.

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Craft Beer and the Excise Tax

This article discusses a bill proposed by two senators, one republican and one democrat, that would lower taxes for small craft brewers around the United States. The idea behind this tax would be to help these smaller breweries make more money, allow them to hire more employees, and to encourage growth within the industry. This would also allow small brewers to compete better against large industrial breweries that dominate the market, but pay relatively low taxes on the massive amount of beer they produce.


“An economic impact study by Dr. John Friedman at Harvard University found that the bill would generate $183.1 million in economic activity in the first year and almost $1.04 billion over five years and would also create nearly 5,230 jobs in just the first year.”

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Uruguayan Parliament approves law for free in vitro fertilization and surrogacy

This article discusses some of the ethical issues about womb renting that we discussed in class. It also brings up issues with homosexual couples using the service to start a family. The issues that many people have with in vitro fertilization and surrogacy are a good example of meddlesome preferences. It has little to no effect on others whether a couple uses procedures to start a family or not. The article also discusses some of the economic issues behind the new law because the government is funding some of the options that the women have. It was interesting to read about the arguments posed by both sides of the issue in a different country.

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The Minimum Wage and the Laws of Economics

The theory in this article is clear on the effects of the minimum wage; increases will reduce employment among marginal workers in the labor force. The empirical evidence, however, is muddled, probably because of the ideological leanings of those doing the research. Nevertheless, I think it is fair to say that far more studies have found negative employment effects than those that found none.

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The Seasonal Job Surge: Supply or Demand?

The article addresses the supply & demand of summer jobs. It seems pretty obvious that both supply and demand are in play here, but it’s especially disingenuous to imply that supply is the dominant factor. Summer jobs aren’t created to prevent teenage boredom, they’re created because of increased demand for leisure services during the summer..

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The recession hits car rental companies.

I found this article to be very interesting. Avis Budget Group cut 7% of its workforce, Hertz net income fell 94% in nine months, Advantage Rent a car filed for bankruptcy, and Dollar Thrifty is soon to file for bankruptcy. In a world where many people travel, rental cars can be at high demand. For travelers and businessmen, they will often rent a car after their flight to get them from point A to point B.  Rental companies are now keeping cars longer instead of purchasing a new one when it reaches a certain mileage. With heavy use on the rental cars over a short period of time means the rental cars are more likely to have road damage or face maintenance issues. It will be very interesting to see if travelers and rental companies face issues with their cars’ in the future.


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