Economics @ ITT

Sundown in America

Posted in economics, macroeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 31, 2013

Whilst I agree with parts of Chicken Little’s David Stockman’s OpEd piece, it is quite reductionist and misses as many points as it hits.

Over the last 13 years, the stock market has twice crashed and touched off a recession: American households lost $5 trillion in the 2000 dot-com bust and more than $7 trillion in the 2007 housing crash. Sooner or later — within a few years, I predict — this latest Wall Street bubble, inflated by an egregious flood of phony money from the Federal Reserve rather than real economic gains, will explode, too.

via Sundown in America – NYTimes.com.

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The Supreme Court Has the Constitutional Power to Hike Medicine Prices to 5x Their Cost?

Posted in antitrust, economics, Policy Issues, Regulation, Taxation by ittecon on March 30, 2013

U.S. pharmaceuticals get a very good deal from the federal government. For every new drug they produce, they get rewarded with long-term patents that grant them exclusive rights to market and sell the product for as much as 20 years – which guarantees them billions in profits and no competitors in the marketplace. Drug companies claim that they must be allowed to profit off of products they nurtured with expensive research and development. In reality, taxpayer-funded research from academia or the National Institutes of Health account for the vast majority of vital drugs brought to market every year, and R&D is a small fraction of the overall drug company budget. What’s more, drug companies routinely use their monopoly power to jack up pharmaceutical prices, which cost far more in the U.S. than anywhere in the world.

via Where Does It Say the Supreme Court Has the Constitutional Power to Hike Medicine Prices to 5x Their Cost? | Alternet.

Want to fight climate change? Get rid of $1.9 trillion in energy subsidies.

Posted in economics, environment by ittecon on March 30, 2013

What’s the simplest way to tackle global warming? Make sure that fossil fuels are priced properly and not subsidized. Is it really that easy? That’s the core idea behind a large new report from the International Monetary Fund, which argues that the world “misprices” fossil fuels to the tune of some $1.9 trillion per year.

via IMF: Want to fight climate change? Get rid of $1.9 trillion in energy subsidies..

Let it Bleed?

Posted in economics, macroeconomics by ittecon on March 30, 2013

In the 12 years of the Great Depression – between the stock-market crash of 1929 and America’s mobilization for World War II – production in the United States averaged roughly 15% below the pre-depression trend, implying a total output shortfall equal to 1.8 years of GDP. Today, even if US production returns to its stable-inflation output potential by 2017 – a huge “if” – the US will have incurred an output shortfall equivalent to 60% of a year’s GDP.

via Let it Bleed? by J. Bradford DeLong – Project Syndicate.

Should smokers pay more for health insurance?

Posted in economics, environment, externalities, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 29, 2013

The answer, should you want to know, is an unqualified yes.

Like lots of people who enjoy their vices, smokers like to invoke their constitutional right to light up. I don’t dispute that. So feel free to get lung cancer, American freedom fighter, but don’t forget that the rest of us are sucking up your second-hand smoke and helping foot your considerably heftier medical bills.

via Should smokers pay more for health insurance? – latimes.com.

Why Is Socialism Doing So Darn Well in Deep-Red North Dakota?

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 29, 2013

North Dakota is the very definition of a red state. It voted 58 percent to 39 percent for Romney over Obama, and its statehouse and senate have a total of 104 Republicans and only 47 Democrats. The Republican super-majority is so conservative it recently passed the nations most severe anti-abortion resolution – a measure that declares a fertilized human egg has the same right to life as a fully formed person.

via Why Is Socialism Doing So Darn Well in Deep-Red North Dakota? | Alternet.

The Insourcing Boom

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 27, 2013

After years of offshore production, General Electric is moving much of its far-flung appliance-manufacturing operations back home. It is not alone. An exploration of the startling, sustainable, just-getting-started return of industry to the United States.

via The Insourcing Boom – Charles Fishman – The Atlantic.

The Future of Shopping?

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 27, 2013

I am keeping my eyes open to technology that is facilitating (though not perfecting) information symmetry.

As Amy enters Danella, a sales associate greets her by name and walks her to a dressing room stocked with her online selections—plus some matching shoes and a cocktail dress. She likes the shoes, so she scans the bar code into her smartphone and finds the same pair for $30 less at another store. The sales associate quickly offers to match the price, and encourages Amy to try on the dress. It is daring and expensive, so Amy sends a video to three stylish friends, asking for their opinion. The responses come quickly: three thumbs down. She collects the items she wants, scans an internet site for coupons (saving an additional $73), and checks out with her smartphone.

via The Future of Shopping – Harvard Business Review.

Bye, Bye American Dream! Economic Inequality Is Permanent

Posted in economics, Income Redistribution, Policy Issues, Taxation by ittecon on March 23, 2013

A new study by a team of economists in academia and the government has concluded that economic inequality is a permanent—not temporary—feature in the United States, based on an analysis of 350,000 federal income tax returns between 1987 and 2009.

via Bye, Bye American Dream! U.S. Economic Inequality Is Permanent, Study Finds | Alternet.

Federal judge: ‘Clipping’ news articles violates copyright law

Posted in economics by ittecon on March 22, 2013

A US federal judge has ruled that the online news “clipping” service Meltwater violates copyright law by using excerpts from Associated Press articles, the parties said Thursday.

via Federal judge: ‘Clipping’ news articles violates copyright law | The Raw Story.