5 victims of the $15 minimum wage

As protests for a $15-per-hour minimum wage continue to rage across the country, cities like Seattle and states like California and New York have already begun to adopt such schemes. But alas, prices are not play things, and such measures are bound to reap a range of deleterious effects, from raised consumer prices to increased unemployment to reduced working hours to outright business closures. Continue Reading...

Thomas Sowell’s escape from socialism

Earlier today I mentioned that economist Thomas Sowell was retiring from writing his syndicated column. For decades Sowell, age 86, has been one of the leading thinkers in the libertarian and conservative circles. Continue Reading...

Is ‘fair trade’ fair?

Most consumers have heard of fair-trade coffee, but have no idea how fair-trade actually works. In this video, economist Victor Claar covers the basics of the fair-trade model, and explores whether fair trade can deliver on its promises to help the poor. Continue Reading...

The economics of Bedford Falls (Part 3 of 3)

[Note: This is the final post in a series highlighting some of the financial aspects and broad economic lessons of Frank Capra’s holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. You can find part one here and part two here.] Economist Don Boudreaux recently outlined ten foundational lessons that should be learned in every well-taught principles of economics course. Continue Reading...

The economics of Bedford Falls (Part 2 of 3)

[Note: This is the second post in a series highlighting some of the financial aspects and broad economic lessons of Frank Capra’s holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. You can find part one here.]  George’s Life Savings in a Life Insurance Policy George attempts to secure a loan from Potter based on his life insurance policy. Continue Reading...

The economics of Bedford Falls (Part 1 of 3)

Upon it’s initial release in 1946, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life was something of a financial flop, failing to reach the break-even point of $6.3 million. Although it was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it wasn’t until subsequent decades that it became recognized as one of the greatest Christmas film ever made.* The film is long overdue for another reappraisal, for it’s also one of the best films ever created about economics and financial services. Continue Reading...

Deck the halls with macro follies

During the holiday shopping season the media inevitably talks about consumer spending, and how it is vital to economic growth and job creation. But if people are buying more that means that are saving less. Continue Reading...

A ‘Pinocchio’ Rating for Pope Francis

Sandro Magister, Vatican correspondent for L’Espresso, notes in his Italian blog a recent TV program that “fact checks” the pope’s economics. Here’s a translation of the blog post: In his speeches Pope Francis often puts forth original theories of dubious foundations but that, for him, are of unshakable certainty and explain everything. Continue Reading...