Economics

Why We Should Not Raise the Minimum Wage

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The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since July 24, 2009. Although this is a long way from the first federal minimum wage of $0.25 an hour in the 1930s, it is not high enough according to some members of Congress, a group of over one hundred professional economists, President Obama, the executive director of the National ... [click for more]

Delete the Fed

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Who should run the Federal Reserve System when chairman Ben Bernanke’s term expires next year: Vice Chair Janet Yellen or former Obama adviser Lawrence Summers? Neither. Who then? No one. The fact is, we need the Federal Reserve like we need a hole in the head. Contrary to folklore, the Fed is not needed to stabilize the economy or to prevent unemployment. As ... [click for more]

FFF Webinar: The Myth of Market Failure (video)

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On Wednesday, August 14, 2013 FFF vice president and editor Sheldon Richman hosted a free, interactive online webinar entitled “The Myth of Market Failure." The webinar was an interactive experience with Sheldon and was limited to 24 participants. Download the audio here. Subscribe to the FFF podcast RSS feed. [click for more]

The Calling: Bumper-Sticker Political Economy

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If you live in a college town, it’s almost a certainty that you’ve seen a bumper sticker along these lines: “Live simply so that others may simply live.” That phrase has the advantage of sounding like it’s based on some underlying economic theory as well as expressing a kind of moral superiority because of its concern for the least ... [click for more]

TGIF: Frédéric Bastiat and Subjective Marginal Utility

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In the 1870s economics took a radical turn in what is known as the “marginal revolution.” Whereas the classical economists, beginning with Adam Smith, cleaved use-value from exchange-value and thought in terms of the total utility and total supplies of goods, Carl Menger, William Stanley Jevons, and Leon Walras realized that people act at the margin. They never choose ... [click for more]

How to Help Fast-Food Workers

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Doubling the minimum wage may seem like a good way to help fast-food workers, but it would hurt them instead. So what should we do? We must sweep away the government-created barriers to income earning, barriers that protect established businesses from competition and rob the most vulnerable people of options. This week, fast-food workers have engaged in 24-hour strikes throughout ... [click for more]

The Zero Interest Option Could Wreck the Economy

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Economic history is primed to repeat in the nastiest of ways unless the government stops distorting the price of something we use every day. Every product, good, or service has a price, which is essential to rational decision-making. We use prices every day as vital data that guide us. Without true prices, prices not distorted by government fiat, we would ... [click for more]

Book Review: The Moral Case for a Free Economy

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Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy by Robert Sirico (Regnery Publishing, 2012), 213 pages. Critics of the free market assert that it fails the underprivileged, leads to income inequality, exploits the poor, and is at times downright cruel. They charge its defenders with being motivated by greed, selfishness, and materialism, and making a god out ... [click for more]

The Economics Lesson Obama Needs to Learn

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President Obama is again turning his attention to the elusive economic recovery. His “pivot” will be for naught, however, as long as he continues to ignore two important points: first, government is a major squanderer of scarce resources, and second, its regulations are impediments to saving and investment. We live in a world of scarcity. At any given time our ... [click for more]

The Calling: Public and Private Risk

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There’s nothing like a good Facebook debate to provide fodder for explaining core ideas in political economy. I recently expressed concern about the risks of a proposal in Oregon to allow students to pay for their education at state schools by having their postgraduation wages garnished by 3 percent for 24 years. In response, a friend asked ... [click for more]
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