Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality

The Price Con

Assume you decided to build a new home and contracted with a builder to construct it for $300,000. Several months later, after the basement is finished, the builder comes back and says, “I underestimated my costs, and the house will now cost $900,000.” Would you pay the additional amount?

Assume you ordered a new car from a dealer for an agreed upon $20,000 price. Two weeks later, the dealer calls and says the car will now cost $60,000. Would you pay more?

In both the above cases, you would refuse to pay the additional amount, because in the real world of competitive private sellers and buyers, such behavior by a seller would be unacceptable. However, what we find unacceptable behavior in our private dealings becomes the norm when dealing with government.

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The Deficit Bugaboo

Are we better off having lower taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains (and other taxes on capital) or having a lower deficit? Obscure as it may seem, this is the central economic debate being fought in the political arena. To fund any given level of government spending, our political leaders have to choose how much of the spending should Read More ›

European Union on a glass ball in front of shining lights

The Economic Ruin of Europe

Assume the villain in a new James Bond movie has the goal of the economic destruction of Europe. How would he do it? First some background. In the 1960s and 1970s, Europe boasted brisk economic growth. From 1965 to 1974, government spending in Western Europe averaged 37 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), and economic growth averaged 4.3 percent Read More ›

Portraits / images / the eyes of famous leader on banknotes, currencies of the most dominant countries in the world i.e. Japanese yen, US dollar, Chinese yuan, Australian dollar. Financial concept.

Follow the Money

If you want to catch a criminal or terrorist, does it make sense to “follow the money”? A “yes” answer makes sense if you can identify at least one of the individuals or institutions connected with the suspected wrongdoer. However, if you are trying to follow money flows in general or all money flows, it is not likely your work Read More ›

Euro bandiera
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Pinning Hopes on Tax Competition

What would your reaction be if you learned the countries of the world all decided everyone must drive the same car and this new car must cost at least $50,000? In this hypothetical situation, the rationale given for this decision is that some countries were able to make cars more inexpensively than other countries, and this was not fair to Read More ›