How Do Seniors in the Northeast Spend Their Money?

Over the past 25 years, the spending patterns of retirees (age 65 and over) have moved in response to increases (and falls) in the costs of goods and services, changes in retirement income and shifts in priorities. More seniors carry mortgage and credit card debt than in the past, but generally the economic well-being of seniors has improved, particularly in the area of discretionary spending. How have their spending habits changed?

Effects of a Border-adjusted Corporate Tax

U.S. firms pay the world’s highest corporate tax rate — a federal tax of 39.1 percent combined with an average 4.1 percent state tax on profits from domestic sales, or foreign sales (when and if the profits are repatriated). In contrast, the lower tax rate embedded in the prices of those goods produced in other countries and shipped to the United States often gives them a competitive advantage, whether due to other countries’ lower valueadded taxes (VAT) or much lower corporate tax rates.

Why Trump’s Industrial Policy Will Fail

President Trump appears set to press for a mixed bag of fiscal and trade policies that will likely have contradictory effects. In addition to taking pages from President Ronald Reagan’s agenda to lower corporate and personal tax rates, trim government spending and deregulate business, President Trump also seems committed to pushing a version of the Democrats’ 1980s “New Industrial Policy” agenda.

Terrorism in Latin America (Part One): The Infiltration of Islamic Extremists

The threat from Islamic extremists in Latin America remains an overlooked aspect of U.S. national security strategy. And the threat is worsening – not “waning” as the Obama administration claimed about Iran in 2013. The Trump administration should shift U.S. priorities in Latin America to strategies that preemptively disrupt the financial networks of Islamists, aid allied governments with legal and law enforcement support, and increase intelligence-gathering capabilities in the region.

Who Is Responsible for Rising Drug Costs?

Americans’ prescription drug bills are rising. Most drugs are affordable, but prices for a few drugs exceed the average mortgage payment. They can be especially costly when there are only one, two or three patented drugs in a given therapeutic class. Drug makers are free to establish whatever price they believe the market will bear and, depending on the number of competitors, they could have significant pricing power.

How the Economy Affects Major Asset Classes

Asset performance patterns are not always easy to explain, even over longer time frames. For instance, stock and bond prices are positively correlated, but they are also negatively correlated at various times. Asset prices also move differently in periods of uncertainty than in quieter times.

How to Make New Drugs More Affordable

Over the past several years, a few high-priced drugs have elevated drug spending to a political issue. Patients are more sensitive to rising costs due to increasing deductibles and, because consumers pay more of their drug costs, pharmaceutical companies are less able to pass on high prices without anyone noticing.

The American Dream is Alive and Well – Among Orphanage Alumni!

Over the last several years, national media have reported discouraging news on the survival of the American Dream. One study found that a sizable majority — just under 60 percent — of Americans have lost hope that they will achieve the American Dream. They are even more discouraged about their children’s futures. A recent study suggests a cause: The percentage of Americans earning more than their parents did at the same age has plunged since the 1970s.

Proposed Payday Lending Rule Will Hurt Lower-Income Consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal agency created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to protect consumers from “unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices” by financial institutions. On June 2, 2016, the CFPB proposed federal regulations for the short-term loan industry.

The Economics of NATO Expansion

In his January 1997 State of the Union speech, President Bill Clinton lauded the
expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into Central and East
Europe, saying America’s “first task is to help to build…an undivided, democratic Europe.” However, the president also expressed a desire to expand NATO in the hope of fostering seamless military cooperation across Europe.

Cyber Threats to the Texas Electric Grid

Texas plays a unique role in America’s infrastructure as the only state with a self-contained electric grid. The entire U.S. electric power system is a prime target of cyberattacks from hostile governments and terrorist organizations, but the Lone Star State is in a unique position to act.

A Bogus Solution for High Drug Costs

Most of the drugs Americans take are lower cost generics — accounting for about 88 percent of prescriptions. Generics are cheap because they are no longer protected by patents and different manufacturers …

What Is Important — and Not Important — about Inflation

From early times investors have rightly worried about the instability of the price level. Inflations large enough to wipe out real returns from stocks and bonds are all too common. Does that require that the rate of inflation be a vital consideration in investment decisions? Not necessarily. It is not so much inflation itself, but its instability or unpredictability that hardest hits investment performance. Egged on by statisticians, the Federal Reserve, pundits and the press, investors spend scarce time and resources arguing about the degree of inflation. Yet the facts suggest much of the fuss is unnecessary.

Four Failed Federal Education Reforms

Over the years, federal funding of primary and secondary education has increased, while students’ academic performance has flatlined. For instance, the high school reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Education …