The Government and Economic Stimulus

Nowhere is the need for better education more apparent than when politicians talk about “economic stimulus.” And it doesn't matter which political party we are talking about.

Ignorance About Economic Stimulus

The other day I heard a person with a business background suggest that if he could pass just one law he would require all members of congress to take a basic course in economics! That might be a good idea.

One party seems to think that spending money on almost anything is a stimulus to the economy. The other seems to think that cutting taxes on almost anything is a stimulus. But will either of these help?


Do Government Jobs Hurt the Economy?

Why do people who understand economics object when government jobs are proposed as part of the solution for the economic difficulties America and the world is facing today? Even though those making proposals to increase public hiring often seem not to understand the problem, there is a solid basis for objecting—especially when the money must be borrowed to do so.

Government Vs Private Jobs

Government (public) jobs are paid for by taking money from the private economy. There is no other funding source for the government other than taking from the productivity of the private economy. This means that in the end every public job is at the expense of jobs in the private sector.

This is not inherently bad, by the way. It is the way government works.


Ben Bernanke, Treacherous or Treasonous?

When Texas governor, Rick Perry, implied (well it might have been a little stronger than an implication!) that Ben Bernanke might have bordered on being treasonous in some of his past or possibly proposed actions as chairman of the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, he stirred up a hornet's nest.

Unfortunately, almost all of the public discussion about this event considered whether or not this was a civil or “politically correct” thing to say. None of it that I heard focused on the issue that drove the comment, specifically…


Should You Start Your Own One Person Business Now?

Every cloud has a silver lining. At least that’s what the proverbial they say! And when it comes to the economy that may well be the case….

Every day the government makes it harder for a person to start and build any kind of economically sound business. That’s not a political statement, at least not altogether. It is a bureaucratic statement….

But here is the silver lining….


Can You Ever Afford to Retire?

After writing about how the price of health care and everything else does indeed double every ten years, more or less, I knew I wanted to follow up with a few thoughts about retirement planning and how the compounded effect of normal inflation must be considered in planning for retirement.

When Social Security was first established in America the retirement age was 65 years while people lived, on average, only a couple of years longer. Now, life expectancy in America is nearing 80!

In other words, people may well see their cost of living double twice during retirement. Actually, some may experience much more since living to age 100 is not at all unusual.

Consider a very real potential.


Cost of Health Care to Double in Ten Years!

Proponents and opponents of various health care reforms, each with different agendas, have warned that the cost of health care insurance will double in the next ten years unless we adopt their plan to stem the tide. Flash news! The cost of health care and health care insurance will double in ten years, regardless of what anyone does.

Inflation fluctuates of course, so some limited periods are more and others are less, but in the end the averages catch up with you. And on average, costs double in about ten years—always, for everything.


Is This a Good Time to Buy a Home?

In the face of our current financial crisis a question that arises rather often is one of whether or not this is a reasonable time to buy a home. Should we? Or should we not?

All other concerns being satisfied, this is not only a reasonable time to buy a home, it is an excellent time to do so. In fact, I would say that it is an important time to do so if you are in a position to do so.


Tax Refunds Are Bad for You

As usual at this time of the year I am once again hearing folks talk about what they are going to do with their tax refund. No matter how many tax and financial advisers suggest that it is not good planning to be getting a big tax refund, everyone seems to love it.

Why? Because of what they can buy with it. In these economic times I expect to hear people talk about saving or paying off bills with the refund, but instead they are talking about…


Slow to Learn About Money | Too Soon Old; Too Late Smart

Why are we so slow to learn about money? It is an old saying that we have all heard before: “We get too soon old and too late smart.” Sadly, there is all too much truth in that line, and nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to money.

I think it is an interesting question to ask why this is so.


Are You Ready to Retire?

Occasionally a statistic pops out at you that sort of hits you in the head. I read one this afternoon. It’s not a surprising number for me, but it is one that is downright scary when you think about some of the realities of our times.

I read this in the Retirement Confidence Survey published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. It reports that in 2010, twenty-seven percent of Americans say they have less than $1,000 in savings. Furthermore, more than half of workers (54 percent) report that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plans (there are only 38,000 of these), is less than $25,000.