This week, I have decided to forgo spotlighting an issue or an article on the blog. Instead, I’m going to share one of my all-time favorite sources of economic tidbits: APM Marketplace’s Final Note. This feed is updated approximately every week day. It is a written-out version of Kai Rysdall’s closing segment to their radio show, which is only half a minute or so of air time. Thus, the material is brief… but it still packs a pretty good punch. Here are a few of my favorite more recent tidbits from the Final Note feed:
This final note on the way out: the actual costs of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal. The company said Wednesday it lost $1.8 billion last quarter, partly as a result of the billions its had to set aside to pay damages. On Thursday, though, the first peer-reviewed study of the public health costs of the extra pollution was published in Environmental Research Letters. It says about 60 people have already died prematurely — that’s just in this country.
You know, there are “studies and reports” out all the time talking about the costs of lost productivity in the workplace from all kinds of random things, like the NCAA basketball tournament, the Olympics, what have you. And honestly, they’re usually from sort of random groups looking for a little press. But there was one out earlier this month from a more reputable institution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was published in the American Journal of Preventive Health, and talked about the productivity costs of excess alcohol use. It’s a lot. We’re hungover at work to the tune of $77 billion a year.
Once again, it pays to read the fine print. The budget deal Congress and the White House worked out is more than 100 pages long. Section 1201 reads, in its entirety: “The first floor of the area of the House of Representatives wing of the United States Capitol known as the small House rotunda is designated the ”Freedom Foyer’.'” Democracy only works with an informed citizenry, you know.
Anyways, I find that it’s a consistent gem in my feed, so check it out! You can follow it via RSS here.