About Brennan

Brennan is a fourth year economics major at the University of Puget Sound.

Zoom is the Exception Not the Rule

During the pandemic the importance of the tech industry as the main sector of future growth becomes ever more apparent. A prime example of this is the video conference platform Zoom, which is most likely going to have replaced many of the conference calls and in-person meetings that took place before the coronavirus outbreak. It is therefore surprising, that the current king of the hill for the video conferencing app war is not a subsidiary of the larger tech companies. While some may point to this as an example of innovation and competition in silicon valley, this is exception not Continue reading Zoom is the Exception Not the Rule

UBI revisited

As unemployment continues to break records every month I along with many, sometimes surprising, others contemplate the possibility of Universal Basic Income. Universal basic income, is the idea that the government guarantee a transfer payment (often suggested of $1000) to all citizens of a country with no preconditions. The idea has always had a strange following of small government types, leftwing progressives, and social conservatives that rarely come together around an idea. Small government types like the idea of replacement for the government bureaucracy of transfer payments. Social conservatives like it, as a way to replace welfare with a more universal system Continue reading UBI revisited

Saying Goodbye to the Reserve Requirements

While many people have been discussing the deficient racing bailouts, or the many fed open market operations, a less discussed occurrence is the end Reserve Requirements. Reserve requirements, are a regulation that the Federal Reserve puts in place that mandates the amount of liquidity that banks must hold relative to their total liabilities and has been a useful tool for preventing bank collapse.  While the reserve requirement as a tool, has a long and storied history dating back to the early 1900s, its status as a mandatory regulation is as recent as the 1980s. So in some ways the end to Continue reading Saying Goodbye to the Reserve Requirements

What it means to graduate During a Recession

As many of my fellow 2020 graduates know, there is a palpable feeling of loss that exists as we end our college career. Not only did we have our senior year cut short, but many of us missed out of the goodbyes and natural endings that would have acted as a capstone on our college career. Now it is very important to note that these do not matter comparatively to what is going on in the world with impoverishment, death and sickness, but it is part of the emotional costs felt by graduating students this year. These emotional costs are Continue reading What it means to graduate During a Recession

Oil Prices, and the Views of Economists

Just as the 1970s was characterized by hyper inflation, it looks like the 2020s may be characterized by deflationary cycling. Specifically, I am referring to the recently negative prices of oil futures that occurred around a month ago. Despite these crazy circumstances it appears that there are still many pundits, politicians, and economists grousing about inflation, it does appear we are entering a deflationary period. I think this is clearly partially to blame on the upbringing of the current stock of politicos, and economists that has led to the current stock of inflationary hawks. If we take that many of Continue reading Oil Prices, and the Views of Economists

Wealth Inequality Part 2

This is a post is part of my continuing coverage of wealth inequality Wealth Inequality is one of the largest issues facing societies around the world today, with the consequences being societal unrest and dissolution. The true scale of wealth inequality is almost hard to imagine with disparities growing increasingly large. There are multiple ways scholars/policy makers have suggested to decrease wealth inequality, but I am going to focus on two direct ones: taxing wealth, and taxing inheritance. Wealth taxes, as discussed in the previous post, are direct taxes on the assets on citizens of a country. Inheritance taxes are Continue reading Wealth Inequality Part 2

An Economic Case for Government News

In the current media landscape it can feel as if there is no escape from clickbait/hyperbole, fake news, and sensationalism. These problems seem so large that many are demanding grand government, or private sector solutions such as censorship and monitoring of news/news-like creations.  However, if we look to the past there is a much easier method for correcting some of the model day problems: publicly funded news. In the early 1900s many newspapers engaged in tactics of story fabrication/embellishment, cheap gimmicks, and badly sourced stories, in order to engage audiences. These papers, called yellow papers, were then sold for a Continue reading An Economic Case for Government News

Should You Use a Umbrella?

Disclaimer: none of the views expressed in this post should be taken too seriously The answer is pretty simple if you live in most of the United States: yes, you should use an umbrella. However, if you are living in Washington, you need to factor in the weird weather patterns and the social ridicule. These are both important elements that can affect your choice in attire/accessories to deal with the weather. In Washington we have about three types of rain: a little stronger than a drizzle, a decent rain, and “its-below-freezing-oh-dear-god-why-can’t-it-just-snow-this-is-so-much-worse.” It is important to note that in Washington you Continue reading Should You Use a Umbrella?

A Taste for Cohabitation

In the past couple of decades the U.S. has seen a shift away from marriage, and towards cohabitation. The declining rate of marriages can be contextualized by the declining rate of religious worship given that marriage often a primarily religious act. However, marriage is also an economic act as married couples can enjoy benefits such as shared insurance benefits, shared pension/retirement benefits, shared social security, and tax benefits. These economic benefits are mostly marriage specific as common-law marriage is not very common in the U.S. This means that we can view these benefits as economic incentives to get married under Continue reading A Taste for Cohabitation

The Economics of Coffee Shop Art

Credit to “.nate” and the twitter emoji project If you have entered into a non-chain coffee shop in the last decade you have likely encountered an interesting phenomenon: ridiculously over-priced art from unknown artists. These pieces of art from postmodernist takes on the human form, to classical paintings of a bowl of fruit. However, they all share the common characteristics of costing enough to give any reasonable person sticker shock, and being the creation of an artist no one has ever heard of. Now you might suggest that the price of art is simply a way to signal value, and Continue reading The Economics of Coffee Shop Art