About Nicky Smit

Nicky Smit is a Senior Economics Major, meaning soon he'll be swallowed by economic reality! Thus, he spends his time shooting movies, singing a cappella and writing about things like this info box

Presidential Candidates: What’s Their Economics?

Welcome to part one of a three part series on our presidential candidates’ stances on economic issues. There are so many candidates, I frankly don’t have room to give them all equal representation. So, NOT included in the series will be candidates with very little vote (consistently under 5%), similar stances as other candidates, and/or very little information on their tax plans. That’s Chris Christie, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Martin O’Malley. Sorry to disappoint those supporters. This week, the issue is taxation! No presidential candidate can get by without addressing this contentious issue and how Continue reading Presidential Candidates: What’s Their Economics?

SoundCast – Episode 3: Black Friday

Royalty free music credits go to Bensound (www.bensound.com) for the opener, and “Up on a Housetop” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Full transcript (with links): NICKY: Hello and welcome to episode number three of Soundcast, the Econ Department’s official Podcast. I’m one of your hosts, Nicky Smit. COLE: And I’m host number two, Cole Driscoll, and have we got a topic for today. You guessed it, Black Friday. NICKY: And Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving and all these other days with big sales. There’s something of interest happening here, Black Friday sales went down. C: And so did in-store sales on Thanksgiving. This Episode Continue reading SoundCast – Episode 3: Black Friday

Going All Out on Fuel Efficiency

Have you ever been on the freeway, going 10 miles over the speed limit and laughing at all those suckers biting your dust? Well, I got news for you. They’re laughing right back, because your tank is emptying much faster than theirs. Let’s be honest, 10 above the speed limit is the real speed limit, so you don’t have to perform a benefit-cost analysis of whether speeding down I-5 at 70 is worth the risk of a ticket. Instead, you should be wondering whether the time saved going 70 instead of 60 (or dare I say 55) is worth the Continue reading Going All Out on Fuel Efficiency

Soundcast – Episode 1: New Min Wage on Campus

In recent news, Tacoma voters just passed city Initiative 1B, which gradually raises the minimum wage for Tacoma from its current $9.47 to $12 over the next three years. They chose this over the options of going straight to $15 this January, and of doing nothing. That makes our first ever podcast outdated already! In our interview with UPS’ Executive Director of Community Engagement and Associate Vice President for Business Services, John Hickey, we asked how the University might react to the two different increases if they were enacted. Give it a listen!

Urban Farming

Farming in cities? What are you, MAD? Believe it or not, farming in cities is not only widespread, but has tons of benefit. Urban agriculture accounts for up to 15% of the world’s food. Japan, The Netherlands, and Chile have more urban than rural farms. Sydney, Australia produced a billion dollars worth of agricultural goods alone, some 12% of the state’s production. In 2014, Detroit produced enough to feed over 600 people for a year, and in 2008, Philadelphia produced 2 million pounds of vegetables. Urban agriculture doesn’t take one form. A good portion is in the style of community Continue reading Urban Farming


Last week I had the pleasure, nay, the honor, to attend the joint Canadian and United States Ecological Economics (CANUSSEE) Conference. Its host was the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada, and so it was a drive but worth every grueling second. I jest. My company was fellow Sound Economics writer Miranda Kraus and chauffeur/Professor Lea Fortmann, and for three days I ate, drank, and sneezed economics. Scholars spanning the states and provinces flew in and paid mega sums of money to give PowerPoint spiels, violently network, and occasionally yell “Bullshit!” during each other’s talks. With more than 70 Continue reading Oh Say CANUSSEE

More Marijuana Money

This article is a part two. Look here for last week’s! Welcome back to more marijuana market talk. Last week, I covered how the buildup of stock and reduction of state taxes have helped lower the price of legal weed from a $30-per-gram high, to the more moderate $11.50 per gram. This week I’ll explain other reasons for this drop, and what would make it drop further. Oh how our lives will change. Entrance Woes Not just anyone can sell weed legally. You need a permit, and these are doled out in a most restrictive and regulated fashion. Washington’s Liquor Continue reading More Marijuana Money

Marijuana Money

This article is a part one. Look for the second half next week! I remember proudly voting for the legalization of weed. July 8, 2014, marked the opening of legal vendors in Washington State, and lines of Americans stretched for miles outside the few stores that qualified. Sadly, I wasn’t 21 so I didn’t partake in that historic occasion, but plenty sure did. In the first month, Washington sold $3.8 million in pot from just eighteen stores. If that sounds impressive, one year later, a combined 160 stores were selling more than $1.4 million each day. I’m certain that even Continue reading Marijuana Money

Washington is Actually the most Unfair Tax State

Over the summer I worked as a cashier at a tourist shop in Seattle. That means hardly any customers were from Washington, and that means hardly anyone expected our whopping sales tax. “Oh yes, taxes,” an elder German would sigh, not used to having it left out of the price tag. A Coloradan would demand to know why it was so high – Denver has a sales tax of 3.65% compared to Seattle’s 9.5%. A Montanan would laugh and flash their ID. Any resident from the five states without sales tax – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon – Continue reading Washington is Actually the most Unfair Tax State