Fitness Apartheid? A moral look at price discrimination

Fitness Apartheid. That’s right, apartheid. That’s one way the housing market in New York City has been described recently by a tenant. An inflammatory word? Absolutely. Comparing exclusive fitness centers to an entire history of racially based and politically enforced segregation is entirely inappropriate and I don’t support it in the least. However, the housing market in New York is a battle ground and the actions that landlords are taking have become downright offensive. This episode of Freakonomics explores the idea of price discrimination through first class airplane seats, “the poor door”, and yes, an exclusive fitness center. To listen to the episode, Continue reading Fitness Apartheid? A moral look at price discrimination

Inequality matters… but so do the details.

A lot of public attention has been paid recently to economic inequality, from the Occupy Movement’s “We are the 99%” to more recent debates over hiking the minimum wage. Sometimes lost in this discussion are important questions such as which inequalities matter most and how they vary throughout an individual’s lifetime. Sociologist Mark Rank and a co-author looked beyond the static distribution of income into the mobility of individuals throughout their lives within the income distribution. Their results suggest that income distribution is more complex than the oversimplified picture of “one-percenters,” as if they were a relatively fixed collection of Continue reading Inequality matters… but so do the details.

The Institute for New Economic Thinking

After the Great Recession, as the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 has become known as, the need for greater economic research led to the founding of The Institute for New Economic Thinking. This think-tank is dedicated to the perpetuation of economic innovation and sharing new economic thought. One could practically get lost in the depths of information, interviews, videos, and blogs through-out their website. Here is just a glimpse at what they have to offer with a post from The Institute’s Blog: The Chartbook of Economic Inequality By Tony Atkinson and Salvatore Morelli. “The acute loss of job prospects, especially among the young, the Continue reading The Institute for New Economic Thinking

The Real Job Creators

Job Creators. It’s a term that’s been thrown around a lot in the media in recent years. It’s most commonly used as a term of endearment for wealthy business owners, usually in an attempt to defend them from new taxes or regulations that would hurt their bottom line, and by the media’s logic, hurt the labor market. In this view, the wealthy are like benevolent dictators, creating jobs only when taxes and regulations are to their liking. But this simply isn’t the case. As venture capitalist Nick Hanauer points out, businesses do not just generate jobs out of the goodness Continue reading The Real Job Creators

Poverty, Equitable Taxation, and the Earned Income Tax Credit

Along with his proposal to raise the minimum wage, President Obama is trying to tackle poverty with a broad expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC program essentially gives those earning around and below the federal poverty line ($12,566 a year) a tax credit when they file their taxes. In 2012, it helped lift 6.5 million Americans, including 3.3 million children, out of poverty. President Obama is currently proposing a $60 Billion expansion of the tax credit’s benefits over 10 years. The program’s expansion will in part help to provide greater benefits to childless workers. Currently, the Continue reading Poverty, Equitable Taxation, and the Earned Income Tax Credit