Letters from the Roosevelts

President Obama must learn from Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt that the mark of an historic and effective Presidency is to embrace the role of commander-in-chief, especially in terms of the relationship with the media and Congress. With these models guiding his actions, he will be on the right path to a historic presidency and American will have a better chance of being on the right path into the future.

Occupy Wall Street

There is a nebulous and intangible potential to the Occupy Wall Street movement. More ad-hoc than substance or policy, the movement nonetheless reflects an important, although somewhat misdirected, economic and political critique. Of the cast of characters that occupy Zuccotti Park, (now known collectively as ‘Liberty Park’), it is perhaps the drum circle leading, environmental advocate cum libertarian and gold-standard enthusiast who reflects just how scattered the movements participants are. Indeed, skeptics have questioned whether the array of grievances—from the poetic and arcane to the irate and ill informed—signal an…

The American Disconnect in Party Politics

Partisanship is not a new phenomenon in American politics, neither are the things that divide us: Rich/poor, black/white, young/old, red/blue. Yet there is a sense and a fear that these divisions have come to reflect cracks in the fabric of our democracy. What had previously bound us in a common ambition and outlook—a love of country based on a shared knowledge of how and why it began, an identification with an auspicious beginning that called for us to comport ourselves in the very ideals and aspirations of our founders—has been…

Puerto Rico and Economic Independence

Hindsight is the best economist. It always has the solution for everything. On the 1994 Tequila crisis that started in Mexico: “They should have either managed capital inflows through capital controls, or they should have let their exchange rate adapt to those inflows.” On Latin American hyperinflation: “Policy makers should have recognized that domestic debt issuances used to support ISI policies and an overvalued exchange rate led to unsustainable inflationary pressures once the exchange rate was devalued”. On the European debt crisis: “Governments should get their fiscal policies in sync…

Rare Earth Metals: Not So Rare After All?

Pick up your iPhone, turn on the television or drive a hybrid car, you will find a common thread among these products: rare earth metals. Suddenly the focus of several converging trends in the global economy, rare earth metals have become as ubiquitos as the very consumer products they are used to create. Don’t let the name fool you. These unpronouncable metals are relatively plentiful in the Earth’s crust, and can be extracted from a diversity of sites around the globe, from southeastern Nebraska, to Western Australia. Yet the demand…

Reworking the U.S. Corporate Income Tax Rate

One of the hottest questions in U.S. politics today is, “Does the high U.S. corporate income tax rate relative to other countries, act as a disincentive for multinational firms to invest in the U.S.?” “Has the U.S. corporate tax rate make American firms less competitive globally and cause them to export jobs and capital overseas?” To examine these questions, it is important to know just how much U.S. corporations must pay in total corporate income tax. According to the Organization for Economic Development’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, the…

The Price of Learning

Due to new legislation, college students in the United Kingdom will be required to pay higher tuition fees starting in the fall of 2012.  While 2011 tuition rates for universities will cost students up to £3,375 (approximately $5,400) annually, the new policies will nearly double most tuition to £6,000 per year and allow some universities to charge £9,000 per year in exceptional cases. The tuition increases set off waves of protests and debate throughout the country as students and politicians try to cope with conflicting interests in the midst of…