May 25, 1994 |
One of the worst things about an economic crisis is that we are forced to turn to the professional economists for enlightenment. But it is easier to read a physician's prescription than to understand an economist. And to make things worse, no two economists ever agree. If they sense an agreement, one of them quickly shifts position. They realize that if they agreed, it could drive down the market value of both of them. But at last I have found one of them who makes complete sense.
June 20, 1993 |
Oh, the harsh lessons that being in business teaches. A poor location can kill retail sales, Jonathan Malick came to realize. William Cory discovered that his used cars didn't move quickly, but that those irresistible stuffed animals almost sold out. And to garner a good profit, Kevin Golebiewski had to raise his prices on bracelets. The fact that these entrepreneurs were second graders in Ann Western's Plymouth Elementary School class made the exercises in economics no less significant.
November 5, 1987 |
Start with French theologian Georges Bernanos: "The worst, the most corrupting lies are problems poorly stated. " Next, the problem. THE CRASH, as Time magazine described the event on a cover. Preceded by the twin towers, the budget deficit and the trade deficit. What preceded the twin towers? did the deficits come about? What is the nature of this problem? The president has given us the only answer available to him. Asked about "the economic mess" on Oct. 22, he explained that it is the result of one party in Congress pursuing "for more than half a century the Keynesian theory of deficit spending.
April 29, 2008 |
John McCain admits economics are not his passion, and that's fine. His past instincts were mostly good. He voted against tax cuts not paid for by savings elsewhere. He fought earmarks, earning the wrath of big-spenders in his own Republican Party. As president, he could hire some economic brain to do the big thinking about money. But he really shouldn't wait for that. Unfortunately, it seems no one in his camp has been doing much big thinking on the subject. He tried to make a speech on economic policy in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago, but it sorely needed a captain.
August 14, 1994 |
Here's something to chew on during these summer nights bereft of baseball. Contrary to what you might think, major-league ballplayers - those pitcher- plutocrats and millionaire middle infielders who walked off the job last week- are not overpaid. On the whole, they get less than they're worth. In some cases, a lot less. Even at an average of $1.2 million a year. This is not a strike-induced hallucination. Nor is it players' union propaganda. It's the opinion of reputable economists, with no ax to grind, who have studied baseball's payrolls and profits and calculated how much players add to the bottom line.
October 12, 1994 |
A couple is negotiating over vacation plans. He wants Alaska. She wants Europe. He appeals to her sense of adventure, then to her love of the outdoors. But finally, he gives in, knowing from their years of marriage that no strategy will change the mind of his determined spouse. Some would call it common sense, but economists would say the couple's behavior is best explained by a mathematical equation that can be applied equally to the behavior of nations, multinational corporations, grocers and even poker players: They call it the Nash equilibrium.
January 19, 2001 |
A new municipality, complete with a mayor, judge, police chief, and several commercial enterprises, sprang into existence here this week. The entity, Exchange City, is only about 150 feet long and 45 feet wide and occupies the first floor of the Crozer Building, at Fifth Street and the Avenue of the States. It was not the creation of the Pennsylvania state legislature; it is the brainchild of Junior Achievement of Delaware Valley Inc., a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that helps educate young people about the role of economics in society.
April 11, 1995 |
Negotiating a contract this spring is like hitting with an 0-2 count. Forget about seeing anything great. The Phillies concluded most of their post-strike financial business before regular players had been back even a week, quickly signing the third baseman they wanted for a reasonable price, expediting their two arbitration cases, and adding a few inexpensive free agents. All of which proves that while the Phils might not yet have a backup shortstop, they've got a clubhouse filled with economic realists: Charlie Hayes knew that if he wanted to sign with a team of his choosing, he would have to make some concessions.
October 10, 1993 |
The Montgomery County trash police were waiting when the dump truck arrived recently at a landfill near Scranton. The police told the driver to deposit his load on the ground, and they began rooting through the smelly debris, piece by piece. Their quest? Evidence that the trash had been illegally spirited out of their county. The results: Inconclusive. But they'd be back. Again and again. In August, Delaware County officials sued two local companies, alleging that they had cheated the county out of nearly $1.2 million in revenues by having the nerve to take their trash elsewhere.
November 20, 1998 |
When Joseph F. Flubacher entered La Salle College in 1931, the Depression was grinding the country down. La Salle was all-male, all-commuter, practically all-white, and tuition was $400 a year. By the time Flubacher ceased his weekly visits to the campus about a year ago, America was enjoying a record bull market. La Salle had become a university, the student body included more women than men, residents outnumbered commuters in the freshman class, minorities accounted for a fifth of the student body, and annual tuition stood at nearly $15,000.