Higher education is a lucrative industry. Millions of students funnel billions of dollars into universities to not only attain an undergraduate degree but to also live the so-called “college experience.” But just like every other industry, it has been hit hard by the coronavirus, and students are rethinking whether the virtual, online college experience is worth the high price tag.Continue Reading

Enrico Moretti, Professor of Economics, here at UC Berkeley, starts off his book ‘The New Geography of Jobs’ contrasting California’s two cities, Menlo Park and Visalia. Back in 1969, they had comparable income levels and high-paying jobs. But since then, these cities have diverged. Visalia has one of the lowest average salaries in America, while Menlo Park, and the broader Silicon Valley, has the second-highest average salary in the US with its high paying tech employers. Continue Reading

In 1971, President Richard Nixon officially proclaimed a war on drugs. Since then, the United States has spent well over $1 trillion on drug prevention and detainment. “If we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely in time destroy us,” Nixon told Congress in 1971. “I am not prepared to accept this alternative.” The goal of the war on drugs is to reduce drug use. The specific aim is to destroy and inhibit the international drug trade — making drugs scarcer and costlier, and therefore making drug habits in the US unaffordable.Continue Reading

States have a tax problem. The most consistently profitable companies in the Fortune 500 only pay about half the statutory federal income tax rate—a fourth pay less than 10 percent. Some even get refunds from Uncle Sam—despite making over $160 billion in pre-tax profits, an astounding 30 companies have enjoyed a negative income tax rate in the past three years.Continue Reading

In the earlier days of the Internet, tech companies relied on free content to attract users. As the volume of digital content surged, however, quality did not necessarily keep up. It was a struggle to weed through low-quality content, and the time-poor, money-rich in China were willing to pay someone else to do the curating. This was when Ximalaya invited users to become hosts themselves and began to leverage their reputation to charge a fee for their content. With high accessibility, a growing awareness of intellectual property among Chinese netizens, and the convenience of mobile payments Ximalaya got the Chinese to pay for digital content. Ximalaya now has over 5 million hosts who curate and advertise their content, driving sales for the company as a result.Continue Reading

“Factories with Fences” and “American Made” boasts UNICOR. Better known as the Federal Prison Industries program, UNICOR makes nearly half a billion dollars in net sales annually using prison labor, paying inmates between 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. Despite already earning one-sixth of the federal minimum wage, inmates with final obligations must contribute half of their earnings to cover those expenses. UNICOR, in addition to other government-owned corporations and private prisons, makes millions upon millions of dollars using nearly free prison labor.Continue Reading

About a year ago, I wrote this article about why the Fed was raising rates in trying to engineer a soft landing. The objective was to prevent an overheated economy and high inflation rates, given the record unemployment levels among other things. The theory goes that tight labor markets lead to wage growth. Wage growth leads to high inflation. Raising rates might prevent that. This was the sentiment at the Fed over a year ago.Continue Reading

Despite recent metrics around the globe showing severe production declines as a result of coronavirus, Chinese GDP growth continues to be one of the fastest among developed and developing nations. That’s not a new story. While the rest of the world experienced recessions and layoffs, China blew through the 2008-2012 years, reaching an all-time productivity growth peak of 11 percent in 2011. By all official accounts, China is on track to surpass aggregate U.S. output and take the mantle of economic hegemony within the next several decades.Continue Reading