Category: Essays

The Constitutional Case for the EPA

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There has been a lot of attention around President Trump’s director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt. It was clear when Pruitt was appointed that the Trump administration was not taking environmental protection seriously. Pruitt has proved this assumption right by spending taxpayer money frivolously as well as using his post to help his wife find a job. While the Obama administration took the EPA’s responsibilities more seriously than this administration, it had its own share of failures, including taking 10 months to act on information that the city of Flint was not properly treating its water to prevent toxic lead contamination. The EPA has needed better direction for a long time. Let’s explore why that is so important. Continue reading “The Constitutional Case for the EPA”

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Does Trump Deserve Credit for the Stock Market?

As an advocate for economics education, I get upset when I hear bogus economics claims being made in politics and the media. When this happens, consumers are fooled into spending irresponsibly. Voters are fooled into supporting policies detrimental to the economy. This has been on my mind lately as President Trump doesn’t let a day go by without taking credit for how well the U.S. stock market is doing. Continue reading “Does Trump Deserve Credit for the Stock Market?”

The Net Worth Mindset

I didn’t get into studying finance until I was in my 30s, but when I did I studied hard and tried to make myself an expert in it. I had to, because I had to teach it. One of the things I latched onto early was the balance sheet. It fascinated me and continues to command my attention. Predictably, when I learned to look at my own personal balance sheet, my personal financial life literally started to come into balance. Continue reading “The Net Worth Mindset”

Entrepreneurs: The New Adventurers

I am 3 days into the new Intro to Entrepreneurship class that I am teaching to 24 high school students this year. I am already having a blast, as the students—mostly freshmen—are very enthusiastic, despite several of them not being quite sure what entrepreneurship was 3 days ago. We started off by analyzing the etymology of the word entrepreneurship. Etymology is underrated as a tool for studying concepts like this. You get a peek into the cultural perspective of the time and place where the word was first invented. How cool is that?! Continue reading “Entrepreneurs: The New Adventurers”

3 Reality Checks the U.S. Needs to Face Before We Reform Health Care

I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican, and I am not a fan of the political games that the leadership of each party play with our government. I am a independent thinker, and I prefer a rational, quantitative approach to looking at issues and devising solutions to them that are practical, empathy-based, ethical, and constitutional. Politicians at the federal level have shown time and time again that their allegiance is not to the Constitution, to common sense, or to the general welfare of the American people. They serve the minority interests who get them elected and usually re-elected: the establishment leadership of their respective political parties and the campaign donors and special interests who back them. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a perfect example of this process in action. Continue reading “3 Reality Checks the U.S. Needs to Face Before We Reform Health Care”

The Case Against Emergency Funds

Most financial advisors will probably tell you to establish an emergency savings account. I personally am a fan of the emergency fund strategy, but it is different for every person, depending on what kinds of risks they have in their lives. I talk with my finance classes about different types of risk we are exposed to:

  • Concentration risk
  • Income risk
  • Inflation risk
  • Interest rate risk
  • Liquidity risk
  • Personal risk

Emergency savings can help with some of these risks, like a medical emergency or job loss, but they lose buying power to inflation, and they have an opportunity cost. The question is which of the risk factors above carries the most weight for you. If you work in a highly volatile industry, income risk may be a major concern. If you are a contracted teacher like me, maybe not so much. This is why it is important to “play devil’s advocate” and make arguments against conventional wisdom in finance. Let’s examine the argument against establishing the infamous emergency savings account. Continue reading “The Case Against Emergency Funds”