Thursday , June 17 2021
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Cyril Morong: Dangerous Economist

Cyril Morong, who teaches economics at San Antonio College, is the Dangerous Economist. Cyril picks up on some very interesting articles in the news with his own comments. This blog is very easy to read and great for people wanting to see how economic principles appear in everyday news.

The percentage of Americans leaving employers for new opportunities is at its highest level in more than two decades

See Forget Going Back to the Office—People Are Just Quitting Instead by Lauren Weber of The WSJ. Excerpts:"More U.S. workers are quitting their jobs than at any time in at least two decades, signaling optimism among many professionals while also adding to the struggle companies face trying to keep up with the economic recovery. The wave of resignations marks a sharp turn from the darkest days of the pandemic, when workers craved job security while weathering a national health...

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Solar Power’s Land Grab Hits a Snag: Environmentalists: Mojave Desert residents say they support clean energy, but not giant projects, citing threat to tortoises and views

Another case of tradeoffs. We might want more solar power but we might have to give up some other environmental goalBy Jim Carlton of The WSJ. Excerpts:"This windswept desert community is full of clean energy supporters including Suzanne Rebich, an airline pilot who recently topped her house with 36 solar panels. About 200 homes generate their own solar energy and a quarter of the local electricity supply comes from hydroelectric power. All the same, many here...

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Psychologists uncover new details about how money influences the frequency and intensity of happiness

By Beth Ellwood of PsyPost. PsyPost is a psychology and neuroscience news website. Economists believe in the law of diminishing marginal utility. As you consume more of a good, its marginal utility falls. So the first slice of pizza is better than the second, the second better than the third and so on.If, as the article suggests, people with lower incomes don't have the variety of activities and experiences that higher income people have, they will keep getting less and less utility...

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Life is full of tradeoffs, the case of federal renters assistance

Getting this aid to people is slow since it takes time to verify who is in need (to prevent fraud). So you can have more assistance or less fraud. We might not be able to get both. There has been fraud with unemployment. See Scott Peterson, thousands of California inmates carried out 'staggering' Covid fraud, officials say by Tim Stelloh of CBS News. See also How scammers siphoned $36B in fraudulent unemployment payments from US by Nick Penzenstadler of USA TODAY. For the rental issue, see...

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The Unlikely Demise of Texas’ Biggest Corporate Tax Break

After 20 years, the state’s most lucrative corporate welfare program comes to an end. By Justin Miller of The Texas Observer. He gives a good overview of this history of this program. I did a post on this a few days ago (link at the end). Excerpts:"In 2001, state lawmakers and business leaders warned that the state’s high property tax rates were discouraging corporations from locating big projects in Texas. At the time, Site Selection magazine—a trade publication about economic...

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Some provisions of the new law regulating the Texas power grid

See 'Everything that needed to be done': Gov. Abbott signs bill to strengthen Texas' electric grid by Jeremy Blackman of The San Antonio Express-News. Excerpts: "Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed sweeping legislation intended to strengthen the Texas electric market in response to this year’s deadly outage crisis. The measures, including winter preparation at power plants and some natural gas facilities, the creation of a statewide alert system, and a regulatory...

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Will higher commodity prices lead to more inflation?

See Commodity Price Surges Add to Inflation Fears: Higher prices for commodities are flowing through to more companies and consumers, making it harder for central bankers to ignore them by Tom Fairless, Alistair MacDonald and Jesse Newman of The WSJ. Excerpts: "Commodities generally make up a relatively small part of consumer prices. They are mainly used for producing goods as opposed to services, which are a bigger part of developed-world economies. Goods make up about 20% of the...

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Texas’ shameful Chapter 313 program is the sort of corporate welfare we don’t need

By Michael Taylor of The San Antonio Express-News. This program is costly for all tax payers in Texas and seems to only benefit a few corporations. So why does it persist? Why can't we get rid of it?It reminds me of something from the sub-field of economics called "Public Choice" which uses economic theories and concepts to study politics. One of its tenets is "concentrated benefits, dispersed costs."This program in Texas concentrates the benefits of the program in a few people who will...

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Warehouses Look to Robots to Fill Labor Gaps, Speed Deliveries

Logistics automation companies say demand has grown during the pandemic as companies cope with big swings in volume and a tight hiring market By Jennifer Smith of The WSJ. It is not clear that this is an  example of structural unemployment, when workers are replaced by machines because it says that companies are having a hard time finding workers. Excerpts:"The robots are coming to labor-strapped North American warehouses. Growing numbers of self-driving machines are shuttling...

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The Economic Recovery Is Here. It’s Unlike Anything You’ve Seen.

Households saved cash and banks amassed capital, but supply shortages are popping up and some employers can’t find workers By Gwynn Guilford and Sarah Chaney Cambon of The WSJ. Some good points about what causes recessions and what usually happens during them (passages in red). Excerpts:"Past recessions typically resulted from a rise in interest rates or a decline in asset values that hurt output, income and employment, sometimes for more than a year, said Gail...

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