Feeling pain at the gas pump? Congressman Dennis Kucinich thinks he has a solution: Tax “unreasonable” oil company profits. The Ohio Democrat has introduced the Gas Price Spike Act, which he claims will “reduce the price of gasoline” by confiscating part or all of an oil company’s profits that exceed an amount deemed “reasonable” by a panel of unelected bureaucrats.

 

Different histories, geography, demography and cultures have left various groups, races, nations and civilizations with radically different abilities to create wealth.

 

How high can America’s astronomical debt reach? The level is set to increase once more in late January as Congress, in effect, rubber stamps President Obama’s request to raise the limit on the nation’s debt beyond its current $15 trillion.

 

Anyone who has ever been in a Third World country, or even in a slum neighborhood at home, is likely to wonder why there can be such dire poverty among some people, while others are prospering.  Both politicians and intellectuals have tended to have simple answers to that question, even if these simple answers have been different in different eras.

 

Another taxpayer-funded solar-panel company, Willard & Kelsey Solar Group LLC, is undergoing operational issues, as it recently laid off about 40 people indefinitely due to delays in its production line. CEO and board chairman Michael Cicak would not comment on the timeline of the production changes or when the laid-off employees might return to their jobs.

 

The European Commission (EC) on Tuesday threatened to take legal action against Hungary unless it revised its brand new constitution to allow the country’s central bank to operate without interference from the Hungarian government. The EC’s threat requires a response within 30 days.

 

One of the ways of trying to reduce the vast disparities in economic success, which are common in countries around the world, is by making higher education more widely available, even for people without the money to pay for it. This can be both a generous investment and a wise investment for a society to make. But, depending on how it is done, it can also be a foolish and even dangerous investment, as many societies around the world have learned the hard way.

 

Last week, President Barack Obama, at a Capital Hilton fundraising event, told the crowd, "We can't go back to this brand of you're-on-your-own economics." Throughout my professional career as an economist, I've never come across the theory of "you're-on-your-own economics." I'm guessing what the President means by — and finds offensive in — "you're-on-your-own economics" is that it's a system in which people are held responsible for their actions, that they take risks and must live with the results, that people can't force others to pay for their mistakes, and that they can't live at the expense of other people.

 

With all the talk about "disparities" in innumerable contexts, there is one very important disparity that gets remarkably little attention — disparities in the ability to create wealth. People who are preoccupied, or even obsessed, with disparities in income are seldom interested much, or at all, in the disparities in the ability to create wealth, which are often the reasons for the disparities in income.

 

When New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Buffalo was going to receive $1 billion over the next five years to raise the city from its near-poverty level, local politicians were already dreaming of how to spend the money. Cuomo declared in his second annual State of the State speech, “We must address the crisis in Western New York. It’s gone on too long. It’s going to stop today. We believe in Buffalo and we’ll put our money where our mouth is.”

 

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