Category Archives: Holidays

Labor Day: Trade and Immigration

minersOne of the basic concepts of economics is that the production of goods and services are a product of both capital (equipment) and labor (the work to turn raw material into finished goods or to provide the services).  Some industries are what economists call “capital intensive” — meaning that relatively speaking it takes a lot of capital to purchase the equipment needed to operate (think the automobile industry).  A capital intensive industry is difficult for new competitors to enter.    Other industries are labor intensive — meaning that it takes little to capital to purchase the basic equipment and labor is the main input (think almost any profession).  The only restrictions on entering these industries is any licensing requirement for workers.   The degree to which an industry is capital intense (and how much skill the labor requires) in turn has an impact on the degree to which it is vulnerable to foreign trade and immigration poses a threat to existing workers.

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Self-Evident Truths: 1776 and 2015

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  To paraphrase the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., despite this strong affirmation of basic principles of government in the Declaration of Independence, the practice of these basis principles by the United States has been somewhat schizophrenic.

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Memorial Day: Bought and Paid For…

Vietnam Memorial WallToday is Memorial Day. It seems bittersweet to say “Happy Memorial Day” as this day was bought and paid for with the blood of those men and women (and dogs) who gave their lives so that the rest of us can breathe free.

Those of us who are Boomers, and those who are older, all know people who have served in war. Most of us know people who never returned. We know people who fled to avoid conscription.

Younger people? To the vast majority of them, war is an abstraction. Currently, less than one half of one percent of Americans are active duty military. Veterans? A little over 7%. (Source) Those who gave their lives and have living relatives? Unknown but given the other numbers, it can’t be that high. As compared to earlier times, at least.

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