Aaron, Henry J. and George A. Hacker, "Raise a Glass to a Fair Tax Hike," Knight-Ridder Newspapers, November 7, 2005. Online-HTML

  1. Why does he say that alcohol has been subject to "stealth tax cuts"? How did this happen?
  2. Why did the National Academy of Sciences recommend increases in taxes on alcohol? On what form of alcohol did they especially want to increase the tax?
  3. What are the policies that the author fears will be used instead to deal with the budget deficit, prompting him to make this recommendation?
Armentano, Dominick T., "Recession 2007," Commentary, Independent Institute, December 10, 2006. Online-HTML

  1. How, according to the author, has the Fed been responsible for causing the recession that he predicts is about to happen?
  2. What is an "inverted yield curve," and what does he say it signals?
  3. Is this good news or bad news for Republicans?
Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Labor Force Data Derived from the Current Population Survey: Concepts," Chapter 1 in Handbook of Methods, U.S. Department of Labor. Online-HTML

  1. Can a person be considered "employed" during a week if they did not work, if they were not paid, or if they worked for pay but for only 5 hours?
  2. If you quit your job and then start looking for work, are you considered unemployed?
  3. If you hold two paying jobs, under what circumstances will you be counted as two employed persons?
Burman, Leonard E. and William G. Gale, "Fix a Real Tax Mess," Newsday, November 14, 2002. Online-HTML

  1. What is the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), and why does it exist?
  2. Why are more and more people subject to the AMT?
  3. How does the author recommend fixing this?
Francis, David R. "Generous Benefits Raise Long-Term Unemployment," summary of Peter Kuhn and Chris Riddell, "The Long-Term Effects of a Generous Income Support Program: Unemployment Insurance in New Brunswick and Maine, 1940-1991," National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 11932, NBER Digest, October 2006. Online-HTML

  1. Comparing those who work ten weeks per year in Maine and New Brunswick, how much pay do the two groups get from unemployment insurance (UI) in the two places (in addition to their pay for the ten weeks that they work.
  2. Approximately what percentage of employed men in New Brunswick apparently work less than half the year as a result of New Brunswick's more general UI?
  3. How does one take maximum advantage of a UI system?
Greenspan, Alan. "Monetary Policy in the Face of Uncertainty," Cato Journal, Fall 2001. Online-PDF

  1. What changes in the U.S. economy have permitted recent successes in economic performance?
  2. What are the uncertainties that Greenspan discusses?
  3. Why does productivity growth matter for monetary policy?
Griswold, Daniel T., "Are Trade Deficits Good for the U.S. Economy?," The Globalist, February 15, 2005. Online-HTML

  1. Does the US economy do better (in terms of GDP growth or employment) when the trade deficit is getting larger or when it is getting smaller?
  2. What does this imply about the desirability of policies that would change the trade balance? Do we know any reason for a causal link between the trade balance and income?
  3. What seems to be the author's purpose in making these points?
Hassett, Kevin A., "With Bernanke at Bat, Fed Will Target Inflation," Bloomberg.com, October 31, 2005. Online-HTML

  1. What is the purpose of inflation targetting, and why is it more needed today than it was in the 1970s?
  2. Would inflation targetting have made a huge difference to monetary policy, had it been used in the 1990s? Would the use of inflation targetting remove the "discretion" of the Fed?
Hymans, Saul H., "The U.S. Economic Outlook for 2007-2008. Executive Summary: December 2006," Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, University of Michigan, December 12, 2006. Online-PDF | backup

  1. What sectors of the US economy does the article say are "in a slump" or have weak demand? Is this surprising, or to be expected?
  2. Do the forecasters expect the Fed to raise interest rates in the coming months or to lower them?
  3. Overall, is the US economy speeding up or slowing down, in terms of growth of real GDP? How is it expected to change over the next couple of years?
Mitchell, Daniel J. "The Historical Lessons of Lower Tax Rates," WebMemo #327, Heritage Foundation, August 13, 2003. Online-HTML

  1. How is it possible for a lower tax rate to generate more tax revenue?
  2. What were the three episodes reported here in which tax rates were reduced in the United States?
  3. Do lower tax rates primarily benefit the rich?
Mustafa, Nadia "What About Gross National Happiness?," Time, January 10, 2005. Online-HTML

  1. What are some of the positive factors that those who wish for a measure of gross national happiness would try to include in that measure?
  2. Would a measure of GNH take account of anything negative?
Orszag, Peter, "Bush's Tax Cut: The Online Debate," The New Republic, November 7, 2003. Debate with David Hale; only Orszag's part is available. Online-HTML

  1. Does a tax cut increase or decrease private saving? Does it increase or decrease public saving? What happens to total saving?
  2. Why is a fall in total saving problematic?
Postrel, Virginia, "With Milton Friedman's ideas now accepted by theorists and policy makers, it's easy to forget how revolutionary they were," New York Times, November 6, 2003. Online-HTML

  1. This article is based on somebody's speech. Whose? And who is this person today?
  2. Did Friedman think that monetary policy could change real GDP? If not, why not? If so, within what limits?
  3. What was "the second most serious monetary policy mistake of the 20th century"?
Prescott, Edward C., "Five Macroeconomic Myths," Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2006. Online-HTML (Proquest, via UM)

  1. What are some examples of "unmeasured investment"?
  2. How does the size of US government debt today compared to what it was in the past?
  3. How important, according to the author, is the careful conduct of monetary policy for the booms and busts of the economy?
Ridenour, Amy. "Americans Are Better Off Than We Think", National Center for Public Policy Research, National Policy Analysis, No. 238, April 1999. Online-HTML

  1. Which does the article compare, and what does it find: the poor of 20 years ago compared with the poor of today, or the poor of 20 years ago compared with those same people today?
  2. Are Americans working more or less per week, in jobs and on housework, than they did forty or fifty years ago?
  3. What, according the article, is wrong with the statement that "increasing numbers of Americans are employed in inferior service jobs"?
Romer, Paul M. "It's All In Your Head", Hoover Digest, No. 1, 1999. Online-HTML

  1. Do the technological "breakthroughs" that characterize economic growth just happen, or are they the results of economic incentives?
  2. What are the "three special features" that make growth possible?
  3. What should leaders do to promote growth?
Scott, Robert E., "The Facts About Trade and Job Creation," EPI Issue Brief #139, Economic Policy Institute, March 24, 2000. Online-HTML

  1. Which grew more in the 1990s, US exports or US imports?
  2. How has this affected US employment, according to the author?
  3. What other effects of trade on workers, good or bad, does he identify?
Wattenberg, Ben J., "America By the Numbers," Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2001. Online-HTML (Proquest)

  1. How does U.S. population compare to the largest countries in Europe, how has this changed over the last century, and why?
  2. How have fluctuations in the macro economy over the last fifty years compared to the preceding fifty years?
  3. How has population shifted, geographically, within the U.S. during the last century?