Category: Politics

Wondering about 2.5%

I can’t help wondering how the election outcome would have been different if the headline that was prominently featured in the news for the last month had been the one we just received in the email message from the Boston University Human Resources Department that said: Contribution rates for 2017 – we are pleased to […]

Did BU economics students vote in the 2016 general election?

In order to better understand what happened in last week’s US election, and perhaps also to encourage more students to both register and vote in the NEXT election, I created a very simple one-question survey using SurveyMonkey and arranged for it to be sent to all Economics students at Boston University. I first polled graduate […]

I am sorry

Dear BUHealth friends, alumni, students and colleagues. Like most of the people I know, I am immensely saddened by the results of the US presidential elections, which have elected Donald Trump as president and elected republicans to run both houses of congress. My view is that hate and party loyalty won out in the end […]

Recent Marketplace Premium Increases are No Big Deal

By Randall P. Ellis, Boston University, Department of Economics October 28, 2016 A great deal has been made recently about the large increases in certain Health Insurance Marketplace premiums  announced for 2017. I present here five arguments for why these increases are no big deal, and are not the right thing to focus on when […]

Why Trump is going to win the US presidency

Everyone can see that Trump is surging in the polls, but few understand why. Like most professionals, I am appalled at this possibility. Why do I now think it is almost inevitable that Trump wins? Democrats have not figured out how to affect how Trump appeals to his supporters. As I blogged on June 3, […]

The US Should Ban or Heavily Tax Weapons Designed for Mass Shootings

Boston University Working Paper Randall P. Ellis Boston University, Department of Economics August 22, 2016 Abstract This paper presents four arguments for why the US should ban or at least heavily tax the sale or transfer to civilians of weapons designed for mass shootings (WDMS), which would include most semi-automatic guns and weapons with large […]

Obama’s JAMA article is a must read for all professionals

There is a very important  article in this week’s JAMA – Internal Medicine, written by Barach Obama. It highlights the effects of the ACA/Obamacare.  It is free on-line. United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2533698 If you are short on time, then the following link to just the figures provides […]

Press Interviews and Quotes

Partly just to keep track of them for my BU annual report, this post links to my press interviews and quotes.   Effects of Brexit on the world economy and Iran. Tasnim News Agency Interview, Iran (translated into Persian), June 28, 2016. Farm Animal Ballot Initiative. posted on Youtube. By  Brittany Comak, BU School of […]

Insurers are doing well under ObamaCare

Much was made recently about how UnitedHealth decided to drop out of the ACA Federal Exchange in several states. It is important to realize that far from being a failure to large insurers (UnitedHealth is the largest insurer in the US), health insurance remains extremely profitably under ObamaCare. Below is a bar chart of the […]

Hillary Clinton’s Memorial Day speech 2016 will be a classic.

My previous post was discouraging in that it was all about the techniques Donald Trump is using to build support. This one is much more upbeat. I had heard about but not actually watched or listened to Hillary Clinton’s Memorial day speech, which has been getting a lot of favorable reviews. I just finished listening […]

Sobering Scott Adams interview about Trump on Real Time

This email will interest people who are closely following the US presidential election. I invite you to watch the following four minute video on Trump and Hillary when you have time. It changed my thinking. On the Friday June 2  Real Time with Bill Mayer, Scott Adams (who is the genius creator of the Dilbert […]

Obamacare reality: It is working

At a time in the US when all of the Republicans presidential candidates are declaring Obamacare a failure which needs to be undone, it is worth noting the REALITY that it is succeeding in its primary purpose of covering more American with health insurance. It does not mandate insurance coverage, but the subsidies and tax […]

Denmark’s Social Capitalism and Switzerland’s Federal Democracy

With Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both mentioning Democratic Socialism in Denmark, it is interesting to read about what it actually is. Here is one link with one persons discussion. Living with Denmark’s democratic socialism Denmark sounds pretty wonderful to me Switzerland I just returned from Switzerland which is not democratic socialism, […]

Tax to rise on the uninsured next year.

This is why enrollment in health insurance will continue to rise in the US from the ACA. For 2016: Max of  $695 or 2.5 percent of taxable income if uninsured. http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2015/10/19/health-law-fine-uninsured-will-more-than-double/76FbuARARxAmaT9H4nN66K/story.html Full text is below. Health law fine for uninsured to rise Boston Globe Associated Press  October 19, 2015 WASHINGTON — The federal penalty for […]

Deflategate pressure drop is consistent with a ball air temperature of 72 degrees when tested initially.

Deflategate pressure drop is consistent with a ball air temperature of 72 degrees when tested initially. I revised my original Deflategate posting after learning that it is absolute air pressure not pressure above standard sea level pressure that follows the Ideal Gas Law.  I also allowed for stretching of the leather once the ball becomes […]

#6 Raise the minimum wage for jobs not offering health insurance

Time to change the policy discussion. Congress has been unwilling to raise the minimum wage despite strong public support for doing so. This blog suggests a concrete approach for getting even broader public support and potentially reducing the need for federal taxes. As of January 1, 2015 29 states and DC have minimum wages above […]

Useful Data Links to US Government data

Websites for Federal Administrative Data sets: US Administration for International Development: Foreign aid from the U.S: Data and Tools Department of Agriculture: Economic Research Services: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Data System Food and Nutrition Services: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Data Food Safety Inspection Services: Recalls and Quarterly Enforcement Reports Forest Inventory Data National Agricultural Statistics Service: Cropland Data Natural Resource Conservation Service: […]

Re-envisioning Ebola, including updated story about Nigeria from Kas Nwuke

Arlene Ash, Professor and Division Chief, Biostatistics and Health Services Research, at UMass Medical School, has compiled a useful series of original thoughts, emails, and links about Ebola which I am broadcasting and reposting on my blog site here. This posting repeats some of the information already posted in my earlier blog: Ebola is being […]

A model for US: $1 coins and no pennies

I just returned from a vacation in Ecuador (which is spectacular) but wanted to post about a wonderful feature of their monetary system. Ecuador does not have its own currency but instead uses the US dollar as their only currency. US dollar bills and coins are used everywhere, which is very convenient for visitors. But […]

Read Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

I just finished reading the book Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball and the Big Short). I highly recommend it to economists as a quick read (270 pages) in accessible prose. Or anyone. http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Boys-Wall-Street-Revolt/dp/0393244660/ Every economist should be aware of the grossly unfair trading practices that the SEC and NASDAQ have allowed to […]