Inheritance Taxes: What Does the U.S.A’s Richest Man Think of Them?

Bill Gates is currently the U.S.A.’s richest man with a net worth of about $80 billion dollars according to Forbes magazine.  Mr. Gates has been at the top of the wealth charts for decades.  As the wealthiest man he is the person most impacted by any kind of inheritance tax since his estate will pay the most when he dies. What does Bill Gates think about inheritance taxes? As I’ll show below, Mr. Gates thinks that inheritance taxes are a good idea. Continue reading

Why Isn’t the Price I Pay For Gas Falling Very Much?

If crude oil prices have dropped almost 25% per barrel since June, why haven’t gas prices at the pump decreased a similar amount?  At the end of June a barrel of crude oil on the NYMEX exchange was selling for over $103.  This morning (Oct. 16th) the price was below $80 a barrel.  At the end of June the average gas station in the USA was selling a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for $3.70.  The government shows today that the average price is $3.21, a drop of only 13%.  Why has the price at the pump fallen by roughly half as much as crude oil prices? Continue reading

How Can We Stop (or at Least Slow Down) Ebola and other Potential Pandemics from Spreading?

Front page stories in many newspapers today reported the death of Thomas E. Duncan, the USA’s first Ebola virus victim.  Mr. Duncan lived in Liberia and had recently come to Texas to rekindle an old love interest.  Unfortunately for Mr. Duncan, he became infected with Ebola a few days before getting on the plane to fly to the USA.  The episode triggered panic in Texas and hysteria among fellow passengers on his United Airlines flights.  It also showed the USA health care system is not ready to deal with Ebola since the first time Mr. Duncan went to the hospital he was sent home, even after telling staff he was from Liberia, the center of the epidemic.  How can we stop, or at least slow down, infectious viruses from spreading around the world?

The answer is to change airline policies when a potential pandemic arises.  Continue reading

What Are the Protestors in Hong Kong Really Demanding?

For more than a week protestors in Hong Kong have been shutting down key roads and preventing some shops and stores from opening.  The media has been reporting the protestors’ goal as more democracy.  In Hong Kong’s case this means more say in how the next leader is chosen.  Democracy is a wonderful concept, but concepts don’t get hundreds of thousands of people to take time off from work and classes, sit in the broiling sun for days on end and occasionally get tear gassed or pepper sprayed.  Grievances, however, do get normal people to come out and protest.  What grievances are really driving the protestors in Hong Kong? Continue reading