Art takes time

Robert Caro, 2012 I've caught Hamilton fever. Yes, like many others, I listen to the original cast album, over and over, and look forward to someday seeing the musical in person. The Hamilton soundtrack connects me to one of my other lifelong passions: biographies. Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow's biography of Hamilton, which inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the show.  It's been on my … [Read more...]

Helping convenience stores by encouraging smoking?

Photo: Flikr Creative Commons "Tobacco users get tax break from Legislature," reads the headline in today's StarTribune.  The tax break in question involves the cigarette tax.  In 2013, the legislature and governor approved three years of annual increases in the tax, with an inflation adjustment built in to maintain the real value of the tax.  The tax bill includes a provision to eliminate the … [Read more...]

Externalities and long lines at airports

Photo: Flikr Creative Commons Yesterday I published a piece in MinnPost, "Why you shouldn’t feel too grateful to Delta for hiring people to help with the TSA security-line crunch."  The takeaway: airlines are creating a negative externality by charging high fees for checked baggage. A better solution to long lines at the airport would be to adjust the relative price of checking a bag versus … [Read more...]