Thursday, January 18, 2018

Walmart Against Opioids

Walmart Against Opioids
Written by: Jaden Davantes

As retail stores start to lose customers to much more convenient online stores, retail giants like Walmart are struggling to differentiate their products and compete over diminishing demand.  In order to keep customers coming in the doors, stores like Walmart and Target have began implementing things like grocery stores and pharmacies into their stores in order to make shopping at their stores as efficient as possible.  Now, Walmart is going a step further to differentiate their products by incentivizing shoppers to visit the Walmart pharmacy and taking advantage of one of the determinants of demand: changes in tastes and expectations.

 Walmart is offering a free way to get rid of your extra opioids.  A product called DisposeRX can be used to turn pills into biodegradable gel, giving patients an easy way to get rid of pills that could potentially be dangerous.  While opioids are great as prescription medication, if they fall into the wrong hands they can become very dangerous.  According to Senator John Boozman, a third of all medications never end up being used, and according to there were over 42,000 opioid related deaths in 2016, with 40% of these deaths being prescription related.  Walmart offering an opioid disposal method brings even more attention to these problems; when potential customers see that Walmart is offering this new, state of the art method to dispose of your old prescription medication, they’re more likely to look into why they would want this in the first place.  All in all this results in change in the tastes or preference of consumers as Walmart not only brings more light to the opioid crisis, but also offers an easy and convenient solution.  As the first large store to offer this option, Walmart can use this new feature to differentiate their products.

Walmart is an oligopoly, only competing with other superstores like Target Costco and Meijer, so it’s important for them to differentiate their products as much as possible.  As stores that pride themselves on discounts and low prices, Walmart cannot set itself apart based on its brand name, so instead they’re taking steps to make their other features, like their pharmacy stand out.  By bringing attention to a huge problem and then subsequently offering a free and accessible solution, Walmart is offering huge incentives to use their pharmacy over others.  Moving ahead, it’s likely that Walmart’s competitors will also adopt features similar to this, to a point where consumer tastes change so that features such as opioid disposal are not a specialty, but an expectation, but for now, Walmart can take advantage of it to gain a foot up on its competitors.

Works Cited
Han, Courtney. “Walmart Distributing First-of-Its-Kind Opioid Disposal Product.” ABC News, ABC News Network,\

“Opioid Overdose.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Oct. 2017,

Human Capital Inflation

Human Capital Inflation
Written by: Chris Johnston

Over the past 200 years the average human capital has greatly increased due to the prevalence of education. Human Capital is the value of one’s skills, knowledge, and experience. This inflation of human capital has decreased the individual person’s value and has caused people to need to work to stand out within the workforce. This inflation has been an indicator of america’s progress. The government should subsidize 4-year public institutions and make college free for the people in order to maintain progress

The Bright Side
The literacy rate of the world has increased greatly in the last 200 years. This prevalence of literacy has increased communicative literacy and the AHC. As you can see in the graph below, in the past 200 years, the literacy rate has fallen below 20% and according to, the literacy rate in the US reached above 99% in 1969. People are more useful if they can read and it is a basic requirement for joining the workforce.  America is the world’s symbol of freedom and equality. “We can see that two centuries ago only a small elite of the world population had the ability to read and write – the best estimate is that 12% of the world population was literate(Our World In Data).” Education helps fight against inequality, the US government should value it.

The K-12 enrolment rate has also increased. Receiving a basic education increases your human capital and increases supply because one of the determinants of supply is the availability(and usability) of technology. Education increases technology usage skills. Also, the percent of of people completing 4 years of college has increased greatly. A college education increases one’s human capital greatly. All this human capital increases one’s resource product to each potential company and when companies look for potential workers they will search for the ones who have the greatest resource product to the company. Also having a bachelor’s degree can result in one being paid $21,100 more than people with those who don't have a degree(College Board). This increases their purchasing power. The Private and Social Benefits of college are high.

The Enemy of Good Is Better
The downside of this inflation of human capital is that the average person is devalued. There are only so many good jobs and people who don’t have a 4-year college education in a relevant major are looked over for those who do. This increases the demand for higher education and when demand increases, the price of education increases. To exorberant levels. The average price to attend a 4 year University, according to College Board, can be as high as $23,890! Added to the opportunity costs of going to a 4 year university: missed salary of a potential full-time job, missed salary of a potential full-time job after attending a 2 year university. The Private and Social Benefits of College may be high but the Private Cost is high, so the government must subsidize it so it is more affordable.

It’s often necessary for people to attend a four-year college in order to live the life they want to live, therefor, many people can’t afford the life they’d like to live. People are being separated from their dreams, the government must make education affordable in order to unite people with the lives they want.

Works Cited

“120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait” National Center for Education
 Statistics. 2 Jan, 2018.
“College Costs.” College Board, 2, Jan 2018.

Ortiz-Ospina, Estaban and Roser, Max. “Literacy.” Our World In Data, 2 Jan, 2018.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The New GOP Tax Plan and Income Inequality

Ian Reinke
Mrs. Straub
AP Economics
14 January 2018

The New GOP Tax Plan and Income Inequality

While we are just about approaching almost a month from the date that President Donald Trump signed into law the GOP tax plan that both the Senate and House had been working on, the discussion of both the positive and negative consequences of this plan continue to be pertinent to both economic and policy-related debate. Both the more liberal and conservative viewpoints present in mainstream politics have had a whole host of things to say about the new tax plan, and as it is something that will affect the lives of millions of Americans I thought it best that we examine the finalized plan more closely. Specifically I plan to analyze the scrutiny that this bill has generated from those advocating more action to be done on the problem of income inequality.

The new law has come under significant scrutiny by those advocating action on the question of income inequality since the very beginning. This is primarily due to the plan including certain provisions that stipulate tax cuts most substantially benefiting those more well-off in our society. Currently, under the previous tax law in effect for 2018, the threshold for the top tax rate bracket is set at those individually making $426,700 a year, and $480,000 for those filing joint as a married couple, and sets their tax rate at 39.6%. The newly passed tax plan not only increases the threshold for those who qualify to be placed in the top income bracket - making it necessary that one makes $500,000 individually, and $600,000 as a joint filing married couple - but also in the process lowers the percentage amount taxed to 37% on these individuals. While it is fair to say that the tax-plan does include provisions for tax cuts across the income spectrum, many critics have pointed out that this plan is supposedly aimed at helping the richer portion of income earners and corporations more than the average American. As in the opinions of many, those making the most money are often the most capable of paying comparatively larger sums of taxes without there being a very substantial effect on their lifestyle and financial situation, the tax cut on the richer portions of the country seems at the least misguided if any substantial progress is to be made concerning the rampant problem of income inequality.

Aside from criticism regarding the decrease of the tax rate on those more well-off in our country, the new plan has also received denunciation for its augmentation of the amount the super-rich can pass on to their heirs due to reforms in the estate tax. Under the previous law, Americans could pass on up to $5.5 million dollars worth of property and assets to their heirs tax-free. Now under the new plan, that amount was doubled to $11 million. As this only affects a very small and super-rich portion of the population, many view this increase in allowance of the amount of assets that can be passed on tax-free to be simply a give-away to those already extremely well-off financially. This is viewed by many to be another root of the persisting problem of why so much wealth is concentrated into so few people in this nation.

Finally the last major criticism that many have pointed out in this new plan has been the amount that it will raise the national deficit by. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan organization that provides budget and economic information to Congress, under the new tax plan the national deficit will raise by over $1.4 trillion dollars in the years to come. This brings into question just how this rise in national debt will affect certain entitlement programs, specifically those tasked with aiding those in poverty and facing personal financial uncertainty. Programs like Medicaid, a health insurance program for the poor, might face comprehensive reform in how and who it is distributed to. While some might view this in a positive light, as entitlements are viewed by many to be in need of reform, many critics have stated that this might lead to more people in dire need of this health insurance ultimately losing coverage. As those without access to adequate healthcare are often more likely to become sick, and thus unable work because of preventable conditions, this disregard for fiscal responsibility, coupled with the elimination of the individual mandate stipulated under the Affordable Care Act, could possibly lead to making the divide between the richer and poorer sections of the country even larger.

As we have analyzed from taking into consideration the ramifications that this new plan could have on the poorer sections of the country, it should be clear as to why many have voiced concerns on the possibility of this new law amplifying the rampant problem of income inequality in our country. While some might argue that overall this plan might possibly benefit the growth of corporations and businesses, I believe it is vital that more consideration be taken into just how we might see this new law play out with those less fortunate.

Works Cited
Long, Heather. “Analysis | The Final GOP Tax Bill Is Complete. Here’s What Is in It.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Dec. 2017,

Mercado, Darla. “Find Your New Tax Brackets under the GOP Tax Plan.” CNBC, CNBC, 22 Dec. 2017,

New Year’s Eve Toasts

Payton Wolf
AP Econ
New Year’s Eve Toasts
New Year’s Eve does not require nearly as much spending as Christmas or (depending on the person) Valentine’s Day, but there is still much spending for this day. Many people throw parties or small gatherings to watch the countdown on their TV, but some people do more.  “The vast majority of people spend less than $200 each for the festivities, but 9 percent spend as much as $500 and 3 percent spend as much as $1,000 for New Year’s Eve. One percent spend more than $1,000 on the event,” (Stribling). The final 1% is likely spending so much money on travel, while the vast majority of people buy cheap party hats and some appetizers. The most prominent thing people buy for New Year’s Eve is champagne. Champagne is large in demand because of the tradition and social norms

There are no advertisements for champagne, and very little product differentiation (of course, there are some products that are better than others). There are not very many firms in the industry, it the champagne market is a monopolistically competitive. There are some natural barriers of entry in the champagne market, like availability of land, technology, and other capital resources. Because it is monopolistically competitive, the champagne market will likely not make a profit or loss in the long run, and more firms enter or leave the industries as the profit fluctuates. Normal profit is expected. However, in the short run, the changes in social norms and the holiday seasons increase the amount of demand for champagne.

Hand in hand with champagne is sparkling grape juice, the kid-friendly version. Champagne and sparkling grape juice are complements. When someone buys the former, they will likely buy the latter, especially if they have children attending the party. The same trends for champagne can be observed about sparkling grape juice: demand increases during the holiday season. When the demand for champagne increases, so the that for sparkling grape juice.

Champagne is also a luxury; with an increase in income, there is an increase in demand. The income elasticity of demand is positive.. If people are willing to spend over $1,000 on New Years Eve, they are likely willing to spend a lot of money on a bottle of champagne. At times, the more expensive the bottle is, the more in demand it is. An expensive bottle of champagne can symbolize wealth, power, or luxury, and oftentimes people want to give those impressions. Bottles of champagne can range very heavily in price, and the people with larger incomes tend to buy the more expensive bottles, even if that sacrifices taste or quality.

Works Cited
“Champagne and Sparkling Wines For Your 2018 New Year's Party.” Fortune,
“The Comité Champagne.”,
Stribling, Dees. “Economy Watch: The Economics of New Year's Eve.” Commercial Property Executive, Commercial Property Executive, 30 Dec. 2016,
“Welch's Sparkling | A Kid-Friendly New Year's Eve Tradition.” New England Today, 18 Dec. 2017,

The Lebron Effect

The Lebron Effect
Written by: Drew Retherford 

Lebron James is a maestro on the basketball court and does literally everything one player can do;score, pass, rebound, defense, etc. Lebron’s influence on the NBA is a huge factor and it is referred to as the Lebron Effect, which means most-everything in the NBA is a reaction to an action taken by The King, causing the Lebron Effect to be felt far and wide in the league.

For the city of Cleveland the Lebron Effect has been on display, ever since he left Cleveland for Miami, and then returned home in the summer of 2014. However this type of Lebron Effect is rooted in the economics of Cleveland. Cleveland’s local economy has experienced the positive externalities of the Cavaliers organization resigning Lebron James a few years ago. These positive externalities are felt by establishments like the bars and hotels in and around Cleveland. Lebron’s return  increased revenue for 3rd parties like bars and hotels as his presence on the Cavs instantly increased interest in the team, leading to a packed house on game night for bars and more rooms being booked at hotels for visiting fans who are going to games. Bars in close proximity to the stadium, reportedly experienced a 30%-200% increase in revenue after his return. Other establishments such as sports shops selling Lebron merchandise also experienced significant jumps in revenue during his return.

Also, it was originally estimated that Lebron’s return would result in a $500 million boost to the Cleveland economy, while that number was off by quite a margin, the Lebron Effect still brought a 9 figure revenue increase to Cleveland’s economy. Finally let us not forget the Cavalier’s organization, as after The King’s return the average number of occupied seats at game time jumped upwards of 3,000. Proving that a single person can have a tremendous effect on an economy.

With the demand the fans have for Cavalier basketball at an all-time high due to the change in demand which was set in motion by Lebron, it is wise that the organization retain the main attraction, Lebron James. It would mean that the Lebron Effect would continue to positively impact Cleveland and further endear him to the fans, thus the Lebron benefits everyone; Cavaliers, Cleveland, Fans, and Lebron.

Works Cited
“LeBron James means a lot to Cleveland — and its economy”, 11 July. 2017,
“LeConomics: Is the economic impact of LeBron James' return to Cleveland more than a feeling?.”, 17 Feb  2015.

Changes in America: The Marijuana Revolution

Changes in America: The Marijuana Revolution
Written by: Adam Immel 

Over the past 20 years, the United States has slowly transitioned into a much more liberal and progressive stance of one particular drug; Marijuana is slowly being reassessed from the once extremely potent and radical gateway drug it was perceived as for decades, and is now in much more positive light, mostly in thanks to the medical benefits that an estimated 1.4 million have utilized. More recently, states are now legalizing Cannabis for recreational use, beginning with Colorado passing Colorado Amendment 64 by vote in 2012 (officially legalized in 2014). After subsequent votes in midterms, odd years, and the recent election date on November 8th, 2016America now has 8 states and Washington D.C. with complete legalization, and there’s only more to come. Obviously, it seems that in order for legalization to occur, more than the consumer will benefit. With the decriminalization of Cannabis on the rise, one might want to review the effects on state economies and revenue generated for local governments.

In similar fashion to Tobacco products, local state governments are benefitting from Cannabis sale thanks to taxation. In this report, we will use Colorado as our exemplified state. This state has imposed a 2.9% sales tax on both medical and recreational Marijuana. Since legalization, the results and revenue generated due to the popularity of the product have been astounding.

In a fiscal period that ended on June 30th, 2015, Marijuana tax revenue was at $70,000,000, which was almost double revenue from Alcohol (42 million dollars in same period). And serving as a reminder, Colorado isn’t the only one reaping the benefits. Washington state has seen extremely similar results, and now that California is completely in the game, their enormous economy is only bound to grow. These states GDP is only bound to grow now that a new industry is rising.

Additionally, it’s important to see what fields of funding state governments are aiding with all this money. In the state of Colorado, the generated revenue is being properly allocated to different departments, but the main focus in this state is to benefit the development of schools and education. As described in a government report issued in July of 2015, the first $40 million in excise tax generated was allocated towards the BEST fund, which was created to renew or replace deteriorating public schools. The combined taxes then go on to impact various departments, including the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, the Department of Human Services, and others.
For Prohibitionists, it’s been hard to find a point to argue the negatives to the Marijuana Revolution. Many argued that crime rate would increase, but in the first 5 years in Colorado, that has not been the case. It’s important to understand that the values of American citizens are changing, and that this change in view of individual liberties must also be seen as a gateway towards economic reliefs for governments. If the felony for Marijuana possession were to be lifted, and the Union became completely in accord with legalization, one can imagine the benefits that could be reaped, based upon the changes experienced by progressive states.

Works Cited

"Colorado Now Reaping More Tax Revenue From Pot Than From Alcohol." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.
Maxfield, John. "These 3 Charts Show Why More States Will Soon Legalize Marijuana." The Motley Fool. N.p., 1970. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.
Sullum, Jacob. "Early Lessons From Marijuana Legalization in Colorado." N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.
"Colorado Council ISSUE BRIEF Staff." N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.

Googan Squad

Cameron Maderski
Econ Blog Post
Googan Squad

When you think about people who fish for a living the only thing that probably comes to mind is Bass Pro Shops or a big bass boat that is covered in sponsors and depending on how much you like the sport you might even know a few pros. Over the past year, a group of YouTubers has put a whole new spin on what it means to be a full-time fisherman. YouTube has allowed a group of 4 guys to
completely change the game by making fishing videos of their own and making their living off of the views and sponsors they get from each video. Each person involved has their own channel but they call their group the Googan Squad and together they have changed the fishing market.

The demand for fishing videos has exploded for the Googan Squad over the past year and the group now has a combined 2.2 million subscribers. They don’t just make how-to videos and it has taken years to grow but the supply of quality fishing/videos is mostly made up of 4 Youtubers. They do not just make their money off of views due to the recent sponsors from Favorite Fishing and Mystery Tackle Box. These two brands help fund for some of their biggest trips and equipment to help them create good content while the promotion featured in their videos supports the businesses themselves. Favorite Fishing is a brand that makes rods and reels and some small accessories and Mystery Tackle Box is a company that sends you a box full of baits every month and the kinds of lures they send can be catered to your style of fishing. They also have videos on how to use the baits they send and some tips to help you out. There is one true adult in the group who is an Army veteran but the other three guys all dropped out of college to chase their dreams and do what they love. The risk truly paid off with the guys all living in a sponsored mansion and currently just got a new line of their own custom fishing rods into Cabelas.

Aside from sponsors and views from their videos, each member of the Googan Squad has started their own individual business in which they create products to solve issues they find while fishing or hunting as well as creating merchandise for their fans. Some of their products include a custom spinning and baitcast combo, fishing backpacks, waterfowl equipment, and clothes like hats shirts jackets and coats. Youtube is not their only source of profit and the greater they grow the more they can expand their resources to keep their consumers and fans happy.
Together a small group of guys was able to create a new demand for youtube by tapping into the fishing community. They also showed they you don’t need to be a pro to become a full-time angler and the inspiration they use in their videos helps them continue to draw in more and more viewers.

Works Cited
“Fishing's Best.” Mystery Tackle Box,
“GOOGAN SQUAD.” Googan Squad,
“Googan Squad.” YouTube, YouTube,
Pilot. “Googan Squad.” Bass Fishing Forums, 2 Mar. 2017,
“Rods Casting Spinning.” Home Page,

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