A Visualization of IRS Collections Since 1960

On this page is a visualization of the sources for tax revenue collected by the IRS between fiscal years 1960-2013 in the United States. All data in the visualization comes from the IRS's 2013 Data Book. Apologies to our cell phone readers - you should view this on a tablet, laptop, or desktop (or something with a big screen).  If you're in a … [Read more...]

Can Russia Cause a Run on US Debt?

Recently, we (re-)found this linked article which referenced a canned 2008 plan in which the Russian Government had semi-seriously considered triggering a run on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Treasury debt, and had made initial overtures to the Chinese.  That, of course, never came to fruition (although both companies were hugged even closer by the … [Read more...]

A Guaranteed Basic Income Cost Calculator: Solving Poverty in America

This page contains a calculator which can be used to design a guaranteed basic income in the United States, using hard Census data and spending data from the Congressional Budget Office.  In its basic form, the tool only requires two inputs to calculate the costs of various forms of a guaranteed basic income (or "negative income tax"): A … [Read more...]

No, Business Insider, The Mega Millions Drawing Isn’t A Positive Expected Value. Here’s What You Need to Know.

In case you've been on the weird part of the internet today, you probably already know that the Mega Millions drawing's jackpot tonight is for a prize of $636,000,000 and a cash option of $341,000,000. I'll admit shedding a single tear on behalf of math when reading Business Insider's piece today on the Mega Millions having a positive expected … [Read more...]

Taylor Rule Calculator – How Would You Run the Fed?

To skip my explanation and instructions and go straight to the calculator, CLICK HERE. Lost among all the discussion about the Federal Reserve (Why didn't the President immediately appoint Yellen?  Who was the best Federal Reserve Chief?  Is the Fed even necessary?) is an interesting question: is there a bound on the behavior of the Fed? You … [Read more...]

How Much Does $1,000,000 Today Cost?

How much would you pay annually in order to receive $1,000,000 today? This question is often a good measure of risk tolerance. For the purposes of this article, I am considering this the same as asking how much would you need in return annually if you paid $1,000,000 today. For me, it is around $50,000/year. I had a debate with a friend recently … [Read more...]

Inflation: Where Are You?

It's officially been 196 days since we published our epic post about how the spectre of inflation... well, hasn't appeared.  Our articles on inflation in general (like this defense of low to moderate inflation or this piece on the true inflation rate) seem to go against the grain of some corners of the web - but a fact remains... inflation is the … [Read more...]

The Follow-Through: Answering the Rest of the Majoring in Photography Questions!

Remember a few weeks back when we did a bit of research on Photography as a degree?  Turns out that if you want to be a photographer, it's best to take a non-fully paid undergraduate degree route. That doesn't mean that some very good questions weren't raised - so here we are with a bit of a follow-up.  A brief note: these statistics aren't … [Read more...]

Where Has All the Productivity Gone?

The National Bureau of Economic Research lists the Great Depressions birth and death dates as December 2007 and June 2009, respectively - Q4 2007 to Q2 2009.  That means our current economic expansion has been continuing from Q3 2009 until today. Ready for your weird economic statistic of the day (week?)?  Let's talk about Economic Productivity … [Read more...]

Would You Prefer Restaurants Without Tipping?

The title was a subtle hint.  Here's a more obvious one: this piece might go over the head of our non-North American readers. The most underrated blogger in all of Finance, our friend Nelson at Financial Uproar, has come back to one under-explored topic a few times: tipping at restaurants.  In theory, tipping is supposed to incentivize servers, … [Read more...]