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Beyond Immigration -- The Importance of Migration

The divisive debate over the United States' immigration policy continues unabated. The question of who we let in our borders tends to obscure another matter that deeply impacts our economy -- the significant decline in how freely people are moving around within our borders. As a recent article in the Wall Street Journal put it: "The drop in mobility is not only keeping rural residents from climbing a ladder to better livelihoods, it is choking off the labor supply for employers in areas where jobs are plentiful."

The United States has seen a number of large migrations to places where economic opportunities existed. "The Grapes of Wrath" -- a high school favorite for English teachers -- describes in stark detail how people left the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma (due to a severe drought) to seek employment in California. I witnessed the impact of mass migration growing up in Detroit. Many of my neighbors were from the South, having left an agriculture-based economy to work in the auto factories and the businesses that arose around them as the result of the corresponding prosperity.

The mobility of the U.S. population is the lowest it's been since World War II according to the Wall Street Journal. The situation is striking because many rural areas and small towns are "in an economic funk brought on by the decline of manufacturing and farm consolidation." A troubling aspect of this situation "is that while lots of struggling residents see leaving as the best way to improve their lives, a surprising share remain stuck in place." 

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Amazon.com, Morocco and the Fluidity of Price

You probably wouldn't be surprised if a vendor in a centuries-old Moroccan souk (market) began bargaining with you over an item. But when you go on Amazon to buy pumpkin-pie spice for Thanksgiving, you expect to be paying a fixed amount. You don't consider the web to be a North African bazaar. It may, however, becoming one.

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When Young Adults Should Be Treated As Seniors

When do you need to start planning for your incapacity due to illness or injury? Your ability to use Snapchat proficiently -- or your desire to do so -- is not the line of demarcation. In most states, it is celebrating your 18th birthday. Upon reaching the age of majority, health care directives and durable powers-of-attorney are necessary to allow someone you trust to make critical decisions on your behalf when you lack the ability to do so yourself.

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How Long Must You Retain Your Financial Records?

 

 

A common question that arises each tax season concerns the length of time that financial records must be kept. A desire to get rid of the clutter conflicts with the need to retain critical documents. A great starting point is this article. I recommend clicking the link and giving it a read.

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Why Explaining the Past is as Difficult as Predicting the Future

Most of us will admit that it can be quite difficult to predict the future. No one really knows how events will play out. But determining what happened in the past can be equally challenging. It appears that we are overly confident in explaining an event that has already occurred. The reason is that people, including historians, are subject to bias and impose false order upon random events.

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