March 2013 Archives

Cars and Carbon

Appeared in the Deseret News today.

Bjorn Lomborg, an academic best known for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, had an interesting op-ed in the Wall Street Journal recently that got me thinking about cars and the costs of carbon.

I suppose I am not an environmentalist.  I enjoy being in the outdoors, particularly hiking and backpacking.  I prefer doing these in an unpolluted environment, but I'm not committed to maintaining a pristine environment regardless of the cost.  I am certainly not as committed as actress Evangeline Lilly who recently spent 32 hours travelling by airplane to attend the Forward on Climate Rally to express her opposition to the KXL pipeline, apparently without any sense of irony.

Balancing the Budget

From yesterday's Deseret News

Fiscal cliffs, sequestration, debt ceilings.  How hard is it to balance the federal budget?  While conceding that unexpected events do occur that can cause increases or decreases in revenue and expenditures, why don't we spend this column trying to set a plan that would balance the budget if nothing too unexpected happens.

A Flat Tax System

From the Deseret News, February 19, 2013.

Tax season will soon be upon us.  Wouldn't it be nice if filing taxes was not such a long drawn-out process?

Two weeks ago I mentioned the flat tax when talking about the effects of marginal tax rates.  A related tax plan is known as the negative income tax.  This gives taxpayers a refundable tax credit and couples this with a constant marginal tax rate or "flat tax".  One of the benefits of such a system is the ease with which taxes can be filed.

Marginal Taxes and Incentives

From the Deseret News, February 4th, 2013.

Taxes are in the news lately. French film star Gerard Depardieu announced in December he would be moving from France to neighboring Belgium to avoid an increase in taxes that would've taken 75 percent of any new income he earned. More recently, golfer Phil Mickelson suggested he might leave California to avoid a combined state and federal income tax that takes 60 percent of any new tournament winnings.


  • Richard W. Evans is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University

  • Jason DeBacker is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Middle Tennessee State University

  • Kerk L. Phillips is an Associate Professor of Economics at Brigham Young University