Why are folks in Idaho such big tippers?


People in the wealthiest places in America leave the chintziest tips, while people in modest places leave the most. Time Magazine just published the results of a study from the payment company Square, which examined credit and debit card transactions at sellers nationwide. Tippers in Hawaii were the cheapest of all, followed by the District of Columbia, Massachusetts and California. These are places with among the highest incomes … Continue reading»

Basic economic principles still work, even in Seattle


In 1987, the New York Times editorial board, of all people, said the best minimum wage would be $0. “The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable – and fundamentally flawed,” it said. “It’s time to put this hoary debate behind us, and find a better way to improve the lives of people who work very hard for very little.” While it would … Continue reading»

If you live in Utah, you are less stressed than you would be in 46 other states. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on how many assignments you may have with a volunteer organization, such as a church, or how many little ones you may be chasing around the house while trying to do other things. It also, apparently, depends on how you feel about politics in … Continue reading»


  Take a close look at Puerto Rico. Is this the future of the United States? The island commonwealth, a U.S. territory, is bankrupt. It has borrowed and borrowed to pay its debts until it can’t borrow any more. Now, a judge will have to sort things out while life on the island gets worse and worse. Unemployment is about 12 percent, as of last fall. Government pensions … Continue reading»


Give credit where it is due. President Trump raised eyebrows this week when he said the Australians have better health care than the United States. He followed that up with this tweet: Of course the Australians have better healthcare than we do –everybody does. ObamaCare is dead! But our healthcare will soon be great. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2017 It all depends, of course, on … Continue reading»

Utah as a retirement mecca?


Move over Sun City. A better retirement community is Provo, or maybe Saratoga Springs, or perhaps St. George. I’m betting on Southern Utah. It’s hard to tell, because the folks at bankrate.com didn’t go into that kind of detail. But they did rank Utah just head of Arizona on a list of the best states in which to retire. Utah just missed the top-10, finishing 11th, right behind … Continue reading»


People in Salt Lake City must not be as happy as those in the rest of Utah. That’s the only logical conclusion to draw from the latest city-by-city happiness report from wallethub.com. A team of researchers there looked at “the various findings of positive-psychology research” and applied them to the nation’s 150 largest cities. Salt Lake City finished a respectable 49th on the list. That was better than … Continue reading»

Is Trump a friend or foe of Western states?


Listening to Gov. Gary Herbert’s annual state of the state speech Wednesday night, I couldn’t help speculating as to how differently it might have sounded if Hillary Clinton had won the White House. You might have heard more about the need to transfer ownership of public lands from Washington to the state or at least a mention of the Bears Ears National Monument, and you might have heard something … Continue reading»