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Supply and Demand (And Other Economic Arguments Against the Minimum Wage)

Next month, the minimum wage in America is going to raise from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour. The $6.55 to $7.25 jump is the last of the increases to the minimum wage under the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The minimum wage is a sexy law; politicians can stand hand in hand with the lowest income workers and say, "I'm fighting for you!". Unfortunately, the low income workers are holding the hands that hold them down.

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The Drag of Taxes and Inflation: A Penny Saved is Worth More Than a Penny Earned

"A penny saved, is a penny earned," wrote Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack. The quote is repeated as fact by many people, often while picking pennies off the ground. Our friend Ben lived in a simpler time, and it's time to revisit this famous quote with a little (disgusting? intriguing?) math to see if it holds up to closer scrutiny.

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ESPP - The Worldwide Leader in Returns

Employee Stock Purchase Plans come in many forms, but many offer a 15% discount on company stock for participants. There are harldy any investments that can match the annualized returns of these plans. Read on for a convincing look at why you should max out your contribution to your plan.

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A Modest Proposal - More (Gas) Taxes!

Assuming reducing the United State's usage of oil is a worthy task, the method used to go about it is all wrong. CAFE standards mandate the production of a certain class of vehicles... generally smaller and more efficient. However, there is no disincentive to convince consumers to stop buying the larger, more inefficient vehicles. Read on for a look at some of the myths and solutions to this interesting problem...

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401k: Roth vs. Traditional

One of the more interesting questions that has cropped up recently is whether the Roth or traditional 401(k) is the superior savings vehicle. Most people know that if you expect your tax rate to increase in retirement, a Roth is better, and a Traditional 401(k) is better in the case you believe it will decrease. I would like to show you some of the considerations where this may not be the whole story. I am not a financial planner; I just like to think through these sorts of decisions on my own. The following is my judgment of the situation, and you should discuss your own situation with a financial planner. Hopefully you can use this information for your own purposes. Also, if the middle is too dry, skip to the end. Enjoy!

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Health Savings Account Arbitrage

The Health Savings Account, or HSA was introduced in 2003 and has revealed itself to be a solid choice in saving money on health insurance. Beyond the obvious saving advantage that comes from empowering consumers to pay for most of their everyday medical expenses, the HSA also has a hefty tax benefit. HSAs are free from federal tax when accumulating, compounding and distributing money (although some states, like California do tax it). Of course, the tax benefit is only when using the HSA for qualified medical expenses. After the beneficiary turns 65, non-qualified distributions are taxed at the normal tax rate, just like a traditional 401(k) or IRA.

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