30 for 30: Broke — Unexpected Expenses

 

One reason why so many athletes become broke after retirement is overspending, but a secondary issue is the unexpected costs associated with earning millions of dollars each year. This segment of the ESPN 30 for 30 special looks at the taxes and unexpected costs associated with earning millions of dollars per year. For many athletes, this may be the first real job they have held, which means they are unaware that they are now part of the highest tax bracket, so approximately 40% of their millions is withheld. A secondary issue is that athletes play in multiple states and countries, which means that they owe state and federal taxes in more than one jurisdiction. Because of the complicated tax situations, many athletes need a financial advisor in addition to their agents, who also take a percentage of the total income.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani and Darshak Patel have a great paper in the Southern Economic Journal that looks at using ESPN 30 for 30 to teach economics.

The Beatles — The Taxman

I reached out on Twitter to solicit advice for great music videos associated with different lessons, and my former teaching assistant responded with this great song from the Beatles. One of the great lines from the song goes like this:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

This is a great opener for a lesson on taxes and tax policy.

Thanks to Marissa Reuther for the song suggestion

Adam Ruins — Rent Seeking & Taxes

 

Adam Ruins Everything is a half-hour informational comedy were host, Adam Conover, debunks popular myths. Each episode is divided into 3 segments with some common theme. In the Spring of 2018, James Tierney and I sat down to go through all three seasons of Adam Ruins Everything to pick out examples in each episode that could be used in an economics course. If you’re curious about the paper, you can read about it here.

In this segment, Adam reports on the frustrations of taxes and why we don’t see return-free filing in the United States. Because of lobbying efforts by major tax software companies, the tax system is kept just complicated enough that consumers will purchase their products.

Last Leg — David Mitchell on Tax Avoidance

The Last Leg is a British comedy and late night television talk show similar to the Late Show or The Tonight Show in the United States. The economist David Mitchell was a guest one night and opted to talk about taxes, tax evasion, and tax avoidance. He notes that people who have a conscious and try to pay their “fair share” of taxes are actually being taxed at a higher rate than those who are trying to avoid paying taxes. This is backwards from the traditional notion that governments should use taxes to discourage bad behavior.

Thanks for the clip Chris Neill.

ieaTV — Art Laffer Explains the Laffer Curve

It’s not often that you can learn about the Laffer Curve from Art Laffer himself. While relatively controversial, Art Laffer popularized, but did not create, the notion that tax revenues could increase by lowering taxes. In this clip, he does a good job distinguishing between the two sections of the curve and focusing on the pedagogical side of the curve.

Christian Finnegan — Fat Tax

Christian Finnegan knows he isn’t in the best shape so he’s decided to join a gym. He figures that at least if he never goes to the gym then he can consider the gym membership a form of fat tax. This framing adjustment could still have the same impact as working out since he now has to internalize his decision to eat unhealthy foods.

Going Places (1948)

 

From YouTube:

Cold War cartoon defending the profit motive against anti-capitalist critics. The second of seven smart-looking animated shorts in the “fun and facts about American business” series. Its subject is “the profit motive,” and it stars “Freddie Fudsie,” a lazy soap maker who just wants to go fishing. He invents bar soap, makes some money, and is about to retire in peace and quiet when a sexy lady (the Profit Motive) walks by and Freddie — who suddenly needs more money to win her affection — never sees a fishing hole again. But that’s okay, because “the profit motive has been the driving force behind the growth of American industry” and “will make a better life for the children of tomorrow.”

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