William Longbrake

Why Harley-Davidson Isn't Alone in Overseas Shift

SMITH BRAIN TRUST – When Harley-Davidson announced this week it would move some production overseas to weather the increased costs posed by the European Union’s retaliatory tariffs, the announcement was pretty stunning. 

How could the iconic American motorcycle maker, a symbol etched into the American consciousness from films like “Easy Rider,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Terminator 2” and “Every Which Way But Loose,” manufacture anywhere else but the U.S. of A? To some people, the decision seemed almost unpatriotic.

Should Everyone Receive a Basic Income?

At a time when robots and other forms of automation appear poised to edge out wide swaths of the global workforce, several pilot projects and at least one documentary film are exploring the idea of universal basic income – free money for everyone, enough to cover basic expenses. It's a big idea that dates back at least to 1795 in the United States, with revolutionary activist and author Thomas Paine. Martin Luther King, Jr. touted its merits in the 1960s, as did libertarian economist Milton Friedman, who lauded the virtues of a negative income tax. In 1971 President Richard Nixon wrote a proposal along those lines. But the notion of universal basic income has perhaps never been as relevant around the world as it is now, say experts. Read more...

Three Ways Trump’s Tax Plan Would Affect Families

President Donald Trump’s proposed plan to reform the tax code, as revealed in a one-page outline last week, would benefit middle and lower-income households in three ways, but to varying degrees, says the Smith School's William Longbrake. The proposal would simplify filing requirements and reduce income taxes for many Americans, and lower significantly the tax rate for corporations and companies like his. Overall, says Longbrake, only “a negligible amount" of the estimated $3 trillion to $7 trillion in reduced taxes over the next 10 years would benefit low-income families. Read more...

Brexit Countdown: Faculty Perspectives

“Divorces are tough,” says Smith School economist Peter Morici. But Britain nonetheless should break from the “shackles” of its union to a Europe economy locked in ruinous cycles of debt crises and high unemployment. "The EU suffers from chronic slow growth thanks to a smothering bureaucracy and single currency," Morici says. Other Smith School professors foresee challenges if United Kingdom voters opt to separate from the European Union in a referendum on June 23, 2016. Read more...

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