ConsumerGram: The Unintended Consequences of Net Metering

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On the surface, the concept of promoting rooftop solar energy seems like a good idea: homeowners are incentivized to buy or lease solar panels; they benefit from reduced reliance on the local utility for electricity; they benefit directly from clean solar energy; and they sell any excess power to the electric utility for credit or […]

The Calm behind Fracked-Well Flaring Optics

oil drills

Flaring at fracking sites makes for great TV pictures but flames don’t speak and don’t come with explanatory tags.  For a fiction writer, it’s even better than a blank slate.  TV news anchors are served up with a screen of agile flames in brilliant colors.  The viewer is treated to an engaging performance that screams […]

Net Neutrality – What’s Outside the Gate?


Content purveyors are asking a big political favor from regulators – regulate Internet delivery networks by controlling the speeds and prices those firms are allowed to offer to everyone.  Under a brilliant but cynical choice of name, “net neutrality,” regulations would grant the wishes of one group of technical firms to the detriment of other […]

Meritocracy, Altruism and Economic Opportunity

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There has been too much partisan prattle and blaming about income inequality.  While there might be some agreement that reducing inequality is good for society, there is little agreement on how best to reduce inequality.   One extreme sees government-centered redistribution as the preferred way, others think self-help is the only enduring prescription.  While it addresses […]

A Welcomed Primary Care Provider

doctors scope

The scheduling delay for a routine appointment with one of America’s 210,000 primary care doctors seems to be measured in weeks, even when the doctor’s practice is already the patient’s medical home.  New patient appointments often take six weeks.  For a good ophthalmologist, 2 or three months seems to be a normal wait.  Medical care […]

The Odds of College Graduation


The back to school season for college students has arrived.  Millions are putting the finishing touches on their financial plans, clothing, dorm room gear, texts, subscriptions and electronics.  It may be too late to adjust the choice of school, but it’s not too late to research which college might offer a better chance of graduating. […]

FCC Needs to End Bias Spectrum Bidding Rules


Bidding Restrictions Could Lower Consumer Welfare by $230 Billion             To deal with the looming spectrum crunch, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which would, through reverse auctions, compensate TV stations for giving up broadcast airwaves and, through forward auctions, allow wireless service providers to repurpose the spectrum […]

Before the Financial Plan for Retirement


Much of the discussion on retirement comes in publications that focus on the best tools, investments and advisors for managing your retirement nest egg.  Those are important, but more important as a first step is to establish your choices on what you want to do during retirement and when retirement should start. For most, a […]

Security and Trust are Both Lost

computer spy

A decade ago, Internet privacy violations were often pranks by script kiddies hoping to out-do each other through website defacements.  Today, such juvenile antics attract little notice.   Instead, more news covers criminal gangs from Eastern Europe who steal personal account and password information for bank and credit accounts.  Personal information and credit card numbers for […]

Well, Look Who’s Scalping Tickets

ticket admission

Paperless ticketing is becoming an increasingly common way to issue tickets for events–in sports and entertainment especially. From a convenience standpoint, this seems to be a win for consumers—no need to worry about losing your tickets along with the appearance of efficiency through technology. But while that may be the appearance, it’s anything but the […]