Textbook Pricing is Out of Control

It’s an older story, but here’s one on textbook prices and what we can do about it. The short version is that even your professor thinks the $300 price tag on a textbook is ridiculous and we need better solutions. Some professors are creating custom textbooks or bulk purchasing arrangements. Almost all of UMUC has gone to online learning resources that are freely available. It’s had some downsides, but the upside is there, too. When I taught public finance for the University of Baltimore, I reviewed four or five textbooks and one was head-and-shoulders above the rest. Of course, it

Say “Yes” to the Dress

One thing I am sure my students hate is that I don’t give extra credit. I’ve talked about this before, and there is no reason to rehash them. But I do like to add something when I can use extra credit to push their boundaries, or something neat. Last semester, while teaching precalculus, Nina decided to make a dress for Ducky. She made a small math error when she first did the calculations and the results were clearly incorrect at the end. Fortunately, we caught that before she started working from them, and we got it together on round two.

Regulatory Reduction and Benefit-Cost Analysis

In between terrorizing our allies at home and abroad, the new president has signed an executive order aiming for regulatory reform. Here’s the important part: Sec. 2. Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017. (a) Unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department or agency (agency) publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed. Now, this is completely inoperable in practice since the definition of regulation is so loosey-goosey as to be useless. But, hey, let’s try to analyze it anyway. This rule supplements Executive Order

The Land of Milk and Honey

Last night, and tonight, Howard County Council is debating CB-9, a bill to prohibit discrimination based on citizenship status in County affairs. Here’s my testimony: Good evening, Chairman Weinstein and members of the Council. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight. I am Dr. James Howard and have spent most of the last five years as a consultant in law enforcement at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. There, my work focused on southern border security, counternarcotics, and countertrafficking. I have also been a consultant to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, working in fraud detection. I am here tonight to