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Kogod in the Media/June 2011

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Executive-in-Residence Meredith Persily Lamel Weighs in on Bosses’ Monikers
What members of Congress prefer to be called is a highly individual affair. Many of the body’s physicians prefer to be referred to as “Dr.,” which could help congressmen such as Rep. Paul Broun and Sen. Tom Coburn influence the health care debate. Other members prefer to be known by their first name. What’s important for staffers, says Persily Lamel, is consistency. "Eventually, they’re going to slip, and that’s where consistency is helpful." View full article (6/29/11)

Professor Robin Lumsdaine on the debt ceiling
Finance Professor Robin Lumsdaine commented on the US reaching its debt ceiling for Australian Broadcasting Corporation. As the nation has hit its $14.3 limit and the partisan debate on spending cuts and taxes continues, Lumsdaine said there are “warranted fears” that the US government wouldn’t be able to fund itself. Her advice: Raise the debt ceiling limit. “As soon as possible,” she said. “I’m very sympathetic to the importance of working out those other challenges but this isn’t the thing to hold hostage.” View full article (6/28/11)

Associate Professor John Swasy's study on the drug facts section
Associate Marketing Professor John Swasy's study with the FDA of the "brief summary" section in printed prescription drug advertisements was featured in "The Pink Sheet" Daily, an online news source about the biopharmaceutical industry. The FDA seeks to redesign the section (currently printed in paragraph form), but the agency-sponsored study found no definitive, winning alternative. The majority of consumer participants preferred a drug facts box format, but that redesign may not be the best for everyone, Swasy said. "There's a group out there that want a lot of information and so the argument that … less information is better, I think you'd have to say that's not true for everybody," he explained. View Full Article (6/21/2011)

Professor Richard Linowes on the US’s “two economies”
In a CNBC piece, Professor Richard Linowes offered insight into the "two economies" of the United States: the economy that is competitive abroad and the economy that faces low employment and consumer confidence at home. While Linowes points out that the United States has motivated entrepreneurs and established a supportive financial network to promote innovation, he also states that the U.S. has faced increased competition as other nations put more emphasis on innovation. "'General Electric has created four major research centers worldwide and only one is in the US. The others are in China, Brazil and India,' adds Linowes. 'What's more, the speed at which Americans innovate is problematic abroad and domestically.'" View Full Article (6/21/2011)

Tax Center Director David Kauter on the effects of proposed DC taxes and fees
In a Washington Times op-ed, Kogod Tax Center Director David Kautter expressed concern over DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s proposal for $127.8 mill in taxes and fees. Kautter argues that some of the proposals could have unintentional, adverse effects on the middle class, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the District. "It is estimated that most job creation and innovation in the economy occurs within small businesses. The District is no different," Kautter writes.

He states that the proposed minimum business-franchise tax, two transportation levies, a parking garage tax increase, and increasing withholding on DC residents "might hinder growth among our job-creating small businesses and entrepreneurs and cause real harm to employees who live in the District, particularly middle-income wage earners." View Full Article (6/14/11)

Professor Michel Robe’s research on energy markets’ financialization and equity-commodity co-movements, with Bahattin Buyuksahin of the International Energy Agency, was the focus of an article on, a strategic information service for the asset management and hedge fund industries. The article discusses Robe and Buyuksahin’s research, summarizing their conclusion: “Cross-correlation patterns appear to show that hedge funds involved in both equity and commodity futures markets play a big, bad role in causing energy market distortions, which in turn affects both the price of oil and the prices drivers pay at the pumps.” View Full Article (6/5/11)

Tax tips for young summer workers
Don Williamson, director of the M.S. in Taxation Program, was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on tax tips for young summer workers. While the unemployment rate for workers ages 16 to 24 is down, the Journal says there are opportunities for savings under U.S. tax rules. Parents can hire workers under 18 to work for their sole proprietorships or husband-and-wife partnerships, and can skip Social Security or Medicare tax on the child's pay. The business owner can also take a deduction for the child's pay, which is often below the standard deduction of $5,800 and is, thus, tax-free. The Journal's Laura Sauders writes: "Total tax-free income swells to $10,800 if the child puts the next $5,000 of pay into a tax-deductible individual retirement account, says Don Williamson, a tax expert with American University's Kogod Tax Center in Washington." View Full Article (6/4/11)