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KENNETH ZAPP

Minimum wage issues have competing demands

Recently an avid reader of business publications asked me if I thought we (the federal government) should raise the minimum wage. To answer morally, yes! We have about 2.5 million workers who earn only $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum. In most parts of or country, these workers would live in poverty if single and clearly could not support a family.

Union workers and minimum wage activists gather for a Labor Day rally in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Zapp: A guide to small business assistance in Savannah

Having volunteered at Savannah SCORE for six years, I have often wondered whether we and other organizations dedicated to help small business owners duplicate our efforts?

Ken Zapp

Zapp: Let’s take another view of short-term rentals

As a seven-year resident of the Historic District, a three-year licensed short-term vacation rental, or STVR, owner, a retired economist, and a new Downtown Neighborhood Association Board member, I wish to offer an alternative method to achieve the goal of limiting (and reducing) the proliferation of STVRs which will be less divisive and more legally sound than one concept I have heard is being proposed. Full disclosure: we sold our STVR June 20.

Zapp: Replacing or improving ACA requires more than market solution

The Republican failure to replace and/or improve the Affordable Care Act once again included some calls for free market solutions instead of government involvement. Once again, as an economist, I must try to explain why the market by itself cannot solve our health care challenges.

Zapp: Casino economics don’t add up for Savannah

Representative Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, and others introduced a bill in the state legislature which, if passed, could lead to a state approved gambling casino in Savannah. The bill was pulled from consideration before Crossover Day, but sponsors plan to bring it back next session.

Kenneth Zapp: Let’s find solution to Chatham County housing crisis

We have a crisis in our community: People with limited financial resources cannot find affordable housing.

Zapp: What will Pres. Trump offer GOP's new white working class constituency?

After being taken for granted by the Democratic Party since Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, white, working people gave the Electoral College victory to Donald Trump by delivering Rust Belt states to him. As an economist, I ask what he and his party may do for them in return?

ZAPP: Deficit illustrates how trade policies must evolve

Our trade deficit has become a major issue in this year’s irregular presidential campaign.

ZAPP: Competitive advantage in the restaurant business

I asked John to name his competitive advantage. His answer was refreshing, especially coming from a true foodie. He says, sadly, most restaurants do not value their employees. 

ZAPP: The economics of parking regulation

A recent consultant’s report recommended changes in Savannah’s regulation of parking downtown. Among the proposals are longer hours for metered parking (currently only until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), expansion of the use of meters to streets that currently are meter free and higher meter rates in the concentrated tourist region (Broughton Street and north to the river).

Zapp: A matter of economics and rational thought

The economic theory of market capitalism assumes that participants make rational decisions. Only consumers know what goods or services satisfy their needs, and they spend their scarce financial resources accordingly to maximize their personal satisfaction.

ZAPP: A few words on the single-payer medical system

While our society would benefit from an honest discussion of alternative funding mechanisms for medical services, this seems impossible given our current environment of partisan bickering and wildly inaccurate statements from political pundits.

ZAPP: The effects of President Obama's economic actions

Under normal circumstances, one would have to say that our economy is functioning reasonably well. Unemployment is down to 5 percent, inflation is under 2 percent and last year’s fiscal deficit was the lowest since 2007.

In the current environment of ideological noise, however, a calm discussion of the overall effects of President Obama’s economic policies seems impossible.

ZAPP: Making decisions to benefit future generations

A central lesson of introductory economics is called the “Tragedy of the Commons.”

When public land was available for farmers to graze their livestock at no cost, the grass was quickly ravaged and soil depleted of its nutrients. Since access was free, farmers overused the valuable resource.

ZAPP: Housing first: How to achieve the goal?

In October, Philip Mangano, former executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (under Presidents Bush and Obama) and currently CEO of the American Roundtable to End Homelessness, addressed a conference organized by the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless.

ZAPP: Economics: The dismal science

While some may dispute that economics is a science at all, it has long been thought to be a dismal approach to our human story. The origin of the dismal nature of my field stems from the early classical understanding of the interplay of economic results and population trends.

ZAPP: Former Yugoslavia: 24 years after the breakup

Last month, my daughter Tara and I returned to former Yugoslavia to visit old friends and assess the new economies almost a quarter century after the country of southern Slavs started to disintegrate into seven different nations.

ZAPP: Trump says business better under Democrats

Other Republican presidential candidates have attacked Donald Trump for saying business has been better while Democrats were in power than when Republicans were in the White House. Some even said he’s a Democrat, not a Republican.

ZAPP: Knowing when to cut your losses

In “The Gambler,” Kenny Rogers sings about knowing when to hold and when to fold. This is a skill that seems in short supply and difficult to teach. Business leaders and elected officials alike seem unable to cut their losses when they face financial challenges.