What's the Biggest Tax Mistake That Might Be Made This Year? A Freakonomics Quorum

Consider the ingredients: a frail economy, a toxic political environment, looming hard deadlines and massive uncertainty in the business community - the perfect circumstances under which to write some great federal tax policy!

But tax-code writing will be done - on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, the estate tax, the Alternative Minimum Tax, capital-gains taxes and more.

How Would You Simplify the Financial-Reform Bill? A Freakonomics Quorum

Last month, roughly two years into a global financial maelstrom, the U.S. Congress passed a financial-reform bill. It was more than 2,300 pages long, addressing everything from derivatives to consumer financial products to oversized banks. We asked a few clever people a simple question.

How Much Do Protests Matter? A Freakonomics Quorum

Iran's citizens take to the streets en masse after a disputed election. Gay men in Salt Lake City hold a kissing protest. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church voice their anti-just-about-everything views to military funerals and elsewhere.

Beyond the media attention they inevitably garner, what do protests actually accomplish?

What Would Happen if Marijuana Were Decriminalized? A Freakonomics Quorum

So we asked a group of people -- Paul Armentano, Mike Braun, Joel W. Hay, Jeffrey Miron, and Robert Platshorn -- to think about a national decriminalization of marijuana (unlikely, let's be honest) and answer the following: What would be some of the most powerful economic, social, and criminal-justice effects?

Let's Talk About Tax Cheating: A Freakonomics Quorum

Photo: hoggardb The Internal Revenue Service presumably never likes tax cheats, but when money is tight there is more pressure put on the I.R.S. to step up enforcement and collect more money. The most recent gambit, reported today, is an amnesty program designed to root out offshore tax havens. We once wrote of another I.R.S. […]

What Would Micropayments Do for Journalism? A Freakonomics Quorum

The notion of micropayments — a pay-per-click/download web model — is hardly a new one. But as a business model it hasn’t exactly caught fire, or even generated more than an occasional spark. Lately, however, the journalism community has become obsessed with the idea. This is what happens when an existing business model begins to […]

A Freakonomics Quorum: How Will the Recession Affect Clean Technology?

Way back when in 2006, here’s what venture-capital legend John Doerr had to say about clean technology: “This field of greentech could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” As recently as early 2008, plenty of investors and technology companies were still predicting a clean-tech boom. But now? With a recession that has […]