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Airlines, Student Loans, Careers for the Collapse and Economic Growth

Listeners’ Questions, Peter’s Answers – March 16, 2012

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Mark from Rochester, MN
It seems like air travel is the same whether you fly US Air or Delta or United or Southwest. Why is this? Has the FAA so over regulated the industry that each company has no room to differentiate their services…and therefore can only compete on price alone? Also, why is it that none of these airlines that file bankruptcy ever go out of business?

Eric from Yonkers, NY
I would love to work in a brokerage firm, but I don’t want a career in sales. I would rather teach economics. Which colleges and Universities are from the Austrian School?…And can I go to jail for not repaying my student loans?

Duc from Shoreline, WA
I am a recent immigrant from Vietnam and a college sophomore looking for a major. I have been following your show for almost a year and I feel unfortunate to immigrate here & suddenly realize a failed American dream. I believe you will advise me to come back to my home country; however, due to family reasons, it is just not possible. Can you suggest a career that I may consider to survive the upcoming collapse? Should accounting & engineering be considered recession-proof in this difficult time, since the job prospects for these graduates have been very good? Thank you.

Casey from New Orleans, LA
I got an email from a friend, supposedly explaining why the European bailouts are a good idea: A rich German tourist stops by a hotel in Italy and plunks down a big wad of cash on the counter to reserve a room, but before he actually agrees to stay, he wants to go up and take a look at the room first. The manage sends the rich German upstairs to look at the room and while he’s gone, quickly runs off to use the money to pay off his bar tab with the Irish bartender next door. The bartender then runs off to pay his debt to a Spanish prostitute who lives down the street, who then uses the money to pay off her hotel bill at the hotel run by the Italian. The German comes back downstairs and having found the room not to his liking, takes his cash back and leaves. No new wealth was created but everyone’s debts are discharged. Can you address this idea that sometimes economic growth is stymied just because everyone is in debt and lacking the liquidity to pay it off and that if only we could “inject” a little liquidity it might get things moving again?

Dave from Wilkes-Barre, PA
I understand the many benefits to a gold standard but the one downside I can’t seem to solve if how the gold standard would adjust for a growing economy and more jobs being introduced which would subsequently require more money in circulation.