Author Archives: Heaton


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TRUMPDATE: Donald In the Lead

Despite having insulted the entire nation of Mexico, as well as John McCain’s war record, Donald Trump is presently leading the pack of Republican presidential hopefuls. Not only have I unearthed old footage of Donald Trump’s 1989 board game “Trump the Game,” I’ll also explain why he’s the lead GOP presidential contender, and what he’s read more »

Monkey News: The Banana Derby

In Illinois the Banana Derby (a time-honored event where monkeys ride dogs like horses) has been catching flak, with people claiming it’s immoral to turn monkeys into jockeys. But do we really want to live in a country where county fairs don’t include simian cowboys? I know I don’t. Also featured: a cameo from Whiplash the read more »

The first robot wedding, and a Robot Poetry Turing Test

Robots are getting married in Japan, and a top university is combining poetry with ye old Turing Test. So I’ll prove that good ‘ol human poetry is better, more soulful, and less fattening than robot poetry. Also featured: cameos from animatronic American presidents speaking from Disney World. &nbspAndrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian read more »

EconPop: Castaway

  Castaway is the heart-warming story about a dedicated FedEx employee striving against all odds to ultimately deliver his packages and finish his assignment, even after getting marooned on an island for several years. It also features the brilliant Morgan Friedman as “Wilson the volleyball.” In this episode of EconPop we discuss: specialization. &nbspAndrew Heaton read more »

EconPop: The Shawshank Redemption

  This is one of the funniest episodes of EconPop, in my opinion, because of the frequent asides to my time in prison. But we also cover economics, too: specifically trade. Trade is good. Prison is bad. &nbspAndrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh read more »

EconPop: The Hudsucker Proxy

  In this episode of EconPop we tackle The Hudsucker Proxy, to investigate how supply and demand work, and why a minimum wage isn’t necessarily a good thing. I also spend a decent amount of time explaining why me being suspicious of the minimum wage does not automatically mean that I am an evil plutocrat. read more »

EconPop: Robocop

  Robocop is a timeless film (mostly based off of Shakespeare) which covers essential economic questions like, “What is a public good?” and “Who better delivers public goods, the private sector or the government?” and “Wouldn’t it be cool if a robot cop could kill a bunch of bad guys and walk through explosions and read more »

EconPop: It’s A Wonderful Life

In this yuletide edition of EconPop I do a spot-on Jimmy Stewart impression, explain banking and loans, then how the concept of moral hazard leads to robbing liquor stores. If you spent your entire childhood watching this film every Christmas like clockwork, and your parents are bankers but you never have anything to talk to read more »

Two Minutes Hate

In this latest installment of Two Minutes Hate we pose the question: “are cats the ideal libertarians?” Full disclosure: I am an unabashed dog person, and like Milton Friedman quite a lot. So my answer is a resounding “no.” That said, the amount of hate mail the hosts accrued after some derogatory comments they made read more »

EconPop: The Treasure of the Sierre Madre

  In this installment of EconPop we delve into The Treasure of the Sierre Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart. The film is worth watching for two reasons: first, Humphey Bogart goes on a psychotic homicidal rampage, which is funny to watch if the only film you’ve otherwise seen him in is Casablanca. There’s also an old-timey prospector character read more »

The Economics of Elysium

  I love cyborg movies, particularly if they’re in space. But Elysium is the first science fiction film I’ve seen where the economics is less believable than the footage of robots battling to the death. In this episode of EconPop we cover income inequality, the fallacy Zero Sum Game thinking, why Malthus was wrong, and read more »

Two Minutes Hate

This week Bernie Maxsmith returns to The Independents to relay belligerent mail to the hosts from viewers like you. We tried a couple of new formats, making one of the hate mails a compilation of suggested segment titles from viewers. Favorites include “Welch deep mucker” and “Bipolar Kennedy.” I also brought up the fact that read more »

Boston’s Stupid Government

The first thing you should know about Boston is that its State House, the capital of the entire state of Massachusetts, contains a thing called “the Sacred Cod.” The Sacred Cod is a large fish suspended within its House of Representatives, which is legally or at least traditionally necessary in order for their House to read more »

Boston’s Other History

Boston’s first European inhabitant was a man named William Blaxton, who hated people. Enough to move to Boston. Not that Boston is a bad place—I find it quite charming. But back in 1625 it was just undeveloped swamp. So, after having left England to get away from the English, Blaxton moved to a swamp to read more »

Yankee Porpoises: Welcome to Boston

My father hates Boston, “a city designed by drunken sailors,” but that’s because he once had to drive a car through it. If you hail from a squarish-shaped state like ours, with grid-patterned roads all neatly apportioned, Boston appears to be some kind of M. C. Escher hellscape. However if you like walking and public transportation, read more »

EconPop: Back to School

School is back in session! Time for good ‘ol professor Heaton to don a cap and elbow patches and use the film Back to School, starring Rodney Dangerfield, to explain the value of education in terms of human capital, how signalling works, and then as per usual slather as many jokes over the analysis as is read more »

Two Minutes Hate: The Schadenfreude Episode

In this installment of Two Minutes Hate faux Human Resources director Bernie Maxsmith appears to have surpassed his last appearances new-found confidence and resentment to clearly display a level of schadenfreude commiserate with the multiple times he has now appeared on the program without modifying the hosts’ behavior. It’s a good one, but I think read more »

I Can Now Legally Conduct Marriage Ceremonies

Recently some friends of mine asked me to officiate at their wedding. This means that as they officially launch their joint life together, with children and shared checking and what not, they want me to be the guy who hits the cosmic button and says “I now pronounce you man and wife.” At this point read more »

Two Minutes Hate: Back and Beardless

It’s been a month and a half since Bernie Maxsmith, faux Fox Business human resources director, has ventured from his lair of paperwork to harangue the hosts of The Independents with their viewer hate mail. He returns tonight. This is one of my favorite installments of Two Minutes Hate. The long stretch between appearances allowed read more »

The Economics of The Lego Movie

  If you like Legos and hate communism, you should watch me explain the economics of The Lego Movie. The film itself is fun and hilarious, but also allows us to explore the differences between a command economy (think the Soviet Union or Nazis) against a free market where everyone pursues their own agenda. The read more »