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Arthur Laffer, the influential supply-side economist behind President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, can now add mutual-fund manager to his r?sum?. His new Huntington Macro 100 Fund screens the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index to find the 100 stocks best positioned to benefit from monetary, fiscal, and trade policies. The broker-sold fund, which has a sales charge of 5.75%, initially will put a heavy emphasis on interest rates, the U.S. dollar, and, of course, taxes. Laffer told BusinessWeek (MHP
): "There has probably never been a time in my lifetime when state tax policies have been so dramatic for companies." Fly first class for less than the price of coach? I was recently on American Airlines' (AMR
) Web site, agonizing over paying $540 for a round-trip coach ticket from Burbank, Calif., to Dallas when I decided to throw first class into the equation. The result: I snagged a first-class seat from Los Angeles to Dallas and back for $518.
You can fly in the forward cabin for cheap between hundreds of city pairs, and you can thank the discount carriers for it. In my case, it was AirTran Airways (AAI
), which starts its Los Angeles-Dallas service on July 1. American (AMR
), Delta (DAL
), and United (UAL
) all cut their first-class prices to match AirTran's business class fare.
The trick to getting a discounted first-class ticket is to ask for it. If you're talking to a travel agent, ask if there's a Y-up fare, a coach ticket that guarantees you a seat in first class. Typically, a transcontinental round trip will cost $998. Not all airports have the fares, so check the ones used by AirTran and America West Airlines first.
I've been bumped into first class, I've upgraded, and I've used frequent-flier miles. But I've never bought my way in. Finally, I can afford it. If you've been hesitant about a European vacation this summer, some relief is in sight. Because of expectations the Federal Reserve Board will soon raise rates, the greenback is staging a strong recovery. As a result, the euro has fallen 7% against the dollar since March and is expected to continue heading down for the next three to six months. After that, say analysts, the dollar may weaken again because of investor concern about the $542 billion current account deficit. Descend into the subterranean corridors of Rockefeller Center in New York (behind the skating rink) from May 19 through June 6 and take a journey through four decades of motorcycle evolution. The free exhibit spotlights nearly 50 vintage, modern, and prototype bikes. There's also a 1979 Honda CB750 known as the FDNY Dream Bike, restored as a memorial to a fireman who owned it and perished in the World Trade Center attacks.