When to make the jump to a Roth

Converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA could make sense, says Mary Beth Franklin in, especially after a $100,000-a-year income cap for conversions disappears in 2010. But if you have a sizable balance in your IRA, watch out: “a conversion could trigger a huge tax bill.” So is it worth it? Probably, “if you can take the tax hit.” Although “future tax rates are impossible to predict,” your taxes could very well rise after 2010, in which case you’d come out ahead with a Roth. You can also convert over several years, so you don’t get pushed into a higher bracket. And your heirs will thank you, as they’ll “inherit the account tax-free.”

Did airline deregulation help fliers?

Did U.S. airline deregulation achieve its twin goals of “spurring competition and bringing down airfares”? says Micheline Maynard in The New York Times. By some measures, yes: by others, “not so much.” Thirty years ago, there were 10 large and eight regional carriers, “service was limited,” and fares were higher. But while average prices are lower now, “comfort and reliability” have suffered. And with frequent flier programs, code sharing, and well-guarded hubs, competition today may actually be lower than in 1978. But proponents point to Southwest as the “best proof” for deregulation’s success—Southwest wouldn’t be the biggest domestic carrier without it.