Author Archive | Special

Opinion: Growing regional inequality is the challenge of our age

From shortly after the Civil War until perhaps three decades ago, the United States passed through a remarkable period of economic convergence. During this time, counties became more similar to other counties and states became more alike other states, at least in terms of GDP, per capita income and other measures of economic performance. The […]

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Opinion: Slow growth, but not a recession in 2020

I released my 2020 economist forecast last week, projecting the U.S. economy to slow significantly next year. The model I use projects that annualized growth rates will slip from 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020 down to 1.7 percent by the year’s end. Here in Indiana, my forecasting model has growth slowing to […]

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Opinion: Recovery has not been kind to Indiana

I deliver my annual forecast later this week, so let’s review where we have come as an economy since the end of the Great Recession. The news is far more dismal than I prefer, but it is wise to know where we are coming from before discussing our future.  The Great Recession was deep and […]

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Opinion: Economic policies stuck in the 1960s

The year 1971 was important for economic development in Indiana. For in that year, the actual number of jobs created in firms attracted directly by government policies declined. In 1971, the U.S. economy chugged along well, and overall job creation in Indiana was strong. However, we lost jobs among those businesses who produce goods and […]

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Opinion: Beware claims of a Golden Age in our economy

There seems to be a great deal of recent romanticizing the 1950s and 1960s. This is particularly the case with a vague vision of a middle class and middle-class neighborhoods. Taken in parts, this is natural reminiscing. Here in the Midwest, these decades were relatively prosperous, and a young man leaving high school could look […]

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‘This is a warning shot’: Indiana’s Red for Ed rally isn’t a strike, but it’s closing schools anyway

Originally posted on Chalkbeat by Emma Kate Fittes on November 15, 2019 Indiana teachers aren’t going on strike, but experts say they are putting lawmakers on notice. Tuesday’s fast-growing rally is expected to cancel school for half of the state’s students while as many as 12,000 teachers descend on the Statehouse to make a list […]

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Opinion: Causes of a possible recession

Economic growth, not a recession, is the norm. For every one quarter the U.S. has spent in recession since the end of World War II, we’ve spent eight quarters growing. Of the 75 quarters in this century, only 10 have been recessionary. I’m counting our current quarter as growth, which may prove a bit optimistic.  […]

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Commentary: Trade and the division of labor

A turbulent week in the economy is a very good time to write about fundamentals. Trade, its origins, and its benefits are a timely topic. I must warn readers that these ideas aren’t very hard, but rather shockingly simple. They will challenge what you’ve heard in the media and on the campaign trail. The elemental […]

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Opinion: The trade war is slowing our economy

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meets this week to consider whether to ease the money supply. The most obvious mechanism for doing this is by reducing the interest rates they charge member banks. This change will filter quickly to bank loans on cars, on homes and eventually on credit cards. More money leads to […]

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Opinion: Erasing college debt is an astonishingly bad idea

Every presidential campaign contains a share of pandering drivel. One idea that currently fits that bill is the idea of cancelling the roughly $1.6 trillion of outstanding college debt. I will explain why this is a bad idea, and outline some of the real problems underlying college costs. However, I must begin by noting that […]

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Opinion: My talk to school superintendents

I gave a talk to the Indiana Superintendent’s Summit this week, and thought the issues I discussed might be of interest to Hoosiers as we think about our state’s economy. I began by sharing what the state’s Constitution says about education: “Knowledge and learning, general diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of […]

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Opinion: Recession looking more likely

With the mid-year point rapidly approaching, I like to review my 2019 forecast and evaluate what I got wrong and what I got really wrong. Of course, all forecasts are wrong, but some are more useful than others. So far, it looks like I have been off just a little through 2019. My forecast was […]

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