Opinion: Tax debate should be about value of government services, not price

It seems likely the Indiana General Assembly will discuss major tax changes this year. This discussion is warranted for many reasons. First, this is a non-budget session, and these matters take time. So, beginning homework on our taxes is prudent, even if change takes several years. Second, we have some growing structural problems with our…

Opinion: It is time to be honest about debt, spending and taxation

The U.S. Congress is turning its attention to something called the Build it Back Better (BBB) bill. This is a good time to think critically about the political economy of our national debt. It is good to start with some facts and acknowledge what we do and do not know about the economic consequences of…

Bartels: Federal vaccine mandates are unconstitutional

Although written and ratified centuries ago, the U.S. Constitution remains a guiding force for lawmakers at all levels to both protect individual freedoms and guard against government overreach. President Joe Biden’s recent call for vaccine mandates on businesses nationwide, and hefty fines for those that refuse to comply, shows blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution…

Letter: Economic uncertainty should curtail new jail spending

To the Editor: The Dubois County Commissioners have decided to go forward with a new County Jail that includes the Courts, or a Justice Center as they call it. A planned new jail is to cost $30 million and now the new Justice Center will be an additional $11 to $12 million, all of this…

Column: Assault on prosperity continues

After facing three weeks of withering criticism about new visa restrictions, the Trump Administration took the opportunity this week to further damage the U.S. economy. This time, the damage may be far more immediate and widespread, affecting hundreds of American cities, more than a million foreign college students and millions of U.S. workers.  With every…

Opinion: We are still underreacting to COVID-19 risks

No individual human life is possessed of infinite value. At least, none of us actually behave as if it does. No matter how fully each of us wishes to live, we inevitably take risks. We ride in automobiles, eat food prepared by unknown hands, trust in medicines and home appliances tested by scientists. At some…

Opinion: Back to basics in education and away from vocational indoctrination

Indiana’s economic future will be primarily determined by the share of Hoosier adults who graduated from college. If that share remains low, our economy will languish, our incomes will continue to fall further behind the national average and our best-educated citizens will relocate elsewhere. This truth cannot be too often repeated, but it begs other…

Perspective: Some advice for high school graduates

A recent column of mine offered advice to young college students. So, it only seems reasonable to offer similar economic advice to the 45 percent of high school grads who aren’t headed to college. To be honest, much of the practical advice will be the same, but for young folks who’ve decided not to attend…