A portion of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (LJSA) was included in the recent Build Back Better bill that was passed in the House. The LJSA, which has bipartisan support in the House, provides needed support for local journalists across the U.S. and is now being considered in the Senate.

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Thanksgiving is upon us again, bringing to mind the pilgrim story. That is a fine tale of religious refugees, which is probably the most enduring and evocative American experience. But rightly understood, the American Thanksgiving comes to us from Abraham Lincoln. It was made by his proclama…

The holiday season is a busy time of year as we practice the traditions with our families, share special moments with loved ones, and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

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, …

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 cons…

Last month, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation made public all 17 regional proposals for the state’s READI Grant program. Since the program was announced, I’ve been dreading this date primarily because I was confident the program would fall short of even modest expectations. The pr…

Why should we be penalized for working hard for our country?

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg received a great deal of criticism lately for taking paternity leave. It is a time of snarled port traffic, understocked grocery shelves and growing worry about supply chains. I think these critiques are in bad faith and unworthy of an intellectuall…

Today’s tight labor markets, which seem especially pronounced among low-wage jobs, have led to considerable speculation about the future of work. Of course, the labor market shocks of the pandemic set new records of unemployment, and the disease likely caused a million Americans to die early…

Loss of Dr. Diamond was Frankfort's gain

Inflation talk continues to animate the airwaves, or at least cable TV, and remains part of the political conversation. Economists should have something to say about this; after all, it has been a central area of research for much of the past century. Still, we should approach the issue with…

If a group of parents request that certain material be removed from the classroom, that is not censorship or “book banning,” Is that a provocative statement? I don’t think it should be.

Two decades ago, as a brand-new professor, I worked with a team of researchers studying healthcare access in rural West Virginia. Our goal was to identify ways to measure the effects of missing medical treatment or barriers that might cause patients from following up with healthcare. This re…

Today, many businesses struggle to hire the workers they need. Whatever the causes, this current challenge will surely prompt widespread changes by employers. This type of adjustment isn’t a new phenomenon, but economists allocate very little time explaining the mechanics of change. Nor do w…

Support clean energy 

The monthly state-level employment summary this week reported that Indiana lost 4,200 jobs in August, while the nation as a whole saw a tad more than 250,000 new jobs created. This was worse than the July jobs report, where Indiana picked up a paltry 10,000 jobs out of the 1.1 million create…

Many business leaders are reluctant to say so publicly, but President Biden’s vaccine mandate is a welcomed gift. It offers them and their employees a relatively easy way to dodge what may be a looming health insurance price spike. For businesses that find it hard to hire and keep workers, t…

Reflections from the Class of ’70 reunion

On this anniversary of 9/11, many Americans will naturally feel conflicted about our role in Afghanistan. Whatever we each feel should be tempered by the realization that our fight against the extremists who attacked us 20 years ago is ongoing. We have forces deployed to dozens of nations in…

For years after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, people would ask, "Where were you when you heard the news?" For a younger generation, it's "Where were you on 9/11?"

This Labor Day weekend comes in the wake of a turbulent pandemic, accompanied by record high unemployment followed abruptly by concerns about a labor shortage. These facts occasion some introspection about the future of work in America. To do so means recognizing the current and likely futur…

The last decade saw considerable concern over rising income inequality in the United States. Academic work by Thomas Piketty and the populist backlash that fueled the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump brought this concern to mainstream America. Over the past few years…

Thank you

Earlier this month, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) passed the U.S. Senate in an overwhelming bipartisan vote. This legislation launches a multi-year one-trillion-dollar effort to improve roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, broadband, the electrical grid and other…

Repeal WEP, GPO

My 18-month work-from-home experience has come to a formal end. No one, except maybe my wife, is more excited than I. The experience has caused me to muse upon the leadership and management differences the COVID pandemic yielded, and what the effect on individual business and the workplace m…

In support of Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

One of the great recent puzzles in economics has been the absence of inflation, particularly in the years after the Great Recession. Some recent research explains why inflation has been so muted for so long. This work also suggests that inflation will be of diminishing concern in the future.…

Just a few short months ago, economic optimism was strong. A fast recovery seemed imminent even if actual data revealing a rapid recovery was sparse. Businesses were beginning to re-open and hire, the vaccine was becoming universally available. Most of us were eager to return to restaurants,…

In May, Governor Holcomb’s announced an early end to pandemic unemployment assistance. This decision was a rare policy mistake for an administration that had spent more than a year handling COVID with admirable attention to data and good judgement. The mistake was also unusual in that the pr…

Earlier this year, Indiana’s General Assembly passed Senate Bill 414, which required universities to survey students about the climate for free speech on campus. Schools must then report these findings to the Commission on Higher Education. Normally I’d be reluctant to weigh in on such a law…

The Indiana Supreme Court is helping launch a full-fledged assault on government transparency, and we need to push back and speak up in order to keep our democracy from falling into darkness.

Revisionism of our history has no place in our schools

Jeffrey L. Shrum, 63, of Frankfort, passed away on June 21, 2021, at his home in Frankfort. He was born to (Lisha) Hilton Shrum and Justine E. Donoho Shrum Judd on Dec. 27, 1957, in Frankfort.

As this pandemic hopefully winds down, its useful to think through the forecasts and analysis that economists got right, and what we got wrong. This is important because the U.S. has not ever been through such a deep, rapid, nor nearly simultaneous economic downturn. Never has our fiscal res…

Indiana joined a dozen other states in choosing to end federal pandemic unemployment insurance early. On June 19, unemployed workers in the state will stop receiving their supplemental weekly payments, which are financed by federal tax dollars. This step was clearly taken at the behest of bu…

I was leaving the gym last Wednesday when Tony told me they would be closed on Friday and Monday.

President Biden laid out his infrastructure plan in a recent address to Congress. The American Jobs Plan contains spending priorities that go well beyond traditional roads and bridges. It deserves an honest appraisal, including an assessment of the economic conditions we now face. I begin by…

This month, nearly 2 million Americans will graduate college with a bachelor’s degree. Roughly 800,000 will receive a master’s degree, and just over 200,000 will receive law, medical or doctoral degrees. Additionally, just over 1 million students will receive an associate’s degree. Some of t…

Help feed hungry kids

Many businesses are reporting difficulty in finding workers. I hear this from business owners whose judgement I trust. I also read about it on social media, here in Indiana and around the country. These reports don’t square with the data that show very large numbers of unemployed. There are …

One feature of the past two or three decades is what economists call the polarization of labor markets. This is a fancy way of saying that we are seeing growth in high- and low-wage jobs, but a decline in middle-wage work. By any definition, the U.S. still has a large middle class, but three…

We are now a year past the darkest days of the COVID recession. As the economy slowly begins to recover, we should recognize that Indiana has still lost six years of job creation. Total employment in Indiana is back at April 2015 levels, and there are only 1,500 more people working than we h…

Remembering Denny Smith

The chances are that folks learn most of what they know about economics in their late teens or 20s, in a high school or college class. It is also often the case that the person teaching that class learned most of their economics 30 or 40 years before that. So, it may easily come to pass that…

There is a bit of an unexpected tussle going on right now in the statehouse. You see, the Republican supermajority did not expect to have any problem pulling more money away from public education and giving it to private education entities. It turns out that people are pushing back, and the …

Perplexed by our state legislators