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…

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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

In the coming months, the U.S. economy will appear as if it is returning to normal. That won’t really be the case, but the conversation about the economy will shift from stabilizing and relief to long-term growth. Midwesterners, particularly Hoosiers ought to be very nervous about the next d…

On March 12, President Biden signed into law another stimulus bill to address the enormous damage done to our economy through COVID-19. There are principled arguments for and against most details of the $1.9 trillion bill. I feel Congress could’ve passed a much smaller bill, maybe half the s…

17 Purdue Professors Lead the Way on Climate

With a minimum wage increase once again prominently featuring a policy debate, it seems wise to treat the issue a bit differently. Instead of outlining the positive and negative effects of a particular increase of the minimum wage, I’ll offer the best arguments for and against any minimum wa…

Great paper, great balance

Last week’s column on school funding in Indiana stirred a great deal of conversation around the state. I am glad it did, but cannot take credit for the interest. Most Hoosiers are keenly attentive to their local schools and concerned about the economic performance of their cities and towns. …

The Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission released their report in mid-December. All Hoosiers should be interested in what it did and did not say about teacher pay, along with recommendations they offered. I begin with some stark observations about education finance.

Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

Indiana’s State Senators didn’t intend to galvanize Hoosiers to protect isolated wetlands, but their vote last month to repeal regulation of these important ecological features sure did the trick.

The Republican supermajority in the Indiana General Assembly is currently attempting to prioritize private education benefiting fewer than 10 percent of students, while underfunding its constitutional duty of providing a system of common school open and available to all. It is public schools…

One of the great things about living in the U.S. is that our city and county governments are required to keep their citizens informed about their actions. One of the ways they do this is through public notices – the informational notices that have been deemed to be of importance to local con…

I’ve spent several days over the past month providing economic forecasts on Zoom. In this pandemic year, I gave a forecast for the five states of the Great Lakes region and seven metro areas. This is a broad set of forecasts, but the pandemic makes the forecast easier to explain. The evidenc…

U.S. Chamber of Commerce's new climate policy stance

A common belief I hear repeated often is that too many young people go to college, and that more should go into the trades where they can avoid the wasteful debt of college and still earn a good living. The problem with this argument is that the few parts that are true are largely benign, an…

Once again our state legislators are endorsing laws that cater to corporations while ignoring the public’s best interest. It’s nothing new, but this time it could cause permanent damage.