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EYE ON THE PIE: Reality not built on news releases

John Quill made his annual spring appearance last week and may stick around for another few weeks. As we enjoyed a relatively warm afternoon on the deck, he asked:

April 12, 2014 9:49 am

EYE ON THE PIE: If Noah had been a Hoosier

The new movie about Noah and his ark, combined with the antics of the Indiana General Assembly, led me to setting the fabled story here in the Hoosier state.

April 05, 2014 12:47 pm

Ideology battle continues over public, private control

Who should be in charge? Governments or private entities? If government, should it be the feds, states, or locals? What level of government, if any, should control transportation, education, health care, libraries, and almost anything else you can imagine?

March 30, 2014 12:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Lack of ethics is a two way street

Once upon a time, Walter Cronkite was “the most trusted man in America.” Last week, I heard former Congressman Lee Hamilton, “the most trusted man in Indiana,” give a talk on ethics in government.

March 22, 2014 3:06 pm

EYE ON THE PIE: Urban transit questions go unanswered

Trust those witty folks in the Indiana General Assembly to keep confounding us simple Hoosiers.

March 15, 2014 9:34 am

EYE ON THE PIE: State to study economic incentives

Congratulations to the Indiana General Assembly! These good men and women, unexpectedly, have taken a step forward toward rationality. Or so it would seem.

March 03, 2014 12:33 pm

EYE ON THE PIE: A tribute deserved

Recently I had the honor of addressing the Indiana House Committee on Roads and Transportation. One would think such a distinguished group would not want to hear from a longtime critic of the General Assembly. But they merely laughed when I was introduced.

March 01, 2014 11:44 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Marriage and divorce Hoosier style

Two good things happened recently: First, we survived another commercial blitz for Valentine’s Day. Second, fear of the public’s good sense caused the Indiana General Assembly to abandon its latest anti-gay crusade. Now we can consider marriage and divorce, two important activities often neg…

February 22, 2014 9:36 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Hoosier wage gap widens

Sometimes it seems our political leaders know only four-letter words like jobs. They often precede this with another four-letter word: good.

February 08, 2014 11:41 am

EYE ON THE PIE: When is enough enough?

From what I understand, most Hoosiers are more concerned about the economy than they are about same-sex marriage, alcohol at the State Fair, or any of the other inconsequential matters now occupying the General Assembly.

February 01, 2014 8:57 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Indiana twiddling with tax reform

January is the month for the State of the Entity speech by the chief executive. We have the State of the Union, the State, the City and, some places, the County. Most such speeches are recitations of “successes” and outlines of ideas for the future.

January 25, 2014 12:45 pm

EYE ON THE PIE: Economic development or ego gratification?

Economic development activity includes prospecting trips and granting incentives. As we witnessed in Indiana, the governor of Louisiana also is off “to develop deeper relationships with companies in Asia”

January 18, 2014 8:27 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Odds and ends for the new year

To begin the New Year, I want to apologize for an error in last week’s column. There I wrote the personal property of commercial and industrial firms was assessed at the state level. That is not true. County assessors remain responsible for such assessments.

January 11, 2014 9:48 am

EYE ON THE PIE: More concerns about business taxes

Strangely, there is little opposition to eliminating taxes on the equipment (personal property) of Indiana’s businesses.

January 05, 2014 6:00 am

BITS & BYTES: Wishing doesn’t change the facts

“Again, why?” William Nillie asked.

December 28, 2013 9:40 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Is the party over?

“The sky will fall. Inflation will soar. Money will be worthless. Stocks will crash. Auto sales will plummet and Indiana’s economy will go into the tank again.”

December 21, 2013 9:45 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Personal property tax evidence needed

The Indiana General Assembly is generous when giving away the revenues of local governments. The latest scheme, advocated by the politicians wielding power at the state level, is to give a nice tax break to businesses at the expense of local governments. They propose to get rid of the proper…

December 14, 2013 9:38 am

EYE ON THE PIE: The devil is in the denominator

While most folks have heard of The Terminator, many have forgotten the denominator. That’s the number below the line in a fraction.

December 07, 2013 9:49 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Confusion in world of computers

It was not surprising to see the confusion and attacks generated by the federal government’s effort to make the purchase of health insurance easier. We have seen it before. In business, universities, governments at all levels; new computer applications fail before they succeed.

November 30, 2013 9:28 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Competing views of giving

“What is the purpose of this season of buying and buying more?” asks Oliver Offenon.

November 23, 2013 9:24 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Not the time to emphasize our negatives

What is the No. 1 complaint of Hoosier employers? The labor force is outdated. We do not have enough workers with the training and experience to compete with other states and nations. Some employers would supplement that concern with the high percentage of applicants who cannot pass drug tests.

November 16, 2013 9:04 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Indiana leading the way back

We have been hearing a great deal about how manufacturing is leading the nation back from the recession, and Indiana is out ahead of the nation in that recovery. Do the numbers verify the story? By-and-large, Yes.

November 09, 2013 10:31 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Strategic planning for economic developmen

‘Tis the season for strategic planning. Organizations, public and private, for profit and nonprofit feel the need to know where they are going in the next year. If they haven’t made a new strategic plan (or cannot find the one they made last year), there is the anxiety of traveling without a map.

November 02, 2013 11:52 am

How do you want to pay for our roads?

It’s coming, not tomorrow, but soon. You and I will be asked by our federal and state representatives how the nation and Indiana should pay for the roads we drive.

October 27, 2013 12:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Breakfast competition mirrors capitalism

It was after 4 o’clock and Myrtle my muse was late. “What kept you so long?” I asked peevishly.

October 19, 2013 9:43 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Brown County working sensibly toward better future

There are so many ways to look at Brown County. You can marvel at the golden colors as the leaves turn this time of the year. You can admire the high median household income and high rates of educational attainment enjoyed by the citizens of Brown County. Or, you can zero in on the low wages…

October 12, 2013 9:27 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Data used to make us feel good

It was delightful to read in the newspaper that Kokomo, Elkhart-Goshen and Columbus were among the leading metropolitan areas in economic growth in 2012. The report came from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, and stimulated local public relations people to rejoice with news releases t…

October 05, 2013 9:34 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Health care debate rages

The debate over the Affordable Care Act, also known as ACA or Obamacare, seems to be a vast waste of time and energy. The act passed Congress, has been upheld by the Supreme Court and has already done considerable good for millions of Americans.

September 28, 2013 10:16 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Entrepreneurial deficiency questioned

“Dead last,” Derrick Duldrum pronounced.

September 21, 2013 2:56 pm

Best of the worst is not good enough

Are Hoosiers satisfied to be the best of the worst? Is mediocrity our highest level of aspiration? I like to believe the answer to those questions is NO, but I have my doubts.

September 15, 2013 12:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: The job deficit and political noise

Governors and mayors normally talk as if they are personally responsible for bringing jobs to their states and communities.

September 07, 2013 9:43 am

EYE ON THE PIE: A change at the top

Michael Huber is the new president at the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. His is not the ordinary climb up the ladder. He has not moved from one chamber to another, ever increasing the size and scope of his responsibilities.

August 31, 2013 10:12 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Economics remains a strong teacher

Every student who has taken introductory economics will tell you “if the price rises, less will be bought.” This is so firmly believed that is has been called “The Law of Demand.”

August 24, 2013 12:55 pm

Moving, again, sends shocks through the system

I did not expect it. Although as I look back, I now see I could have seen it coming. Like a hurricane, its path could be forecast although its timing and intensity were surprises.

August 18, 2013 12:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: ease vs. responsibility

I have just returned from a trip to the former East Germany and the current Czech Republic. Both were under communist rule for 40 years and they both, in different ways, are working toward the benefits and pitfalls of capitalism.

August 10, 2013 9:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Ivy Tech: our hope and our failure

Several years ago, I asked the chancellor of Ivy Tech in Gary, “Why does your institution exist?” The response was clear and definitive, “We are a second chance school where those who seek additional education experiences can turn after high school.”

August 03, 2013 3:24 pm

EYE ON THE PIE: Testing for a better society

“Do you believe in testing?” asked Eugenia Evergreen in her extra earnest voice. It was as if I were being asked if I believed in abortion, the right to choose or the Grand Canyon.

July 27, 2013 11:08 am

EYE ON THE PIE: The story behind PI, POP and PCPI

This story requires a long timeline. It is suggested you put on your slippers, snuggle in something comfortable and put your favorite beverage by your side.

July 20, 2013 9:28 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Growing diversity of population opens opportunities

Sometimes what everyone knows is not actually known by everyone. Often those who know something don’t pay any attention to what they know. At times that avoidance of the known can be costly.

July 13, 2013 7:31 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Mixed messages of income data

“So, like how are we doin’?” Eva LaFever asks. “We’re makin’ progress? We’re slippin’ back, maybe?"

July 06, 2013 9:31 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Improved employment hides continuing deficits

The May unemployment rates for Indiana counties were released last week. They show improvement, although the state figure (8.1 percent) remains above the national rate (7.3 percent).

June 29, 2013 9:49 am

EYE ON THE PIE: United funding for the arts in Indiana

Opinions are solely the writer's. Morton Marcus is an independent economist, writer and speaker. Contact him at

June 22, 2013 10:06 am

Eye on the pie

This column is not intended to confuse you, but to share the difficulty of making flat statements about a complicated matter. Be patient and maybe together we can make sense out of what appears to be chaos.

June 16, 2013 12:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: More than jobs should be considered

When you come down to it, having a job isn’t enough to make it in modern America.

June 08, 2013 10:11 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Newspaper is face of community

To many Americans, Indiana is known for corn and the 500 race. These are views that are out-of-date and injurious to the state.

June 01, 2013 9:43 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Age numbers tell part of the story

In statistics, the median is not a strip of grass down the middle of the highway. The median is the number with half of all values above and half below.

May 21, 2013 9:28 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Where to put your money in troubled times

Snail Smith’s real name is Stanley, but his contorted windup and slow pitches gave him the nickname, Snail, during his short baseball career.

May 18, 2013 10:14 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Treat good news as good news

I like to complain as much as anybody else. In truth, I may do more than my share of finding fault and wagging a finger in warning.

May 11, 2013 9:08 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Transit proposals are game changers

After baseball, my favorite TV watching is the government channel. Here I can see the local government in action or local government inaction.

May 04, 2013 5:32 pm

EYE ON THE PIE: Higher education completion rates questioned

Spring is really here. Baseball is being played, the Cubs are already tragic, and Faye of the Forest reappeared on the back deck. She was parked on the railing as I sat down to write this column.

April 27, 2013 9:21 am
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