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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

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: 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

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: 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: Entrepreneurial deficiency questioned

“Dead last,” Derrick Duldrum pronounced.

September 21, 2013 2:56 pm

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

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: 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: 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: 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

EYE ON THE PIE: Our anger rests on varied values

The rancor and moral outrage of the left and right over various current issues eats at the very core of civilized discussion.

April 15, 2013 7:26 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Privatize another state resource

Hortense and I were strolling from our car to the Exposition Hall of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Our goal was the Indiana Artisan Marketplace, but we had to pass the Southwest Pavilion where they were holding the Midwest Reptile Show.

April 13, 2013 9:35 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Measuring Indiana’s economic progress

The news recently about Indiana’s economy was a mixed bag. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Indiana ranked 16th in growth of personal income among the 50 states. Our 3.7 percent increase over 2011 beat out the national figure of 3.5 percent.

April 06, 2013 11:40 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Unemployment data demand attention

“Here’s a fact for you,” said Seymour Semaphore, who knows my interest in statistical realities. “Four of the five Indiana counties with the lowest average unemployment rates over the past 24 years border Indianapolis.”

March 30, 2013 9:01 am

EYE ON THE PIE: County population changes raise alarms

With all the hoopla about basketball, several important issues are being neglected. But what else can arouse the passions of our citizens?

March 23, 2013 8:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Money flows across county lines

Indiana gains from commuting. More money flows into Indiana than leaves the state from the daily movement of workers. In 2011 the difference between the inflow and the outflow was in excess of $4 billion.

March 16, 2013 4:50 pm

EYE ON THE PIE: GDP, the DNA of MSA economies

The nation’s 366 metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, accounted for 89 percent of the $13.3 trillion United States Gross Domestic Product in 2011. After the polluted language we’ve heard from legislators in Washington and Indianapolis, doesn’t that sentence give you a nice, clean feeling?

March 09, 2013 9:29 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Speedway hits the trough

Tim Ptomaine is a quiet fellow not given to hysterics, but the day we met he was agitated.

February 25, 2013 10:04 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Good signs in the housing market

The plane was ready to take off, and I could not help noticing the woman sitting next to me. She looked like the national real estate agent of the year. Her iridescent baby blue and muted magenta tweed outfit clung to a body that survived on Special-K alone.

February 16, 2013 11:14 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Art, music and credit cards

In the past week a suggestion has come forward that Hoosier schoolchildren should be educated in financial matters. Specific mention was given to loans, mortgages and credit cards.

February 09, 2013 8:06 am

EYE ON THE PIE: A special inflation rate for the elderly

Each year consumers cooperate with the U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics and the Census to report how we spend our money. According to the 2011 Survey of Consumer Expenditures, our 122 million households spent $6.1 trillion or nearly $50,000 per household.

January 13, 2013 12:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: Fiscal cliff is unknowable terrain

Facts about the past or present are often hard to interpret. Facts about the future rarely exist, which leaves us with fantasies (forecasts) of pleasant anticipation or fearful apprehension.

December 16, 2012 12:00 am

EYE ON THE PIE: A proposal for more jobs

The Rockefeller Foundation has called for ideas that address the nation’s youth unemployment situation. Here are mine:

November 25, 2012 12:00 am
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