April 27, 2017 2:08 PM
You voted for Trump last fall, and this spring undocumented immigrants are rolling sod onto your vast suburban lawn. Did you lose the number for ICE?
You donated to Trump, and the insurance business you run will not cover Florida coastal properties because they're shrinking. Don't you know it takes nerve to be great?
You supported Trump and all things Republican, and your company is going solar despite government obstruction, because coal makes less financial sense by...
April 27, 2017 2:07 PM
We finally have an outline of President Trump’s tax proposals, but not the gritty details. From what we can glean so far, the president wants to lower rates for everyone, including corporation.
He wants to enact a big increase in the standard deduction up to $24,000 for married couples, gutting personal deductions other than home mortgage interest and charitable contributions. Personal tax rates would be reduced to three brackets – 10%, 25% & 35%. Corporate tax...
April 25, 2017 2:59 PM
Monumental Legislative Session?
The Indiana General Assembly adjourned early Saturday morning more than one week ahead of the statutory deadline and today the Dow Jones is up by nearly 400 points. While the legislature might like to claim credit they can be proud of numerous major achievements.
This session began with a focus on improving Indiana’s roads and bridges and they did enact a sustainable long-term funding bill to improve our infrastructure. Indiana can’t be the Crossroads...
April 25, 2017 2:58 PM
Gov. Eric Holcomb deserves applause for his swift veto of HEA 1523, the legislation that would have allowed public agencies to charge a search fee for public records requests. He joined his predecessor, former Gov. Mike Pence, in refusing to give public agencies another tool to obstruct public oversight. In his letter to House Speaker Brian Bosma, Holcomb wrote: “Providing access to public records is a key part of the work public servants perform and is...
April 20, 2017 7:22 AM
As I sat down and watched Indianapolis Mayor Joe’s Hogsett’s second State of the City speech, two thoughts came to mind. The mayor is a great at two things, giving an impassioned speech that reaches the heart of the listener and leaving me with more questions when he’s done.
In his first state of the city address, the mayor talked about public safety, poverty and getting the city’s finances in order. He...
April 19, 2017 1:41 PM
A recent article in the New York Times reflected upon Trump's relationship with Steve Bannon (which appears to be unraveling). The article was one of many focusing on disarray in the White House and tensions between Bannon and the various others who have the President's ear.
But this paragraph caught my eye:
In a way, to believe in Mr. Bannon’s genius is to adopt the president’s belief in a sort of vulgar technocracy — the...
April 18, 2017 3:08 PM
As a retired federal civil servant, I understand the importance of privacy in my employment records. But as someone that returned to journalism after a 28 year interregnum, I also understand the public’s right to know what public employees are up to.
Those two concepts have come together in the case of the Fishers High School varsity football coach’s recent five-day suspension. Striking the right balance is a challenge, and is part of a tug-of-war now...
April 14, 2017 3:21 PM
Trump voters are dying.
Earlier and earlier.
A groundbreaking Princeton University study conducted over the past two years shows a dramatic rise in mortality rates among white American men of middle age, especially those of low education.
How dramatic? In 1999, the mortality rate of middle-aged white Americans without a college degree was 30 percent lower than that of all black Americans. Now, it's 30 percent higher, said researcher Anne Case.
The reasons? Principally, drug and alcohol abuse and...
April 13, 2017 8:01 AM
I love it when people tell me that “there are no jobs out there”. And even though I point to Indiana’s 4.1 percent unemployment rate and 64.4 percent worker participation rate, they still tell me that they can’t find a job because they’re black, have a criminal record or are an older person. The excuses run like water.
And while I could cite more facts and data about wages and how in most cases education attainment...
April 10, 2017 4:25 PM
The U.S. Senate has given both Republican and Democrat something to rue!
Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court today. What should be a meaningful moment for American democracy has been tarnished by the childish partisan bickering of our U.S. Senators over the last four years.
The Republicans argue that they were forced to ignite the “Nuclear Option” because for the first time in our history the Democrats were using...
April 9, 2017 12:49 PM
So it goes.
April 11 marks the 10th anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut’s death.
He and I were friends – actually, “pals” was the term he used – during the last years of his life. Whenever I traveled to New York, generally four or five times a year, we would get together to swap stories and talk about life over Italian food (for lunch) or French cuisine (for dinner) at two of his favorite haunts...
April 9, 2017 8:06 AM
If there is one thing I'm learning coming out of this session at the Indiana Statehouse, is despite making a lot of progress on the fiscal and economic fronts, state government still has a long way to go to catch with the 21st century when it comes to understanding technology and consumers.
What exactly do I mean?
Think about how consumer purchasing habits have changed over the past 20-30 years. If you had to go to the...
April 7, 2017 7:55 AM
I confess a long standing interest in Syrian weapons of mass destruction. This first blog I posted on this site ("Syria: We're Uncle Stupid" 10/23/2013) criticized then President Obama's vaporous "red line" on Bashar Assad's possession of chemical weapons. Obama flinched at enforcing his red line, instead cutting a deal with Vladimir Putin for "verified" removal of Assad's chemicals. I pointed out that Assad's 1,000 ton stock of the bad stuff could be hidden in...
April 4, 2017 11:16 AM
A few weeks ago, Bloomington Representative Matt Pierce unsuccessfully introduced an amendment to add Indiana to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. That’s the effort to circumvent the Electoral College by having states promise their electors to the national popular vote winner – once enough states have signed to give that winner the magic 270.
In making his case, Pierce challenged majority Republicans: “How would you like it if we elected the governor based on how...
April 2, 2017 6:08 PM
As a member of the baby boom generation, I must come to a sad conclusion – the boomers have largely made a mess of things. I can only hope the millennials will do a better job.
We boomers grew up during the 1950s and 1960s. We did accomplish some things, but on balance, we have provided America and Indiana with badly split politics and governmental inertia.
There is some debate about how to define millennials, but the...
April 1, 2017 8:04 AM
There are now two distinct plans circulating through the Statehouse with regards to road funding. Both House and Senate Republicans have put forth proposals on how to pay for Indiana’s infrastructure, long-term.
The House plan includes a 10-cent increase in the gas tax, shifting the entire sales tax on gasoline to road funding, and increasing the cigarette tax by 60 cents to help indirectly fill the budget gap created by the sales...
March 26, 2017 2:32 PM
President Trump seems to be saying that the Republican health care idea didn’t work out so well, so let’s do something easier, like tax reform. Our nation’s chief executive is likely to find an even riskier political mine field taking on taxes.
First, let’s clarify that tax cuts and tax reform are two very different things. Tax cuts can be part of tax reform, but just cutting taxes is not reform.
If all Trump wants to do...
March 26, 2017 8:35 AM
Indiana’s alcohol laws will drive you to drink.
We all know how ridiculous it is that you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday or cold beer at a grocery store or gas station (make that most gas stations). But did you know in a liquor store you can’t sell cold soda or bottled still water, but you can get by carbonated water in a bottle, it’s called a commodity restriction which limits what...
March 19, 2017 3:22 PM
The Nickel Plate Rail Line, made most famous as the route used by the Indiana State Fair train for a very long time, is now the subject of a major debate. The outcome will determine how that line will be utilized years into the future.
On one side of the debate are those in favor of preserving the rail line, which runs from Indianapolis all the way north to Tipton. There are proposals to repair the...
March 16, 2017 8:57 AM
Two years ago Indiana was in the middle of a level five political hurricane called RFRA. A few years before that Democrats and Republicans deadlocked over "right to work, " and Democrats fled to Champaign, IL bringing the government to a halt. And just last year we were all pondering whether then Governor Mike Pence could survive a re-election bid.
How I miss those days.
Don’t get me wrong, the substantive public policy guy in me can...