Sheila SuessKennedy

Recent Articles

KENNEDY: In the country of the blind

September 6, 2014
Two unrelated articles in the Aug. 31 New York Times brought me up short. The first was yet another analysis of (un)representative government in Ferguson, Mo.; the second addressed the growing power of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ political organization.

KENNEDY: Daniels diminishing higher learning

August 23, 2014
The current political focus on what we used to call “vocational education” not only minimizes the value of a liberal education, it ignores the reality of today’s job market.

KENNEDY: Indianapolis needs a commuter tax

August 9, 2014
No matter how nostalgically we think of Indiana as a patchwork of small, quaint towns and family farms, those days are gone. Indiana’s workforce and population are increasingly metropolitan, and our growth will continue to be in our urban centers.

KENNEDY: Buggy whips, rotary phones and coal

July 26, 2014
he history of business success has been the history of innovation—the triumph of visionary entrepreneurs who saw where the wind was blowing and left their more stubbornly traditional compatriots in the dust.

KENNEDY: We need to connect the civic dots

July 12, 2014
It isn’t only democratic institutions and behaviors that are affected by profound ignorance of our history and government.

KENNEDY: Maybe it’s a systems failure

June 28, 2014
Next weekend is the Fourth of July. Along with the barbecues, parades and neighborhood get-togethers, we’ll hear speeches about Truth, Justice and the American Way. We might raise a toast to the Founders, and count ourselves fortunate to live in a (mostly still) democratic country.

KENNEDY: Constitutional convention is idea whose time is not now

June 14, 2014
Periodically, lawmakers impatient to change government policies of which they disapprove will call for a constitutional convention.

KENNEDY: The luck of the (economic) draw

May 17, 2014
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently testified before a Senate committee on the issue of America’s growing inequality. His observations were sobering.

KENNEDY: The tax-cutters are too clever by half

May 3, 2014
Tax cuts have consequences as predictable as the sunrise. The politicians who cut taxes boast about their concern for taxpayers and their superior efficiency; they assure us that our low taxes will lure new business, then they run for higher office or otherwise head for greener pastures where the accuracy of those claims is unlikely to be tested. The politicians who have been left to operate with less money engage in equally predictable behaviors.

KENNEDY: First, eat the spinach

April 19, 2014
There is probably not a parent on the planet who hasn’t delivered the time-honored dinner lecture, “No dessert unless you eat your vegetables.” We want our children to understand that first things come first—that consuming healthy food has to come before sugary treats, no matter how tempting.

KENNEDY: Hobby Lobby’s unintended consequences

April 5, 2014
All eyes are on the Hobby Lobby lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court. Most of the commentary revolves around whether a for-profit corporation should be able to disregard a law of general application if that law offends its shareholder/owners’ “sincerely held” religious beliefs.

KENNEDY: My very own litmus test for lawmakers

March 22, 2014
I’ve been casting about for a shortcut, a vote on an issue that will give me an insight into individual lawmakers. Is he/she irresponsible? Despicable? Crazy?

KENNEDY: We’re getting what we deserve

March 8, 2014
Anyone who has ever written a book, mounted a PR campaign or started a new business has confronted a threshold question: Who’s your audience? Who will read your book, be persuaded by your campaign, or buy your widget?

KENNEDY: The costs of rejecting science

February 22, 2014
Count me among the many Hoosiers increasingly dismayed by the assault on science from people who seem threatened by the notion that empirical evidence might conflict with their worldviews.

KENNEDY: Thinking outside the bank

February 8, 2014
Let me begin with a caveat: I’m no expert on financial services or the economics of banking. Like most middle-class Americans, my interactions with banking are all decidedly “retail”—checking and savings accounts, mortgages and car loans.

KENNEDY: No single religious definition of marriage

January 25, 2014
Here in Indiana, we’re used to religious warfare. We aren’t called the buckle of the Bible Belt for nothing.

KENNEDY: Not healthy, wealthy or wise

January 11, 2014
Many of us have just wished our friends and loved ones a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. In Indiana, those are going to be elusive goals.

KENNEDY: Goodbye and good riddance

December 28, 2013
State and local corruption flourishes as coverage evaporates; nationally, bought-and-paid-for Congressmen and Senators pass legislation benefitting their donors and patrons at the expense of other Americans.

KENNEDY: A troubling response

December 14, 2013
Semester end is hectic for college professors. Research papers and final examinations must be graded, last-minute pleas from students who realize they haven’t performed or who feel entitled to special accommodations must be moderated, committees that haven’t completed their assigned tasks during the preceding months must meet—and of course there’s the added stress of the holidays.

KENNEDY: So many reasons to be thankful

November 30, 2013
Thanksgiving is my family’s favorite holiday, not just because it is the one time of the year when all the far-flung relatives assemble, but also because it is an opportunity to consider how incredibly fortunate we are.

KENNEDY: Coats' religion is no defense

November 16, 2013
Americans have been using religion to argue for and against laws since the country was founded. Proponents and opponents of slavery both pointed to Bible verses justifying their positions. Opponents of equal rights for women claimed suffrage violated God’s law.

KENNEDY: Money doesn’t buy happiness

November 2, 2013
When my mother told me money can’t buy happiness, she was evidently onto something. Recently, the World Happiness Report recognized Denmark—a cold country with one of those high-tax “socialist, nanny-state” governments—as the happiest nation on Earth.

KENNEDY: ‘Makers’ take their share

October 19, 2013
The “makers and takers” narrative—promoted most prominently by Paul Ryan and eagerly adopted by Tea Party activists—is just the most recent manifestation of a persistent American fable that encourages people who believe they “stand on their own two feet” to aim moral indignation and opprobrium at those they believe are “sucking at the public you-know-what.”

KENNEDY: Thank Elbridge for our political extremes

October 5, 2013
Politicians have been gerrymandering districts since the time of Elbridge Gerry, for whom the tactic was named—and he signed the Declaration of Independence.

KENNEDY: We need to learn to fight fair

September 21, 2013
In Florence, Italy, in one of that city’s many museums, there is a famous marble statue of Hercules and Diomedes wrestling. One of them—presumably Hercules—has his hands around the testicles of the other, and ever since we first saw it, my husband has referred to it as the “fight fair, dammit” statue.

KENNEDY: Revenue enhancement, anyone?

September 7, 2013
Public finance these days reminds me of those fellows we used to encounter at the county fairs—the ones who twisted balloons into fantastic shapes, making horses or dogs from oblong balloons they blew up. Push the balloon here and watch a shape emerge there, and wonder if it would pop.
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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............