Economy

EYE ON THE PIE: No numbers equal bad decisionsRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Morton Marcus
"Geez Morton, lighten up," was one of the e-mails that came in this week. I find it difficult to do that while our state and national economies are under such stress. Another correspondent wanted an answer to that persistent question, "Are we better off than we were a year ago? Four years ago?" Here is a small part of that answer: At this writing, there are 5.5 million more jobs in the country than four years ago, an increase averaging...
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Recession takes its toll on charitiesRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Kathleen McLaughlin

Area not-for-profits are beginning to feel the sting of the year-old credit crunch, which has escalated into a full-blown financial crisis that's battered investors and likely pushed the nation into recession.


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Nervous banks cut off some borrowers, tighten reins on othersRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Cory Schouten

Local companies that rely on credit have seen their borrowing power shrink and in some cases disappear as a deep freeze in the nation's credit markets drives fears of a broad economic slowdown. A handful of businesses, including a Greenwood security firm and an Indianapolis contractor, already have shut down after credit dried up, and others are on the ropes as troubled banks seek to limit their loan exposure.


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BEHIND THE NEWS: Firms with debt in check starting to reap rewardsRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Greg Andrews
Managing the balance sheet. The very phrase is s l e e p - i n d u c i n g . But in times like these, doing it well is what separates the winners from the losers. In the winners' column is Simon Property Group Inc., which finds itself on the offensive as competitors, including Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., lean back on their heels. In the losers' column is Emmis Communications Corp., which is saddled with more...
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INVESTING: Advocates did bad job selling rescue packageRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Ken Skarbeck
The word bailout is being used more than the folks at Merriam-Webster ever could have imagined. Yet, bailout is the wrong term to characterize the rescue plan the Federal Reserve and the Treasury presented to Congress. Our leaders have done a poor job explaining why. At present, the U.S. financial system is in cardiac arrest, and this plan is the defibrillator designed to jolt the system back to life. The crux of the problem is that banks and other financial...
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EDITORIAL: Signs of hope as many retreat: Some shrug off economic fearsRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Signs of hope as many retreat Some shrug off economic fears The front page of this week's IBJ tells of companies that are in dire straits-or out of business-after banks, jittery about a financial collapse, called their loans or canceled their credit line. Stories like these put a local face on the economic crisis that has gripped the American psyche in the last two weeks unlike anything since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Anyone who didn't realize credit's vital role...
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Turmoil thrashes regional banks: As economy weakens, big local players fight to keep capital, customers' confidenceRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Cory Schouten
A rush of government-aided acquisitions has bestowed a too-big-to-fail halo over the likes of JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. But what about the formidable regional banks that operate more than half the bank branches in the Indianapolis area? How stable are banks like National City, Huntington, Fifth Third, Key, M&I and Regions? Their shares have endured a rough ride on Wall Street, but there's little evidence the ups and downs reflect the true health of the institutions....
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Avoid a royalty mess by reviewing your patent licenseRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Lynn C.
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Quanta Computer v. LG Electronics left LG stuck in "a royalty mess" that should inspire local businesses to review their patent licenses. More specifically, the decision raises important questions about the extent to which-and the cir cumstances under which-patent owners can collect royalties from more than one party in the distribution chain. Although the case arose out of the IT industry, its lessons could significantly impact Indiana life sciences companies. Collecting downstream In...
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Greenwood company hits it out of the park: Big League Tours tripled its revenue this yearRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
While most Major League Baseball fans are focused on this year's playoffs, local entrepreneur Glenn Dunlap is already thinking about next year. Dunlap formed Greenwood-based Big League Tours in 2006, offering group trips to big-league baseball games and other related attractions. One such trip took swings through games at Fenway Park in Boston, Yankee Stadium in New York, and the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Other trips hit fabled ballparks in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and San Francisco....
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SPORTS: Some stop paying, start playing when money's tightRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Bill Benner
Goodness knows, I'm not an economist. One look at my checking account would confirm that. So as my wife and I gather in front of the evening news and try to digest the ups and downs of the stock market along with our dinner, we, like most Americans, can only hope and trust (?) that our wiser (?) government and financial leaders will find a way out of the morass. We're luckier than many. Our children are raised and college...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: How 9/11 attacks helped set stage for financial crisisRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Mike Hicks
After just two tumultuous weeks of financial crisis, the blame casting already has begun in earnest. A little deeper analysis might be warranted before jumping to conclusions. I am going to indulge in the combination of my two careers-one military and one scholarly-to focus on one issue. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks focused limited Al Qaeda resources on the U.S. economy and the command-and-control systems of our military. The latter attack failed miserably (due both to the robustness of our...
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VIEWPOINT: Think you can move fast? Look at ChinaRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Jacqueline A.
This month, I am making my 50th trip to China. My first trip was in 1995 to identify a possible Chinese partner for a manufacturing joint venture in Nantong. When the potential partner honored me by serving a coiled snake as one of the main dishes, I thought, "What am I doing here?" But that's what change is all about-delving into the unfamiliar. Four years later, we had found a trusted partner, signed a joint venture agreement, located the proper...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Looking back in history to understand this messRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Paul Coan
Where is the stock market headed next? It may help to look where it has been. My clients may have grown tired of hearing how the bull market of the 1990s mirrored the Roaring Twenties-maybe because they knew what came after the Roaring Twenties? You remember the history books and your parents talking about the Great Depression. The more articles you read concerning the recent market turmoil, the more this phrase appears: "Worst (fill in blank) since the Great Depression."...
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Orchestrating moves: Firm that specializes in relocating businesses conducting transition of its ownRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Scott Olson
Moving coordinating company Relocation Strategies Inc. is used to dealing with companies in transition. Now the firm is undergoing one of its own-albeit of a different sort. Relocation Strategies founder David Bayse is relinquishing ownership to partner Melissa Lamb Brown in a purchase agreement set to be completed within the next four years. She already owns a majority of the business and will acquire the rest in stages. In the meantime, Bayse, 57, will continue to guide Brown, 39, who...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Ignorance, not greed, soured soup at Lehman BrothersRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Mike Hicks
The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the widespread stock sell-off it engendered is a bit scary. It shows those of us on Main Street that more than a year after the subprime mess became daily news, significant and sophisticated financiers still grapple with the effect on their firms. They are now far less significant and sophisticated than they once believed. I'm still uncertain as to how this will end. The U.S. and world economies will emerge stronger, more vibrant and...
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Tough economy touching all industries, but some are hurting more than othersRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Anthony Schoettle, Cory Schouten

Stock markets are falling, jobs are disappearing, and the outlook for the economy seems grim. Banks, real estate developers, retailers and manufacturers are taking the worst hits, but all types of businesses in central Indiana are hurting. From health care to technology, education to philanthropy, every industry is trying to take the setbacks in stride.


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Commentary: Rethinking my presidential pickRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Mickey Maurer
Help me, John. I'm falling off the wagon. I like you. I read your autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers." You are a maverick, like they say, and a patriot. My old boss, Mitch Daniels, made you his early choice. I agree with most of your pronouncements on taxes and the economy, and applaud your willingness to face up to the energy crisis and our dependence on foreign oil. I tentatively decided to cast my vote for you in November. But...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: State buildings to go green thanks to executive orderRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
Jason Shelley
Green construction projects in Indiana are becoming more the norm than the exception. More office buildings, schools and universities and even residences are being designed and constructed to improve environmental efficiency. And now, new and renovated state buildings will be a whole lot greener, too. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed an executive order this summer establishing the Energy Efficient State Building Initiative, mandating that all new state buildings be designed, constructed and operated for maximum energy efficiency. This is significant for...
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Eco groups divided over gasification: New power plant has many critics, but some say it's a necessary stepRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
Chris O\'malley
One might think a technology promising greener electric generation would please most environmentalists. Duke Energy Corp.'s 630-megawatt coal-gasification plant, scheduled to go online in Edwardsport in 2012, is expected to emit less sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates than the smaller, 1940s-era plant it replaces-while generating 10 times as much electricity. However, more than a dozen Indiana and national advocacy groups are decrying the $2.3 billion plant being footed mostly by ratepayers, claiming it will raise emissions of greenhouse gas...
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EYE ON THE PIE: What really drives Hoosier economy?Restricted Content

September 15, 2008
Morton Marcus
I enjoy the propaganda of government agencies pleading the causes of special interests. This is the opening sentence of our state profile prepared by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy: "Small businesses are the heart of Indiana's economy." Frequently, we hear that farming is the beating heart of our economy. Others claim the thumping sound we hear is that of manufacturing. Teachers tell us the economy is only as steady as its educational footing. Steel has a claim...
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Commentary: Can we Bank on Indianapolis?Restricted Content

September 15, 2008
Tawn Parent
Whoa. Those figures, based on national averages from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., don't paint a pretty picture. People without bank accounts tend to keep cash at home or in their pockets, which increases the likelihood of crime. They create a market in which predatory lenders can thrive. They fail to reach their full potential, and so do the cities where they live. We have a problem. Now what can we do about it? We could take a cue from...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Cautious streak helps Duke weather tumultuous timesRestricted Content

September 15, 2008
Greg Andrews
Duke Realty Corp. has stayed largely out of the headlines this year, which in an economy like this is a pretty good sign. Another Indianapolis developer, Lauth Property Group, has shed more than half its 450-person work force, and Premier Properties Inc.- perhaps the city's most daring developer-lurched into bankruptcy court. Meanwhile, Duke, which specializes in suburban office and industrial development, keeps on chugging. To be sure, the company isn't immune to broader economic slowdown. In April, it laid off...
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NOTIONS: A pregnant GOP primer on civil liberties: Who decides?Restricted Content

September 8, 2008
Bruce Hetrick
Years ago, I wrote an article about Sheila Suess Kennedy, an Indianapolis author who'd written a book called "What's a Nice Republican Girl Like Me Doing in the ACLU?" I didn't know Sheila. I didn't know much about the American Civil Liberties Union, either. So I stopped by her office (she directed the organization's Indiana chapter back then) for an education. Sheila, now a faculty member at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, explained to...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Limp economy could slow increase in attorneys' feesRestricted Content

September 8, 2008
Greg Andrews
Attorney pay at top-tier firms is like compensation for executives of public companies. Amid hand-wringing, the numbers keep going up and up. The reasons are understandable. Law firm managers feel pressure to raise compensation to attract and retain the best attorneys-and to keep up with what other firms are doling out. The people running those competing firms feel the same pressures, accelerating the upward spiral. Hence, top attorneys in Indianapolis in the most complex practice areas now have hourly rates...
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Experts: Building boom not over: Big projects wind down, but new ones fill pipelineRestricted Content

September 8, 2008
Scott Olson
The completion of $2 billion in city construction projects has left a gaping hole in contractor job schedules-as wide as when the roof opens at Lucas Oil Stadium. Even so, industry leaders remain optimistic about staying busy despite the combination of a tepid economy and the end of a local boom that stretched the limits of the labor pool. The $1.1 billion airport midfield terminal project, the $715 million stadium and $150 million Central Library expansion helped to create so...
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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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