Economic Analysis

HICKS: Telecom reform in Indiana workedRestricted Content

March 5, 2011
Mike Hicks
Deregulation of monopolies tends to almost always make consumers better off. Indiana’s broad and effective telecommunications reform of 2006 is a classic example of this.
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HICKS: Uncertainty always leads to oil-price fluctuationsRestricted Content

February 26, 2011
Mike Hicks
Being a commodity, changes to oil prices are frequent and instantaneous. Changes to supply or demand of petroleum in the Middle East affect the price at the pump in the Midwest within hours.
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HICKS: Productivity gains make for jobless recovery

February 19, 2011
Mike Hicks
It is an old story, but a nevertheless disheartening one. It is also a tale rich in its implications for young workers.
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HICKS: Trimming government fat tough, but necessaryRestricted Content

February 12, 2011
Mike Hicks
Recognizing inefficiency in government is far more difficult than rhetoric suggests. The private sector has the blessing of the profits to guide decisions.
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HICKS: Deciphering economy a confusing pursuitRestricted Content

February 4, 2011
Mike Hicks
A casual observer of news about economic indicators has more than enough reason to be puzzled.
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HICKS: President should focus on reducing debt burdenRestricted Content

January 29, 2011
Mike Hicks
What worried me most about the president’s speech was not what he said, but what he didn’t.
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HICKS: Earmarks need overhaul, but they aren't entirely badRestricted Content

January 22, 2011
Mike Hicks
Our influential senior senator, Richard Lugar, and 6th District congressman, Mike Pence, disagree on an outright ban on earmarks. This is a rare case in which the differing concerns of both men are right.
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HICKS: Civility matters, but don't blame murder on wordsRestricted Content

January 15, 2011
Mike Hicks
In the wake of the shooting, the loudest debate centers on the heated level of political discourse and its presumed effect on a shooter.
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HICKS: Economist job more exciting than most think

January 8, 2011
Mike Hicks
Recently, my wife has stopped calling me an economist. It is too hard to explain what I do, so she calls me a professor (which has far more cool points to Harry Potter or Gilligan’s Island fans).
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HICKS: Why economic forecasting is inexact scienceRestricted Content

January 1, 2011
Mike Hicks
Forecasts are primarily used as a tool to begin, not end, conversations about business and government matters.
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HICKS: Let's fight poverty, but also keep it in perspective

December 25, 2010
Mike Hicks
There is a certain poignant irony in the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of 2010 poverty statistics this Christmas week. It reminds us that, behind the green eyeshades of professional data collectors, the folks at the Census Bureau have an acute marketing sense.
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HICKS: Inflation delays visit, but it'll arrive eventuallyRestricted Content

December 18, 2010
Mike Hicks
All economists know that, at its core, inflation is caused solely by too much money chasing too few goods.
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HICKS: Tax-cut proposal probably a good compromiseRestricted Content

December 11, 2010
Mike Hicks
The Bush tax cuts in particular are politically charged. Many people want to see the rich taxed at higher rates, with little regard for the impact on the economy.
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HICKS: The high costs of an over-lawyered societyRestricted Content

December 4, 2010
Mike Hicks
Estimates of the private-sector costs of civil litigation top out at about 2 percent of our gross domestic product, so for every $50 spent in the United States, $1 goes to support legal costs and settlements.
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HICKS: Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber MondayRestricted Content

November 27, 2010
Mike Hicks
The holiday season in the United States has morphed into a time of concentrated purchases.
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HICKS: Discounting the future when making public policyRestricted Content

November 20, 2010
Mike Hicks
As you will learn in any good high school economics class, everyone values the future less than the present.
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HICKS: Educators must acknowledge need for reformRestricted Content

November 13, 2010
Mike Hicks
Fixing schools won’t be easy, but it begins with an honest realization of the problem—not mendacious malarkey.
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HICKS: Fed 'easing' into another stimulus planRestricted Content

November 6, 2010
Mike Hicks
Federal legislation dating from the Truman administration compels the Fed to try to achieve the lowest possible levels of unemployment and inflation. Unfortunately, minimizing both is not possible.
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This election, take note of 'opportunity cost'

October 30, 2010
Mike Hicks
I think it is an idea that separates those who make decisions from those who want to talk about them and, in application, is an idea that distinguishes serious from unserious people.
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HICKS: Early-childhood education benefits the economyRestricted Content

October 23, 2010
Mike Hicks
Plunging into the economics of diapers and pre-literacy programs hardly filled me with gleeful anticipation (though for the record I am a wicked-good diaper changer).
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HICKS: Why the stimulus didn't stimulate enoughRestricted Content

October 16, 2010
Mike Hicks
The failure of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to deliver us from high unemployment will provide research grist for economists for decades to come.
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HICKS: Getting a driver's license in five not-so-easy steps

October 9, 2010
Mike Hicks
He had been previously licensed to drive an M1 Tank and various smaller-tracked and -wheeled vehicles. Obtaining an Indiana license, he thought, would be easy. It was not.
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HICKS: An inconvenient truth about teachers' unionsRestricted Content

October 2, 2010
Mike Hicks
From what I have seen and read, this documentary is destined to change radically our perception of schools, and those who stand in the way of fixing them.
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HICKS: The end of a recession doesn't feel like oneRestricted Content

September 25, 2010
Mike Hicks
It is good to look back on the recession and think about where we've been and how this recession stacked up against others.
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HICKS: Variables cloud business-location question

September 18, 2010
Mike Hicks
The problem is that the reasons for business-location decisions change from time to time.
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  1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

  2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

  3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

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  5. It is sad to see these races not have a full attendance. The Indy Car races are so much more exciting than Nascar. It seems to me the commenters here are still a little upset with Tony George from a move he made 20 years ago. It was his decision to make, not yours. He lost his position over it. But I believe the problem in all pro sports is the escalating price of admission. In todays economy, people have to pay much more for food and gas. The average fan cannot attend many events anymore. It's gotten priced out of most peoples budgets.

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