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Sunday, September 15, 2019
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  • Joshua Claybourn: The lessons of 9/11
    EVANSVILLE – Everyone has their 9/11 remembrances and that is fine. Understand just how rapidly it is receding into the unremembered past: The number of Americans with no real memory of it approaches one-third, and the number of Americans with no adult memory of it creeps toward half.

    With the forgetting comes the loss of emotive content. It is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the falling away of emotion means we lose the felt sense of the only silver lining of the whole blood-soaked affair, the flowering of patriotism in the immediate thereafter. Those of us who lived through the bright autumn of 2001 witnessed the last mass expression of a common American patriotism of the 21st Century.

    No moment like it has come since, and it is unlikely to reappear. If in this vein we are the people we were two decades ago, the evidence has yet to present itself.

    That said, we should not over-valorize the people we were two decades past, either. The best of us rushed into burning towers in September or descended upon Afghanistan in October. The rest of us watched in stupefaction or satisfaction, or perhaps both. That goes even for direct witnesses of the great massacre, including me. We spectated. It was not two years later that the phrase emerged, not from Afghanistan but Iraq, that in the post-9/11 era only the American military was at war; the American people were at the mall. 

    This is the other side of the emotive forgetting: We may begin, after two decades, to assess ourselves honestly. We may begin to acknowledge that the surpassing quality of American strategic leadership has been an admixture of arrogance and incompetence, fully in view by the close of 2001 to anyone who cared to look. We may acknowledge that one of the major strategic goals of al-Qaeda, the enmeshing of the United States in draining “crusades” in the Islamic world, was fully achieved, and in this particular sense they won the Battle of 9/11.

    We may acknowledge that we never, once, took on our real enemy in south-central Asia, the Pakistani apparatus. We may acknowledge that the purported strategic benefits of the Iraq invasion proved entirely illusory, and that the original rationale for it was, to be exceptionally charitable, pretextual. We may acknowledge that the entire United States armed forces are in quiet crisis after two decades of post-9/11 war, having missed a generation of weaponry and systems, and mired in a recruiting crisis with no foreseeable end.

    We may acknowledge that the breadth and depth of our errors is survivable only by a nation of extraordinary wealth, and that we’ve spent a lot more of it than we admit.

    We may acknowledge that the real coda to 9/11 is imminent. Everyone knows now that we have been negotiating with the Taliban for some time. It is nearly certain that we will exit Afghanistan in the near future, with the Vietnam model fully in mind. A decent interval will ensue. And then, soon, the Taliban will win. The Islamic Emirate will enter Kabul, raise its black flag, and resume the project we interrupted in October 2001.

    Forgetting can be a choice. We’ve made it. But understand, we made it a long time ago. 

    Claybourn is an Evansville attorney and author of the book “Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative.” 
  • Jack Colwell: The economy and those perceptions
    SOUTH BEND – “It’s the economy, stupid.”
      
    That’s the famous admonition to Bill Clinton’s campaign staffers attributed to James Carville, the colorful Clinton strategist in the 1992 upset of President George H.W. Bush. Bush, a very good president, especially in foreign affairs, handling so well the collapse of the old Soviet Union, had “unbeatable” approval ratings a year before.
        
    Well, it was the economy, or rather the perception of the economy and what Bush was doing about it, that enabled Clinton to win. Two points of clarification:

    1. The headquarters message posted by Carville actually had no “It’s.” It was simply, “The economy, stupid.”

    2. The brief recession during Bush’s presidency actually was over, recovery underway before the 1992 campaign started.
        
    But Carville was right. Clinton won. The perception of how the economy is doing and what the president is doing about it is a potent political factor in presidential politics.
        
    How about now? There will be a recession. I’m no economist. But I guarantee it. There will be a recession. President Trump has brushed off the possibility because, “We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they’re loaded up with money.”
        
    Whether or not you consumers out there feel rich and loaded up with money, President Trump hasn’t repealed the economic cycle. Recessions come. They always do. Long periods of economic expansion – and we’re in the longest such expansion now in the nation’s history – always end.
        
    There will be a recession. The question is when, not if. Will it come before, during or after the 2020 presidential campaign? And will it be severe or mild, long or short?
        
    If it’s the economy, stupid, will the perception of how the economy is doing help or hurt President Trump’s reelection prospects? Will his trade wars and deficit spending trigger economic woes, bringing the start of recession or at least the fear of imminent downturn? Some economists say there already is a farm recession and that a manufacturing slump gives dire warning.
        
    Will he be credited with continuation of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, going back to June of 2009, when recovery from the Great Recession began? Some economists say the inevitable next recession won’t come until the end of 2021, well after the 2020 campaign.
        
    What economists say, either way, won’t be as significant as what most voters perceive. President Harry Truman once said he wanted to find a one-armed economist. He was tired of economic advisors saying, on the one hand, this; on the other hand, that.
        
    Presidents often get blamed for or credited with economic conditions that are viewed wrongly or over which they have little control. As with President George H.W. Bush in 1992, the perception, even if not supported by the economic facts, is what counts.
        
    There is dispute now over how much credit Trump deserves for continuing expansion after he inherited an economy rebounding from the Great Recession. A Forbes analysis of job statistics as the upturn reached record length found that 810,000 more jobs were added during the final 29 months of Barack Obama’s presidency than during the first 29 months of Trump’s presidency.
        
    So, should the upturn be credited to Obama, with Trump viewed as lucky to have inherited it and to blame for slowing down the pace? Or should Trump be credited with the continuation of what he inherited, with his tax cut and other policies staving off that inevitable recession?
        
    What if a Democrat is elected president in 2020? Possible, though far from certain. Would a recession so many economists see coming in 2021 be blamed on Trump or on the Democrat who replaced him?
       
    It’s the economy, stupid, and how the state of the economy is perceived can be stupid. 

    Colwell has covered Indiana politics over five decades for the South Bend Tribune.
  • Craig Dunn: Embracing the zen master
    KOKOMO – Lately the Zen Master has encouraged me to open up my sensory powers and observe more of the world around me. I’ve embraced my Zen Master’s suggestion, and I have to say that much of what I’ve seen is disturbing. So, for lack of a better title for this column, I’ll call it things that make you go “Hmmm.”

    By now I’m sure that you’ve noticed that you can’t turn on the television, peruse the internet, read the newspaper or go anywhere without being bombarded with the not-so-subtle message that a climate crisis is upon us, sea levels are rising, baby polar bears are dying by the thousands and you better buy your electric auto soon to save the planet. No less than our all-knowing former President Barack Obama warned us way back in 2009 that global warming and a rise in sea levels threaten our existence.  Surely, President Obama, a major supporter of the Paris Climate Accord, would lead by example and show the average Bible-toting, gun-loving dim-bulb American how to live.

    Well, guess again! Just last month former President Obama purchased his second home, a 7,000-square-foot beauty on Martha’s Vineyard for a whopping $14.85 million. Added to his 8,200-square-foot home in Washington, D.C., one can see that the Obamas are going to leave a monstrous carbon footprint. Confounding climate alarmists even more is the fact that the Obamas’ new waterfront home on Martha’s Vineyard is only 3.3 feet above sea level. That means that our beloved former president is only one collapsed ice shelf away from being washed out to sea.

    Frankly, it is alarming how many of my favorite Hollywood stars and climate pundits live on an ocean shore. Our entire entertainment industry is threatened by our rapidly rising oceans. Or not.

    Markets tend to reveal more than the hollow words of climate alarmists. Homes and condos on the beach everywhere in the world, with the exception of Fukushima, are at record prices and rising. Home buyers know. Home sellers know. Real estate agents know. Would you pay out the wazoo for an oceanfront property that you believed might soon be under water or inaccessible? I didn’t think you would. When everyone in government and the captains and kings of industry start buying homes on the side of mountains, then I’ll worry.

    Please notice that I did not go “Hmmm” and question the income inequality aspects of the Obamas purchasing a $14.85 million second home. Hooray for them. Warriors against white privilege!

    On the same topic of climate crisis, did you go “Hmmm” when Prince Hairbrain and Meghan Marvelous flew on a private jet four times in one month to vacation and attend climate crisis confabs on luxurious islands? Couldn’t they just Face Time the meetings? And on an unrelated hmmm, what exactly have they done to need a two-week vacation?

    It has been hard to avoid listening to the constant harping about the inequities of the Electoral College coming from media pundits and Democratic activists. It has been relentless, but what do you talk about when the Russian scandal falls apart? I can’t help noticing and, yes, going “Hmmm,” when I hear Democrats whine about the non-democratic aspects of the Electoral College while ignoring the existence of super delegates in the Democrat Party nominating process.

    And that brings us to actress and liberal warrior Debra Messing. Dear Ms. Messing has come up with the brilliant idea that all Hollywood types who attend a fundraiser for President Trump should be outed so that actors, producers and directors may refuse to work with the wayward twits.  

    Hollywood, the only place that could produce movies, documentaries and television programs about the excesses of the McCarthy era in the 1950s and its resulting Communist blacklists and then propose a similar type of blacklist against Trump supporters.  Hmmm.

    We’ve all been entertained by the memes, jokes and coverage about President Trump’s many gaffs, fibs and screw-ups. We’ve been denied the relentless coverage of the faux pas uttered by the Democrat presidential field, most notably Joe Biden. When President Trump stretches the truth it is an earth-shattering crisis. Joe Biden makes up a story about pinning a medal on a hero in Afghanistan and the soldier refusing the decoration and the mainstream media and pundits allow him to dismiss his big fat whopper with, “The details of my story were inconsequential.”  Hmmm.

    Right home here in Indiana the other day I was somewhat shocked by a billboard that I saw while driving in the great Hoosier State. The billboard said, “In xxx county, 70% of our teenagers are drug free!” I leave the name of the county out because I may need to drive through that county in the future. Does this billboard mean that 30% of our teenagers use drugs? Who came up with this statistic?  Presumably, there would be far fewer 13-year-old drug users than 18-year--old drug users. Does this mean that appreciably more than 30% of your older teenagers use drugs? Did you cut drug use down from 60% to 30% and you’re happy about it? This definitely made me go “Hmmm.”

    I go to my favorite grocery store the other day and see a big display selling Joey Chestnut mustards and sauces for your hotdogs and wings. I don’t know about you, but the only thing I’ve ever seen Joey Chestnut doing with a hotdog during his July 4th eating competition is dunking his dogs in water before jamming them in his face. While it is understandable that Mr. Chestnut wouldn’t try and sell used hotdog water, it is confusing to me that he would market mustards and sauces that he doesn’t use.  

    At this same grocery store I noticed that they only had green bananas for sale. This made me ponder the question, “Do pessimists buy green bananas?”  Hmmm.

    Finally, as if you need one more reason to hate the New England Patriots, 15 minutes after the Oakland Raiders released wide receiver Antonio Brown from the team for calling his general manager a “Cracker” and threatening to assault GM Mike Mayock, the New England Patriots signed Brown to a one-year contract worth $15 million with $10 million guaranteed. That seemed pretty quick for a $15 million decision. But hey, if this was all planned out, that would be tampering and that would destroy my faith in the honesty of the New England Patriots. Makes you want to go “Hmmm”! 

    Dunn is the former Howard County Republican chairman.

  • Morton Marcus: Zoning determines tomorrow's towns
    INDIANAPOLIS — This November Hoosier voters will make important decisions about the future economy of our state. They will choose the mayors and council members who will determine the members of local zoning boards and planning commissions. The choices of those boards and commissions will set the course of the state for 50 or more years.

    We have many examples of good and bad land use in Indiana’s past; let’s look at some recent developments.

    Boone County and Lebanon have guided development along their portions of I-65. Warehouses, heavy machinery sales and services, retail trade, and highway traveler services will be found adjacent to the interstate.

    Crown Point, in Lake County, has allowed housing right along I-65, north and south of the 109th Avenue (Exit 249). This breaks the line of commercial, industrial, and institutional uses adopted by Merrillville further north.

    Kokomo and Howard County have resisted cluttering the “new” U.S. 31 bypass with the usual array of gas stations, fast food, and sundry commercial sprawl often found at expressway interchanges. At the same time, many businesses along the infamous “old” Kokomo bypass work to attract travelers. How that works out depends on informational signage approaching Kokomo.

    Fort Wayne/Allen County built I-469 around the south and eastern sides of the city. Significant development along that loop has not materialized. Perhaps, they learned from the past when I-69 opened around the west and northern sides of the city. As commerce moved north, downtown was put on life support.

    In Indianapolis, a land use change is being contested where the Glendale Shopping Center once set the bar for retail trade. Virtually unused parking spaces are being eyed for a 267-unit multi-family apartment complex in seven low-rise buildings.

    Homeowners in the adjoining 50+ year old single-family neighborhood are challenging the permission granted for the development by the city’s zoning board.

    The development makes sense, if one is concerned about rebuilding Indianapolis. The density of population and employment in Marion County need to be increased. More people with money could help revive commerce in the area. In addition, the land in the city, with the heavy concentration of untaxed institutions, needs to produce more revenue for urban services.

    The remonstrators may not object to rental units but entertain negative expectations of the imagined renters. Who will be the new neighbors?

    Think of those new units as condominiums occupied by retirees with pensions. They might be folks like those now living in that adjoining neighborhood. Just folks wishing to surrender lawn and garden care to younger green thumbs.

    Could the developers bar persons under age 25 or 55 from renting, buying, or living in the apartments? Many are the ways to “discriminate,” excuse me, to attract “suitable” tenants or owners. Then what happens to the neighbors’ objections?

    It’s worth finding out how your candidates think about land use in your community before you vote on Nov. 5.        

    Mr. Marcus is an economist. Reach him at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com. Follow his views and those of John Guy on “Who gets what?” wherever podcasts are available or at mortonjohn.libsyn.com. 
  • Michael Hicks: The cost of disasters
    MUNCIE — Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, have economic costs. They also reveal much about market economies, government planning and response. As I pen this column, Hurricane Dorian is winding its way through the Atlantic. I cannot yet speak to its impact, but I can outline the costs that it, along with other natural disasters, may impose. 

    North America faces blizzards, large snowstorms, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, flooding and tornadoes. All impose some of the same costs on society, businesses, households and government. There are three distinct types of impacts. 

    Weather-related natural disasters cause trade interruptions. The effects are often modest, delaying shipments and travel by a few hours or days. Additional damages occur when businesses and conventions close, perishable foods are damaged and families miss reunions and weddings. These impacts tend to be modest, transient and easily insured. 

    The most costly damages tend to be damages to property and infrastructure. Hurricane Katrina cost more than $150 billion in private and public damages. Natural disasters destroyed homes, business and the contents within, such as furniture or inventory. Public infrastructure such as roadways, bridges and water treatment plants also were destroyed or damaged. Estimates of damages from insurance companies typically ignore most public infrastructure damage estimates, thus understating actual costs to residents. 

    Natural disasters also kill and injure people in their path. The deadliest Atlantic hurricane appears to be one that came ashore in Galveston, Texas in 1900, which drowned more than 8,000 residents. Estimates of storm-related deaths are fraught with controversy because they potentially address the effectiveness of governmental preparation and response. It is clear that the economic and social impacts due to loss of life are very large. 

    Finally, natural disasters have the potential to disrupt communities, altering civic life and the effectiveness of institutions. This is especially true when the natural disaster results in large inter-regional migration, such as Hurricane Katrina. I chose my words carefully here, because it is not clear that these disruptions are, on net, negative. More than ten years after Katrina have yet to make clear the full range of economic and social effects, some of which will be positive, others negative. On net, I’d guess it is negative, but that is a not an analytical conclusion. 

    On net, natural disasters are always unwelcomed. They disrupt trade, destroy property and end lives. These effects are unambiguously negative. Natural disasters also reveal the effectiveness of institutions and government. 

    Governments mitigate the effect of natural disasters through preparation and response. The most salient form of preparation is in the development of building codes, evacuation plans and survivability of public infrastructure. Response comes in the form of adhering to evacuation plans, effecting rescues and delivering relief. It also includes accommodating broad and effective private sector relief. 

    In my soldiering days, I was involved in two hurricane responses. One was very effective (Hugo); the other, terrible (Andrew). These responses involved different levels of execution by local military leaders, which revealed the level of national preparation for national disasters. As an economics professor, I reviewed the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and helped with international flood relief. I can report the nation has steadily improved its response, handing over more of the coordination of assets to experienced professionals. 

    At the local level, there remain critical differences. It is no coincidence that less effective local governments have poorer preparation and response. Places with good governance are better prepared, typically enjoy more resources with which to mitigate damages and are better at communicating to residents. 

    Michael J. Hicks, PhD, is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research  at Ball State University. 
  • Lee Hamilton: Cause for optimism, concern for democracy
    BLOOMINGTON – Sometimes, you wonder if the world is doomed to descend into autocracy. Certainly, that’s what the coverage of the past few years suggests. We read about the nations that are already there, like China and Russia, of course, and Saudi Arabia and Iran. Or about countries like Hungary, Turkey, and Poland that are nominally democratic but have been trending less so. 

    What strikes me most about this discussion of a global decline in democratic norms and values, however, is how little coverage has gone to places where democracy remains robust. How much do you read about countries that are performing well on this front, places like Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, or Australia? Asking the question pretty much answers it.

    These are strong, stable democracies. They have a healthy electoral process, their governments function admirably, political participation is robust, and civil liberties remain core to their identity. Amid concerns about democracy’s future, they’re shining examples of its staying power. 

    There’s no question that there’s reason for concern. Plenty of countries, including some of those above, are home to anti-democratic movements that reject the basic freedoms, civil liberties, and pluralism that we associate with democracy. Moreover, unhappiness with the way democracy is working appears to be rising; a Pew poll last year found dissatisfaction rose between 2017 and 2018, sometimes markedly, in such countries as Germany, India, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Canada, and the U.S.

    One key to what’s going on in this country may lie in another Pew poll from earlier this summer: Americans see declining trust in both the federal government and in one another. They cite poor government performance, fear about the corruption of the political process by monied interests, and a general rise in disrespect for others and their beliefs. 

    Moreover, I’m struck over and over by the extent to which people I encounter lack confidence in elected leaders today. I was in a discussion group recently in which pretty much every participant attacked the country’s political leaders, regardless of ideology and party. You can find their arguments echoed wherever you turn. They don’t think elected leaders act in the public interest, instead putting their own promotion and well-being first. And people believe that our political leaders, both in Washington and in the state capitals, are failing to confront the big problems that concern people: drugs, health care, affordability, education, good jobs, ethical conduct, and the like.

    Yet here’s the thing: Over the course of countless public meetings over the years, I don’t ever recall anyone rejecting the Constitution or representative democracy itself. They may be distressed at government, our institutions, and our political leaders, but people seem to support the democracy we inhabit.

    What may be most interesting about the polls I cite above is that even as Americans express their dissatisfaction, they also recognize the stakes and want to see things turned around. They believe that low trust in government and in one another makes it more difficult to govern effectively, and by a hefty margin believe it’s possible to improve on both fronts. Greater transparency, more effective restrictions on the role of money in politics, and more “honesty and cooperation” among political leaders, they told pollsters, would boost confidence. Similarly, they believe more cooperation among ordinary citizens would help rebuild trust in one another. These are, of course, among the bedrock values of representative democracy.

    There’s one other point from which I take great hope; younger people, on the whole, seem to be more inclusive and tolerant in their views than their elders, and they have a more positive view of the role of government. On the whole, the older people I meet tend to be more cynical and pessimistic; younger voters, on issues from immigration to social inclusiveness, tend to be more expansive. Time, in other words, is on the side of democratic values. 

    So while I would never urge complacency in the face of the assaults we’re seeing on democratic norms, both here and elsewhere, I’m not pessimistic. Democracies have great internal strength, and they give cause for optimism that the core democratic processes of deliberation, compromise, negotiation, and cooperation will, in the end, endure. 

    Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice at the IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.    

  • Michael Hicks: Ideas, not labor or capital, make the modern economy
    MUNCIE — Labor Day weekend is always a popular time to talk about work and worker issues. I wish to a put a twist on it and talk about some popular misconceptions about work and capital and the meaning of both. If you’ve been fed a steady diet of anti-capitalist nonsense, or are a diehard capitalist, this story is going to scramble many of your misconceptions. 

    I begin by noting that most American adults are actually laborers. Among those of working age, very few Americans subsist upon the accumulated capital of their ancestors. This is even though a higher share of Americans today own capital than at any other time in history. With some 60% of households owning some sort of retirement fund, it is fair to say that now we are all both capitalists and laborers. Ironically, labor force participation is higher among workers who possess capital than those who do not, though the direction of causation surely works both ways. 

    Many decades ago, economists spoke and wrote about economic growth as primarily caused by combining labor and capital. The profession acknowledged, but thought little about, the role of technology change.

    That way of thinking continues to animate public policy, resulting in numerous policies designed to attract capital. For the last four decades, the focus of research and popular writing about economic growth has been almost wholly about human capital and the power of ideas. Insofar as economists write about labor and capital, it is mostly to put into perspective the much more powerful force of ideas in causing economic growth. 

    One startling way to think about this is through the observation that everything in the world that is required to make a Tesla, iPhone or GPS satellite has always been on Earth. The only thing missing was the ideas needed to create them. Human capital, not merely the combination of labor and capital, brought us economic growth. 

    This simple revelation should spawn many fundamental questions about our world, and rethinking of public policies designed to generate economic growth. Sadly, it hardly ever does. Nationally, we remain transfixed by ideas from the 1970s about the role of capital taxation and growth. Here in Indiana, our education and labor market policies have shifted towards filling jobs on the factory floor rather than investing in the growth of human capital. 

    The 20th Century was an American century precisely because of our stunning improvements in education and science. From 1950 through 2000, the average years of schooling for an American rose by 3.7 years, or almost 40%. Productivity of the average worker rose by 268% over the same 50-year period. In 1950, it took 27 workers to produce $1 million of value in today’s dollars. However, in 2000, 10 workers could produce $1 million worth of goods. 

    A simple empirical study that decomposes growth resulting from capital, labor and human capital inevitably finds that human capital, more than anything else, caused this growth. There are two broad policies available to extrapolate that growth into the 21st Century. Both involve people. 

    The first and most obvious thing is to promote educational attainment. Indiana’s workforce has suffered a profound reversal. In the 12 years from third quarter 2007 (the height of the last recovery) through third quarter 2018, the quality of our workforce has actually declined. The share of adult workers with a bachelor’s degree dropped by 0.3%, while the share without a high school diploma rose by 2.4%. In stunning contrast, the share of workers nationally with a bachelor’s degree rose by 6.8% over the same time, while the share with less than a high school diploma dropped by 1.8%. This tragedy is due primarily to failure of Indiana’s educational and workforce policies. 

    The second thing we can do is to import (attract) more people. Nationally, this necessarily means more, rather than less, immigration. For states, especially those struggling to keep people, this also means more, rather than less immigration. Here in Indiana, as with much of the Midwest, international immigrants saved many communities. Last year, 32 counties lost population and saw net outmigration of native-born Americans. Of those counties, 29 saw international in-migration. Statewide, those immigrants were better educated than us native-born Hoosiers. 

    These sound like simple matters. They are critical, but not simple. In particular, improving educational outcomes will be expensive and will require undoing a number of recent policies. It necessitates some very tough conversations. This begins by acknowledging a problem that, when unaddressed, risks serious long-term damage to our state’s economy. 

    Michael J. Hicks, PhD, is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and the George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University. 
  • Morton Marcus: Jobs of the future
    INDIANAPOLIS — As the leaves begin to fall, young people are heading back to school. For many, this is the senior year of high school. For others, this is the first year at college, in the military, or working at a full-time job. For each, it means answering the question: “So, whatcha gonna do wit ya life?”
              
    Little do they know they will spend the next 60 years trying to answer that question.
              
    Whereas, at some distant date, schooling meant education; today it means occupation. Some policy-makers want to stress maximizing the future earnings of students as the goal of schooling. But all students, it is believed, should be “job ready” when they graduate from high school and/or college. They should be “trained” for the workforce, ready to meet the expectations of today’s employers, as well as prepared for an uncertain future.
              
    Go back a generation to the late 1990s. Few then anticipated manufacturing would lose 4.8 million jobs in the next 20 years. But at that time, who could have suspected 6.7 million jobs would be added to old, dull FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate)?

    “Certainly,” you will say, “automation in the U.S. and cheaper labor abroad foretold a diminishing need for workers in manufacturing.” And we would all shake our heads knowingly in agreement.

    But could we have predicted the same result in FIRE? Aren’t those jobs mainly shuffling paper, rubber-stamping, initialing, and triple-checking the obvious? Clearly, automation could eliminate much of that tedium. Why didn’t FIRE jobs decline? What’s the difference?

    Service to people. Manufacturing is making or processing millions of things with little personalization. FIRE, however, like health care and food services and drinking places, involves direct, semi-immediate, seemingly personal attention to individuals.

    What are we seeing today? Slow growth, even contractions, in retail trade jobs, but rapid growth in warehousing and ground transportation jobs. Why? Because shoppers have found they really don’t care what the salesperson thinks or recommends. They’ll use their computers to judge a product, get it delivered to the doorstep, and send it back if it does not meet their expectations.

    That’s service to people. Impersonal? Sure, but face-to-face relationships with poorly trained, inexperienced sales clerks in a store as welcoming as a mausoleum is no longer acceptable.

    For the next generation of workers, those now or soon entering the labor market, computer interactions are as natural as telephone calls were to their parents. Personal services, but not necessarily face-to-face, are on the rise. That’s where the jobs are growing and will be growing.

    It’s not just assisted living for the elderly or infirm. It’s personal services by people who know what they are doing and why they are doing it. That’s where the higher incomes will be in the future.

    Artificial intelligence will advance the machine age, but genuine intelligence and sensitivity will prosper. 

    Mr. Marcus is an economist. Reach him at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com. Follow his views and those of John Guy on “Who gets what?” wherever podcasts are available or at mortonjohn.libsyn.com. 
  • Brian Howey: The courage of Andrew Luck and an Indiana future
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS - For many Hoosiers, last weekend presented a gut punch when we learned that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was retiring at the tender age of 29.

    The emotions of fans run the gamut, from incredulity, to anger, sadness, wist and then when you put it into the proper context, appreciation and thanks for what Andrew Luck brought to Indiana. He became a Hoosier, invested in our community while playing with great heart, soul and distinction.

    One of Luck's most courageous displays occurred in November 2015 in a game against Peyton Manning and the 7-1 Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium. Luck led the 4-5 Colts to a thrilling 27-24 victory, throwing two touchdown passes and 252 yards (Manning threw for 281 yards, two TDs and two picks and finished the game a mere three yards from becoming the NFL’s all-time leading passer). But it was a brutal second half hit on Luck that would lacerate one of his kidneys and tear an abdominal muscle. It forced him to miss several games.

    After the game, Luck said, "That's who we need to be, consistently. Probably a little bit of soul searching, trying to figure out what we want to be."

    Luck's dilemma was that the hits kept coming, coast-to-coast, from a shoulder injury that kept him out for an entire season, to this spring and summer when he suffered nagging leg and ankle injuries. “For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab, and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason, and I felt stuck in it,” Luck explained in an emotional post-game press conference. “The only way I see out is to no longer play football. I’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road, and I made a vow to myself that if I ever did again, I’d choose me, in a sense." 

    At my alma mater - Peru High School - there used to be a Grantland Rice "Alumnus Football" quote high on the wall at TigArena that provided inspiration for many who played or watched: "For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name; He marks — not that you won or lost — but how you played the Game."

    Andrew Luck personified the spirit of that. 

    Author John Feinstein (who wrote the book "Season on the Brink"  about Indiana University Coach Bob Knight), noted in a Washington Post  column this week that he once asked Luck what he would do after his football career. Luck responded, “Honestly, I think I could be very happy teaching high school history.”

    Which brought to mind another Hoosier legend who crossed my path. That would be Marvin Wood, the coach of the 1954 Milan miracle team that inspired the movie "Hoosiers." I got to know Wood when he coached the girls basketball team at Mishawaka High School late in his career. The teacher/coach decided to run for the Indiana House. He lost, but what I found was a man with a kind intellect who decided he wanted to give something else to his state.

    There have been others who have gone from the field of battle in sports and into public policy. The late Gov. Frank O'Bannon played basketball at IU, former congressmen Lee Hamilton and Baron Hill played basketball collegiately, as well as Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer (who played on Coach Steve Alford's Manchester College champs), Democratic Elkhart mayoral nominee Rod Roberson, and State Rep. Bob Heaton.

    Luck certainly has the intellect and curiosity that would translate into the public policy arena. He has the courage as we witnessed countless times over the past seven years. Our state and nation need such courage. We face issues such as the mass shooting and opioid epidemics, climate change, widening income disparity, immigration that will shape the future of our melting pot culture, and, perhaps, the most intellectually challenging dynamic, the coming artificial intelligence that will impact our workforce in the coming generations.

    In all of these issues, there is a need for courage that seems to be lacking these days. We all are at a fork in the road.

    Luck studied architecture at Stanford University and spent time exploring Indiana's considerable contributions in that field. When he gave the Ubben lecture at DePauw University six months before his kidney laceration, he toured the campus checking out its unique architecture.

    "I love reading," Luck said, telling the audience he had just finished "Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage," a book about the ill-fated Antarctic expedition headed by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1914. "He survives, and every crew member survives with him." 

    Luck called the book lesson of "incredible fortitude and survival instincts. Can you imagine a year in the dark with no food, with 30 people - rough sailors - and managing the egos and the personalities to survive, just so you don't kill each other? Fantastic read."

    You could make the case that the notion of Schackleton's adventure has Luck poised for a stint of public service. 

    Luck has one other key ingredient applicable politics. Fame. 

    Yes, I hope Andrew Luck remains a Hoosier.

    The columnist is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana at www.howeypolitics.com. Find Howey on Facebook and Twitter @hwypol.

  • Lee Hamilton: Why are so many questioning democracy
    BLOOMINGTON – Democracy’s premise is that ordinary citizens can make solid decisions on complex issues. But this basic principle and the structure of laws and practices erected over the centuries to safeguard it are being questioned as rarely before.

    It’s not just that political leaders in various western democracies seem to have little regard for the norms and procedures they inherited. It’s that public discourse is filled these days with warnings about democracy’s collapse. As the writer James Traub put it not long ago, “You’d have to go back more than a century, to the 15 years before World War I, to find another moment when so many leading thinkers … questioned democracy’s future.”

    Certainly, there’s reason to worry. Participating productively in our democracy has always been a serious challenge. But because of the intensely polarized environment and the enormous amount of information, both true and false, that surrounds us, making discriminating judgments has become harder. It’s not just that we face the challenge as citizens of trying to choose the best path forward in these circumstances. We now also have to discern what information is true and what’s false as we do so.

    Moreover, as citizens we have to be more alert than ever to demagogues and authoritarians, to those who degrade and diminish democracy, and to those who want to exclude our fellow citizens from participating. These traits can be subtle. Plenty of officials argue, “Trust us, we know best” on national security, public finance, and other issues. Too often, the veil of special expertise is used to hide abuses of power or efforts to restrict the freedom of others.

    Yet if we ask, with Lincoln, whether this nation “so conceived and so dedicated can long endure,” we don’t see a democracy in its death throes. Yes, it is under stress. It needs fixing. It cannot be taken for granted. It struggles with corruption, complacency, ineffectiveness, and slowness. But its strengths lie where they always have, in a population that embraces democratic values. 

    As voters we have to look for candidates and leaders who are committed to making the political institutions of democracy stronger: A Congress that works, a judiciary that is independent of political pressure, an executive branch that’s transparent and accountable, a noisy and robust free press, the rule of law, a sturdy civil society. And we need to practice democracy as individuals; getting involved, making ourselves heard, voting, improving our corner of the world. It’s no exaggeration to say the future of our country depends on citizens stepping forward.

    But we also have to go beyond our actions by committing ourselves to democracy’s fundamental values. As others have noted, democracy is not just a political system and a set of rules. It’s also a culture — it’s the way we live: Respect for the rule of law, fairness to all, tolerance of differences, equal political rights, and equal opportunity. These are the fundamental values that undergird our country. It is a culture that encourages each of us to become the best we can, and to build a better neighborhood, community, state, nation, or world. 

    Democracy’s gift is that we strengthen it by practicing it, by getting involved, making ourselves heard, and engaging with our communities. This means that we also strengthen democracy by pushing to expand the vote, not depress it, and by taking to heart the simple notion that we have a government of, by, and for the people – not just certain kinds of people.

    In the end, we’re all bound together in the same society, attached to these shared values and practices. It’s why I don’t think the authoritarian models of China or Russia or one-man rule hold any attraction for Americans. We’re not going to go down those paths. 

    Democracy may not solve all problems, and it often frustrates us, but it provides us with the best way humankind has found to search for remedies and solutions that benefit the many. Its future is an educated guess. None of us really knows what will happen. What we do know, however, is that the important question has nothing to do with whether we’re optimistic or pessimistic. It’s what do we have to do to strengthen it? 

    Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice at the IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years. 
  • Morton Marcus: We should be focused
on the 2019 election
    INDIANAPOLIS — Sadly, America is already immersed in the 2020 national election. It would be better for our nation, our state, and our communities, if we could focus on the elections of November 2019.
              
    We are neglecting the Indiana municipal elections upcoming in November 2019. Those elected this year, as mayors and council members, will be in office in 2021-22 when new election districts will be formed on the basis of the 2020 Census.
              
    Want to stop gerrymandering? Want to end unwarranted one-party rule? Then pay attention to the 2019 election in your city/town/county. Insist candidates pledge to oppose the corrupt gerrymandering practices of the past.
              
    With inordinate attention to the 2020 campaigns, vital local public services are ignored. Our education problems are local and cannot be resolved by “free” tuition at all levels. The quantity of education certificates and degrees will rise, but what will happen to the quality of K-12 education? We must insist that rigor replace the current rigor mortis.
              
    Similarly, “free” health care, on the model of Medicare, will go a long way to increase the demand for health practitioners and support services. But without adequate funding for health care, the quality of service at the local level is endangered.  
             
    “Free” is one of those four-letter f-words, like “fair,” which should be used with great caution. Normally, conservatives remind us resources are not “free.” Liberals focus on the benefits and the beneficiaries. Both parties make little reference to the costs and what we must forego to reap the rewards of their programs.
              
    Both ideological groups talk glibly about the dollar costs of worthwhile objectives. They fail to spell out who must give up what to achieve their goals. How many fewer submarines, if the military budget is to be cut? How many trips to the nail parlor will be lost, if consumer obsessions with finger and toe adornments are to be taxed? Do we shut down the assembly lines for SUVs while diverting resources to fix the roads on which they drive?
              
    Most people do not understand price tags in the billions of dollars; we think of things and activities. Vacations in Maine, cruises to the Caribbean, 80-inch TVs, another pair of shoes, or a large jar of peanut butter are things all of us can understand. Not every sacrifice need be a luxury.
              
    What if fees were charged explicitly everywhere we park our cars? “Free” parking would disappear. More of us would walk, ride a bike, take a bus, and not go to as many places.

    I used the “free” valet service at my doctor’s office last week. “Free?” I thought. “But the cost will be included in the taxes my neighbor pays for my Medicare and I will pay for his freebies.”

    That is the way of an integrated economy. May Uber Lyft us all.        

    Mr. Marcus is an economist. Reach him at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com. Follow his views and those of John Guy on “Who gets what?” wherever podcasts are available or at mortonjohn.libsyn.com. 
     
  • Jack Colwell: How does Mueller run when he's already 'won'
    SOUTH BEND – Mayor Pete won’t be on the ballot in South Bend this fall. James Mueller will be there as the Democratic nominee for mayor. And Mueller has a problem.
         
    How does he run for mayor after he’s already won the election?
         
    Mueller, who frequently is asked just that, says he will campaign door-to-door extensively, paying special attention to the two districts in South Bend where he lost in the Democratic primary in May. He trailed significantly in the 2nd and 6th districts on the city’s West Side but won decisively citywide with pluralities in the other four districts.
         
    “Some people think I’m mayor already,” Mueller says.
         
    At some of the doors where he already has knocked, Mueller hears things like: “What are you doing here? You don’t have to sweat it.”
         
    That’s because the election that determines who will be mayor of South Bend long has been the Democratic primary. No Republican has been elected mayor since 1967. No Republican has even provided a serious challenge since 1987.
         
    Sean Haas, the Republican nominee, hopes to offer a serious challenge this time. Haas and Mueller are contemporaries. In grade school, they played on the same basketball team at St. Anthony School. They’re on rival teams now, pro-Pete vs. anti-Pete.
         
    Although Mayor Pete Buttigieg, now a presidential candidate, isn’t on the city election ballot, in a way he really is.
         
    Mueller is the hand-picked choice of Mayor Pete to be the next mayor and to carry on what Buttigieg hails nationally as South Bend’s recovery finally from doldrums of Studebaker demise and a decades-long can’t-do, defeatist attitude.
         
    Haas has a “No Re-Pete” theme on his Facebook postings and disputes that South Bend really has prospered during the two Buttigieg terms. He points particularly to shootings in the city and accuses the mayor of failing to support the police. Haas also accuses Buttigieg of responding inadequately to problems at the South Bend Housing Authority, where the FBI conducted a raid.
         
    Democratic rivals for the presidential nomination, Republicans nationally with concern about him as a rising star and the national news media all will keep an eye on the South Bend election. They will watch to see if Mayor Pete’s hand-picked choice wins impressively, with city voters in effect delivering another win for Pete, a vote of confidence in him and the direction he has led the city. They will watch also for signs of just the opposite, a Republican doing surprisingly well in such a Democratic-leaning city, a sign of dissatisfaction with Buttigieg, repudiation.
         
    They will watch particularly the voting in those two districts where Mueller lost big in May – 2nd and 6th, both with heavy concentrations of African American voters. If the mayor’s choice as successor does poorly in predominately black precincts, it will be interpreted as a sign that Buttigieg, needing to win over black voters in key primary states, isn’t really that popular with those voters in his own home town.
         
    Mueller, with proposals of his own and aware of racial discord, is concerned about governing. If he is to become a mayor with a mandate – as Buttigieg did in landslides, first term with 74%, reelection with 80.4% – then he needs to win support all around the town. Not 80%, but sizeable.
         
    So, has Mueller won the election? Yes. The Democratic primary election. That doesn’t mean he already is mayor. Almost. But nothing is official until the votes are counted.
         
    The perception of inevitability hurts both nominees. It’s a two-edged sword. Makes it harder for Mueller to convince Democrats to go to the polls. Makes it harder for Haas to convince Republicans to provide support and votes.
         
    Those who do vote will pick the next mayor and offer an evaluation of the mayor whose name isn’t on the ballot. 

    Colwell has covered Indiana politics over five decades for the South Bend Tribune.
  • Michael Hicks: Lessons from an economic debacle
    MUNCIE — Last weekend’s column criticized three economic development deals. By Tuesday, the city cancelled the project that so enraged Muncie residents. This was good news, of course, but the project was bad economic development policy from the very beginning. The Muncie Redevelopment Commission should never have brought this plan to city officials. There is a lesson here for every Indiana community. 

    At first blush, the deal to bring a recycling firm to Muncie might seem a good idea. The city has several million square feet of excess industrial property, including one behemoth factory site that used to house the Borg Warner plant. The plant would employ 90 or so workers and recycle metallic materials into usable products. Like most early 20th century industrial sites, the Borg Warner site is not usable for most activities. This might seem to be a good place for both tax incentives and a recycling plant. 

    Unfortunately, it never was a good idea. Fortunately, public outrage stopped the project. This happened following revelations that the company submitted permits to release stunning levels of mercury and lead into the air. There is much community outrage at the company, Waelz Sustainable Products, but I am convinced that the Muncie Redevelopment Commission was aware of this permit. 

    Few successful companies would be naïve enough to hide this sort of information. The Muncie Redevelopment Commission (MRC) has demonstrated few limits on naiveté. I am sure it is just sloppy recordkeeping, but all of this could be cleared up if the MRC can locate the missing economic development agreement made earlier this year. 

    The proposal never should have made it to the city council because the project was always the wrong type of project for Muncie. Many communities make this mistake, so let me recount why this was bad and what made it so. 

    To begin, I want to reiterate, I’m a free market economist and welcome employers and jobs into any community. I think communities really only need to ask two things of companies. First, are you damaging health or property values through pollution or some other disamenity, and second, are you going to pay your own way? The answers to both questions were always wrong for this community and any economic developer with a lick of common sense would have known that. 

    The project was always going to be a disamenity. Even if the factory didn’t emit toxins, a new factory within site and smell of Muncie would simply reduce the attractiveness of a struggling city. Manufacturing is a critical industry, but modern factories with emissions don’t belong near populated places. That much should’ve been clear to local economic developers and members of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission. 

    The 90 new jobs were to pay $45,000 each, which sounds great, but is about 20% lower than this industry averages across the state. No doubt the MRC knew that when they proposed more than $15 million of tax incentives, and asked the state for a further $4 million. In this deal, the MRC asked taxpayers to pony up more than $170,000 per job for an employer that operates in 45 states and makes hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year. I am frankly challenged to describe accurately this sort of rationale in a family-friendly column. 

    I should also note that many who spoke about this plant acknowledged a need for more jobs in Muncie. That, folks, is nonsense. Muncie currently has over 5,000 more jobs than it has workers. The city has to import 5,000 people each day who work, but choose not to live in Muncie. The problem isn’t housing—Muncie has 5,000 excess homes and high rental vacancies. The problem isn’t the weather, or taxes, or the absence of mountains or seashore. Muncie cannot attract people because the quality of public services is dismal. The schools are in receivership, while fewer than a third of kids pass their standardized tests. Muncie’s streets are cratered, public buildings are in disrepair and the Redevelopment Commission is unaware of all this as they mindlessly divert more tax dollars to economic development schemes. 

    I’d like to say this was an uncommon problem in Indiana; it is not, though Muncie is surely a negative outlier. When asked whether or not the public outrage surrounding this deal would hurt Muncie’s economic development prospects, one city official said that it would. She is wholly mistaken. The absolute best thing for this community, and for many others around the state, is to stop doing stupid economic development deals. 

    Far too much public spending on economic development is done with no meaningful analysis. In far too many places, economic development is simply the process of closing whatever prospect comes to town. It is all tactics and no strategy, and everyone needs to ask more of their elected officials and economic development teams. It’s time to study that great strategist Sun Tzu, who said that tactics without strategy is nothing but the noise before defeat. 

    Michael J. Hicks, PhD, is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and the George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University. 
  • Brian Howey: Do we accept massacre culture, or make changes?
    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    FRENCH LICK – U.S. Senators take this oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office  on which I am about to enter: So help me God." 

    Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Congress and President George W. Bush took an array of security steps to defend Americans from foreign terrorists. The Department of Homeland Security was created, along with the Director of National Intelligence that would eventually be manned by Indiana’s Dan Coats for three years. We experience a number of security elements every time we fly or go into a security sensitive area. These measures have been largely successful as terror attacks from foreign sources like al-Qaeda are exceptionally rare. 

    In 2019, Americans are facing a virtual guerrilla war from domestic sources ranging from white supremacists to nihilist and anarchists. Attacks just this year have claimed 246 deaths and 979 wounded, culminating to that weekend earlier this month with massacres in Dayton and El Paso took out 30 lives, injuring dozens of others. The gunman in Dayton killed nine people and injured 27 others with an assault rifle and high-capacity magazine in just 30 seconds before heroic cops took him out.

    That's a total of 1,325 victims, about a third of the 9/11 total. There is now palpable panic. Americans are so insecure that they stampede at the sounding of a motorcycle backfiring on Times Square or a mall sign falling.

    How are Indiana congressional "leaders" responding? 

    House Minority Whip Steve Scalise spoke fundraiser for Rep. Jim Banks in Columbia City, saying, “What I would like to see is us to continue to focus on making the existing laws actually work.” This is fascinating because Scalise was critically wounded in an assault on the GOP congressional baseball team. “In many cases with mass shootings, we've seen people falling through the cracks that shouldn't have been able to legally buy a gun.” 

    And Banks? The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported him saying, “As Steve says, we need to enforce the laws that we have.” 

    U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon held a town hall in Terre Haute this week, and the Terre Haute Tribune-Star's Alex Modesitt reported Bucshon saying, “First of all, you cannot legally buy a firearm from any federally licensed dealer without getting a background check. You can’t buy one from a dealer on the internet or at a gun show without getting one. The only way you can legally purchase a gun without a background check is through a private sale. ... And to be clear, none of these shootings would have changed if the background checks were any different.” 

    Bucshon added, with Modesitt reporting "much to the chagrin of many in attendance," that “Nothing short of repealing the 2nd Amendment and sending federal agents door to door to collect guns would be enough to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Everybody wants these shootings to stop.” 

    Baptist minister Markel Hutchins chairs the Atlanta-based civil rights group Movement Forward and tells WIBC’s  Eric Berman that churches, mosques and synagogues are “soft targets.” And the unforgettable line:  Nearly everyone in a church, synagogue or mosque has his back to the entrance. Except the pastor. Now some anti gun reform advocates suggest the simple solution: Arm the pastor, rabbi, priest or imam. 

    Arm the teacher; arm the preacher … which is how absurd this atmosphere has become in America. 

    So, are we left just to throw our hands up in the air and accept this growing risk?

    Or, as U.S. Sen. Mike Braun observed, “We’ve got to do some common-sense stuff that prevents this in the future.”

    What might constitute "common-sense stuff?"

    A Fox News Poll revealed 67% support a ban on “assault weapons.” An NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll showed 75% support expanded background checks and a similar number back the "red flag" laws that allow police and courts to remove weapons from unstable people. But red flag laws have more of an impact with suicidal people than preventing mass shootings.

    U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks told me earlier this month, "I’d like to think we’re at the tipping point because of the hundreds of mass shootings we’ve had this past year. Young people are demanding it, are demanding we change some of our laws relative to guns. I think there will be some changes." 

    Since Dayton and El Paso, more than two dozen people have been arrested nationally for threatening a mass shooting, including a Florida man in Indianapolis. Just this month there have been five students arrested for bringing guns to school in Muncie and Indianapolis and a shooting near an Evansville school. 

    So this is a persistent threat.

    The survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school massacre and their organization, March for Our Lives, proposed “A Peace Plan for a Safer America” this past week. Key components: A national licensing and gun registry; ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; implement a mandatory gun buyback program; Create a “national director of gun violence prevention” who would report directly to the president; raise the gun purchase age from 18 to 21; and create a federal “multi-step” gun licensing system that would include in-person interviews and a 10-day wait before gun purchases are approved. The license would be renewed annually. 

    March for Our Lives has more than 100 chapters and has spent the past year registering new voters.

    And that's what really will have to happen if anything is to change. President Trump and most Republicans in Congress appear to be willing to accept the status quo.

    Or voters can make a change and elect people who will confront these atrocities in a different way. 

    The columnist is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana at www.howeypolitics.com. Find Howey on Facebook and Twitter @hwypol.
  • Brian Howey: The perversion of an American ideal

    By BRIAN A. HOWEY

    INDIANAPOLIS – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    These were the epic words of the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus”  adorning the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. These words cut to the crux of the American experiment and spoke to our epic, melting-pot heritage.

    Ken Cuccinelli is acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and he made an astounding assertion on Tuesday. As the Trump administration seeks to dramatically limit legal immigration to America, Cuccinelli tweaked the Lazarus poem after a question from the press.

    “Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the American ethos?” NPR’s Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli during a “Morning Edition”  interview. Cuccinelli responded, “They certainly are: ‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.’ That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge was passed – very interesting timing.”

    Thus we see the aberration of a basic American ethos, replaced by President Trump and top aide Stephen Miller’s attempt to stir ethnic, racial, urban and rural divides in the country they govern. They want only white Europeans, with degrees, and some wealth. Thus, we are watching in real time a perversion of an American ideal.

    I remembered in-laws of my family, who lived in Richmond. They immigrated to the U.S. from Poland after World War I. They didn’t make it. While the current Great Society welfare system was not in place in the 1920s, it would be safe to assume that at some point they had help, whether it was from a church, a soup kitchen, the Salvation Army or a haven like the Hull House on Chicago’s near west side or even a “public charge.” They had to return to their homeland with considerable disappointment, if not shame. 

    A few years later, they came to America for a second time. This time they made it. He worked in a Toledo foundry, raising a family that would yield nurses, university professors and a Baptist minister.

    I suspect many of you reading this very post have similar family histories. Certainly, the Trump and Pence families did.

    Cuccinelli not only doesn’t understand this basic American tenet, he had a number of other facts wrong. NPR reports that the first “public charge” rule for immigration, which he called “very interesting timing” was codified in 1882. Lazarus’s poem was written in 1883 and was not placed on Lady Liberty until 1903.

    Immigrants make up 13.7% of the current U.S. population, according to the Brookings Institute, which is well within historic norms. More than 44.5 million immigrants resided in the United States in 2017, the historical high since census records have been kept. One in seven U.S. residents is foreign-born, according to 2017 American Community Survey data. While immigrants’ current share of the overall U.S. population (325.7 million people) has been increasing since the record low marked in 1970, it remains below the historical record of 14.8% in 1890.

    Here in President Trump’s America, not only do we have record employment (which he deserves some of the credit), we have a need for more labor. There are currently 77,000 unfilled jobs in Indiana and 7.3 million across the U.S., according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are many jobs that current Americans don’t want to do, such as farm labor or those in chicken processing plants like the ones that ICE raided in Mississippi last week.

    The anti-immigrant sentiments stoked by Trump and Miller are based on faulty perceptions. Trump began his presidential campaign in 2015 claiming that Mexicans coming to the U.S. were “rapists” and criminals. The Migrant Policy Institute (MPI) reports that reasons for deportation include 83% immigration violation, 7% for aggravated felony, 6% for other crimes, 4% other. So only a small fraction of immigrants are criminals.

    And there are zero instances of an immigrant committing an act of terrorism in the U.S. Zero.

    According to the George W. Bush Center, 72.5% of immigrants “believe hard work is how you succeed in America” and are responsible for half of the total U.S. labor force growth over the last decade. Immigrant-owned businesses with employees have an average of 11 workers, as some of you have witnessed if you hire a lawn care company or have had your home reroofed. Some 7.6% of immigrants were self-employed compared to 5.6% of native-born Americans. Immigrants have founded more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies. Precisely 42 slots on the Forbes 400 belong to naturalized citizens who immigrated to America, or 10.5% of the list. The Bush Center reports that 62.2% of immigrants age 16 and older were employed, compared to 58.1% of native-born Americans.

    Immigrants are more likely to have college degrees than native-born Americans and are more likely to have advanced degrees. According to MPI, in 2017, 31% (12 million) of the 39 million immigrants ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 32% of U.S.-born adults. Notably, the share of college-educated immigrants was much higher, 47%, among those who entered the country in the previous five years (between 2012 and 2017).

    So many of these yearning Americans are far from wretched, huddled masses. Some are and they may have gotten some public assistance along the way. So what? It’s part of what we call pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Sometimes you need a helping hand, not a permanent handout.

    Forbes Magazine’s Monte Burke cited Thomas Peterffy, who was born in the basement of a Budapest hospital on Sept. 30, 1944. Peterffy landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in December 1965. “He had no money and spoke no English. He had a single suitcase, which contained a change of clothes, a surveying handbook, a slide rule and a painting of an ancestor,” Burke writes. Peterffy founded Interactive Brokers Group and at age 72 is now worth an estimated $12.6 billion.

    “Thomas Peterffy embodies the American Dream,” explained Burke. So does Google founder Sergey Brin ($37.5 billion), eBay founder Pierre Omidyar ($8.1 billion), Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk ($11.6 billion). And Rupert Murdoch, George Soros, Jerry Yang, Micky Arison, Patrick Soon-Shiong, Jan Koum, Jeff Skoll, Jorge Perez, and Peter Thiel. 

    In the Hoosier context, notable immigrants included Clemens Vonnegut, Sarkes Tarzian, Kanwal Prakash Singh, Josef Gingold, Elias Esau Daniels (grandfather of a governor), Rajan Gajaria, Riccardo Giacconi, Nickoliss Shaheen, Salvador Luria, Michael McRobbie, Akira Suzuki, Rolando A. DeCastro, J. Hans Jensen, Christel DeHaan, Ei-ichi Negishi, Juana Watson and Eva Mozes Kor. All of these Hoosiers made our state more learned, artistic, communicative and prosperous.

    President Trump’s anti-immigration stance, his stoking fears of caravans and invasions, may be good politics – it helped  Mike Braun defeat Sen. Joe Donnelly in 2018 – though it backfired across much of the rest of America.

    Legal immigration has brought America new vitality, wave after wave. It is a renewal. And it is under unwarranted attack. 

    The columnist is founder and publisher of Howey Politics Indiana, which began publishing in August 1994.

  • Jack Colwell: Who really cares about the massacres?
    SOUTH BEND  –  Bullets don’t care. Nor do military-style weapons from which they fly.

    Assault rifles don’t care whether they are used to kill little kids in a school, teens in their high school, worshipers in synagogues and churches, shoppers at that El Paso Walmart or people enjoying a weekend in Dayton’s entertainment district.
     
    The shooters care. They want to bring death, grief, terror. They plan for this, hope for this, seek recognition for this.
     
    How many elected officials – those who could act to restrict use of uncaring assault weapons spewing uncaring bullets – care enough to act? Care at all? The answer to that is what happened in El Paso and Dayton.
         
    We become numb to news of mass shootings. There have been more mass shootings than days of the year so far in 2019. As of Aug. 5, the 217th day of the year, there were 255 mass shootings, incidents with at least four people shot.
         
    The Dayton carnage was especially shocking for me. Nine were killed, dozens injured in 32 seconds of rapid fire of uncaring bullets from an uncaring military-style weapon used by a shooter seeking mayhem and martyrdom. This occurred in Dayton’s Oregon District, the city’s entertainment district, with fine restaurants, trendy bars, interesting shops and historic structures.
         
    Just the night before in that popular area, my son, Steve, executive producer in TV news there, my daughter-in-law, Jennifer, and my granddaughter, Claire, walked by Ned Peppers, the bar the shooter tried to enter to kill so many more. Police downed him at the door to greater infamy.
         
    My family members could have crossed paths with the killer. He reportedly was also in the district that night before the massacre. Was he deciding whether to go back to his car and bring out his short-barreled assault rifle then or wait until the next night?
         
    I’ve walked by Ned Peppers, 419 E. 5th St., going to “Roost,” my favorite restaurant there, 524 E. 5th St., across the street and a block away. Uncaring bullets easily fly that far.
         
    While the Dayton massacre was shocking, it can’t really be viewed as surprising. Mass shootings like this can happen anywhere in this country, with weapons of war easily obtained by anyone anywhere with hate, desire to inflict widespread death and suffering and willingness to die a martyr to some cause.
         
    After each mass shooting, we hear the same words: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.” Offering this same refrain afterward does nothing to prevent the next massacre. Think about, pray for and act on banning assault weapons.
         
    “We are better than this.” Are we? If so, why does it get worse? Why don’t we do better with background checks, closing the big loopholes, and halting the free flow of assault rifles to terrorists?
         
    “Well, shootings happen in Chicago all the time.” Shootings in Chicago and so many other cities – with handguns rather than assault rifles often used and with individual gang members rather than crowds of innocent people targeted – don’t mean mass killings in El Paso and Dayton are less significant, not worthy of such national attention.
         
    Sure, more is needed to close loopholes letting Chicago gangs get guns, often from Indiana, and to lessen gun violence throughout the nation. But massacres with assault rifles can be addressed promptly. Ban weapons used in war in Afghanistan from use in El Paso and Dayton.
         
    If the Dayton murderer, with body armor and lots of additional ammunition, had made it into the crowded Peppers bar, where so many fled, the death toll could have climbed from nine to 100.
         
    Another 200 bullets fired into that crowd? The bullets wouldn’t have cared about all that carnage. Bullets don’t care. Assault rifles don’t care.

    Who does?  

    Colwell has covered Indiana politics over five decades for the South Bend Tribune.
  • Morton Marcus: Why is Social Security running out of funds?
    INDIANAPOLIS — We’ve all heard the Social Security Trust Fund will no longer be able to finance Social Security payments in full after 20xx. We say “xx” because the date keeps changing.
     
    When folks think about Social Security, what mostly comes to mind is the Old Age Insurance aspect of the program. But there’s also a vital role played by Survivors’ Insurance for spouses and children and important Disability Insurance for those unable to work.        
            
    Why is this safety net, this trust fund, running out of money? For several reasons:
            
    We are living longer than expected. People are retiring too early. Congress gave an increase in benefits that was too generous. Too many people are claiming disability benefits for which they do not qualify. There are more disabled people than we ever anticipated.

    It goes on. What are we to do? There is a partial solution, known for decades, which Congress does not yet support: Eliminate the cap on eligible earnings.

    Yes, there is a limit on how much wages and salaries can be taxed for Social Security, but not for Medicare. We don’t have much data for 2019 yet, but we can look at 2017 for detail.

    In 2017, the cap stood at $127,200, up from $51,300 in 1990. That put the cap $76,900 higher than the average wage in ’17, well more than double the difference of $30,300 in ’90.

    I said the average wage. And this is the reason folks hate statistics. The average wage is not the wage of the average worker. The average worker is more likely the median one who stands in the middle of the pack, with half of the wage earners to one side and the other half on the other side. The average wage is strongly influenced by the few, but very high wages paid to the most favored employees.

    Average Anne can be very different from Median Mike. In 1990, Average Anne earned more than 63% of all workers. By 2017, Average Anne’s income was higher than 67% of all workers. At the same time, Median Mike’s wages, which were 72% of Anne’s wages, had fallen to 65% of hers.

    These two little-known, related statistics have persistently reflected the widening income gap.

    Meanwhile, the maximum eligible income taxed for Social Security has advanced at an average annual rate of 3.4%, almost tied to the average wage which has grown by 3.3% annually. But the median wage, a much more meaningful number, has risen only 2.9 annually.

    How much money will be raised annually if the cap is removed? Roughly, it would exceed $75 billion, a relatively small amount of the $1 trillion estimated Social Security revenues for 2018.

    Why hasn’t the cap been removed? Ask that Congressional representative you keep reelecting.

    Calculating the added revenue

    The aggregate amount of wages for 2017 was $8 trillion dollars. The cap of $127,200 applied to 7.7 million wage earners, which exempted $1.2 trillion from a 6.2% tax rate. The resulting uncollected revenue was $74.6 billion. 

    This result is based on un-rounded numbers and minimizing assumptions. Readers who contest these figures are invited to submit their own procedures and resulting estimates. 

    Mr. Marcus is an economist. Reach him at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com. Follow his views and those of John Guy on “Who gets what?” wherever podcasts are available or at mortonjohn.libsyn.com. 
  • Michael Hicks: Comparing the Foxconn and Muncie debacles
    MUNCIE — Over the past week, I attended a Muncie City Council meeting on very contentious issues and travelled to Wisconsin to speak to a group of economic developers about the Foxconn debacle. Both events have eerily similar aspects that should anger and frustrate voters. 

    In 2017, Wisconsin hastily put together the world’s largest tax incentive package to lure some 13,000 jobs to the state. This deal would have cost each Wisconsin family about $1,700 over the life of the project. This is more than $170,000 per job. The deal happened at break-neck speed, behind closed doors, and without benefit of any serious economic analysis. From beginning to end, this arrangement illustrated raw contempt for open government and the interests of citizens. 

    Once the dust settled, along came several economic and fiscal studies. All present some version of the same story; the Foxconn deal will never provide taxpayers a positive return, and as initially structured will damage the economy. This damning assessment is equally true in the matters before the Muncie City Council meeting I attended. 

    On a pleasant August evening, roughly a thousand local residents swamped a Muncie City Council meeting. The frustration of the crowd was palpable. At issue was the continued lack of transparency and concern for residents of the region. Two issues involving tax incentives warrant special scrutiny.

    The Muncie meeting opened with the city’s two largest employers asking the City Council to support tax incentives to construct high-end apartments. These apartments will subsidize the housing costs of some of the most affluent members of the community. As everyone knows, tax incentives come at the expense of local taxpayers and taxing units. In this instance, the lost revenues to Muncie Community Schools alone is more than $2 million over the life of the project. 

    At best, this is callous indifference to the citizens of Muncie. At its worst, it is nothing but contemptuous disregard for their interests. As bad as this process and outcome was, it was not what brought out the crowd. 

    The thousand or so local residents came to the Muncie City Council meeting mostly to express their concern over a proposed recycling facility located 1.5 miles upwind from Muncie. However, the facility is not just locating there; it is being paid by taxpayers to locate there. Like the apartment project, this recycling facility is to receive a tax subsidy. Unbelievably, Muncie has agreed to pay more than $175,000 per job for this plant. This subsidy will result in significantly more debt for a city that imports 5,000 workers each day to fill the jobs it already has. 

    These facts alone should result in deep voter outrage, but that is hardly the worst part. As the local media now report, many months ago this company applied for a permit to release mercury and other toxic pollutants into the air and water. My four semesters of college chemistry and physics do not qualify me to speak to the science of mercury emissions. However, I do understand the economic development effects of even a hint of mercury contamination. It would be catastrophic to the future of Muncie. Even small mercury emissions reduce home values and cause residents to move. The best studies I have seen estimate the effect of small discharges at just under 10% of property value. This would cause widespread and nearly permanent fiscal damage to schools, libraries, and public safety. 

    The Muncie Redevelopment Commission did not do their homework. They negotiated this deal and presented it to the Muncie City Council months after the filing of state permits to release mercury and other toxins. At best, this is callous indifference to the citizens of Muncie. At its worst, it is nothing but contemptuous disregard for their interests and wellbeing. 

    The factors that tie together all these projects are simple. It is a raw and unfettered disdain for citizens and an informed political process. The Foxconn project proceeded to the Wisconsin legislature with only a cursory economic analysis. The Muncie housing project relied on a series of studies in which the authors simply invented fictional data to make the project look necessary. The recycling plant proceeded without a study. Citizens have every reason to be outraged and to take action. We must hold the architects of these deals responsible, both as institutions and individuals, at the local and state level. 

    I have spent a career studying and writing about tax incentives and the factors that cause people and places to struggle or thrive. The process of that research often leaves me writing about very narrow tax or policy issues. However, minor misapplication of a tax instrument is not what ails either Muncie or Wisconsin‘s Foxconn deal. The problem is in both places is broken politics. In these places, the elected officials, economic developers, and large employers decided they owe nothing to voters. They are so certain their dandy plans are clever that sharing facts with the people paying the bills and bearing the financial risks is a pointless inconvenience. That is anti-democratic, damaging to economic growth and illustrates scorn for people and process in both places. Along with tangible changes, voters in these places deserve an apology. 

    Michael J. Hicks, PhD, is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and the George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University. 
  • Lee Hamilton: How should Americans engage globally?
    BLOOMINGTON  –  I’ve been struck recently by news coverage of climate change and humans’ degradation of the planet. Two opposing themes keep appearing. One is the sense that, as individuals, there’s little we can do; the forces are too large. The other – and I think many Americans would agree with this – is that as citizens of the planet we have a responsibility to protect it and to pass it on in good shape to those who follow us.

    So how do we reconcile those warring impulses – not just on the environment, but on many global and international issues? How, in other words, do we engage with the world?

    Because make no mistake, as Americans we are global citizens. It’s not just that the world has deep-seated, unavoidable problems that, if ignored, will bite us where we live. It’s that we inhabit a preeminent world power that bears a responsibility to lead. 

    If you pay attention to international meetings, you can’t help but notice that other countries have for many years turned to us to take the lead. That’s diminishing under our current administration, but not because other countries (with the exception of China and Russia) are eager to take our place. Shaping the global order has been a central feature of our identity and our history. Lincoln spoke of American freedom as “the last best hope of earth.” JFK promised to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Ronald Reagan spoke of this country as a “shining city upon a hill.”

    I don’t actually agree with the boundless sense of American power and responsibility suggested by Kennedy’s promise. The truth is, we couldn’t “pay any price” or “bear any burden” back then, and we can’t now. Our obligation in its broadest terms is to try to make our nation and the world safer, freer, and more prosperous when and where we can. But we can’t do it all.

    What does this mean for us as citizens? It means we have an obligation to inform ourselves about the world we live in. It means we should learn about international affairs, visit other countries if we’re able, learn a foreign language, read what foreign leaders have to say. We should engage with people from other countries, both here and abroad, and work hard to understand the challenges that other countries and their citizens confront. In short, we should try to see problems not just from an American perspective, but more broadly.

    Beyond that, I think that as Americans, we ought to be first in line to respond to humanitarian disasters and to raise our voices in support of innocent people who have been mistreated. Where we can, we should try to lessen tensions between nations and groups, reduce conflict, and improve the quality of life for all. We should be perceived to be a benign power.

    Yet we have to do all this with keen awareness of our limitations. We can’t solve all the world’s problems. We can’t pour our resources into every challenging place and problem. We need the help of others and should welcome it. We have to be smart about how we use our power. We have to reserve the right to use force as a last resort, but diplomacy and development should be our preferred tools of engagement.

    I’m uneasy talking about “American exceptionalism,” even though I really do believe we have a responsibility to the world. I’m far more comfortable when we show we’re exceptional. If we really are exceptional, others will notice. We don’t need to flaunt it.

    In the end, we have to look at our responsibilities as global citizens quietly and confidently, with humility, and try to contribute to a safer, more prosperous world. That’s something we can all do, and a goal we should push our leaders to pursue. 

    Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice at the IU O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.
  • Jack Howey: In the wake of the Fitzgerald, a Great Lakes drama
    Publisher's note: My paternal family came from the Great Lakes — Ontario, Michigan and The Region in Indiana: Michigan City, Gary and Hobart. I found this column by my father, who passed away last week at age 93, written on Nov. 15, 1977, following the sinking of the legendary SS Edmund Fitzgerald. He had graduated from Hobart HS, class of 1943, when he took his turn as a Merchant Marine and helped fuel the arsenal of democracy before he entered the Army Air Corps in 1945. I run this as a grateful son’s tribute to him on the day of his funeral. - Brian A. Howey

    By JACK E. HOWEY
    Peru Daily Tribune

    When the ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald went down with all hands this week in Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay in a raging storm, it brought back memories stored away for many years.

    During World War II, many of the sailors who normally manned Great Lakes shipping went on to salt water ships where the pay — and the danger — was greater for delivering war material to Europe and the Pacific. Thus, the long, low freighters, which had the task of delivering cargoes of iron ore, coal and limestone to the steel mills that line the Great Lakes often were short of experienced crews.

    This prompted a friend and me, both of us out of high school and not yet drafted, to decide to ship out on the freighters. The pay, as I recall, was something like $90 a month plus room and board for an ordinary seaman with no experience.

    So the last week of March, my friend and I went to the Great Lakes Shipping Association shipping hall in south Chicago to see if we could get berths on a freighter. We decided before we went that we would ship together, or not at all.

    The procedure was for freighters approaching the port in the Chicago area to radio crew needs to the shipping office dispatcher, who kept a list of the names of those waiting for berths. When your name reached the top of the list, and if your qualifications matched those sought by the ship captain, you were offered the job. Not many freighters had empty berths for two ordinary seamen, so my friend and I waited four days – sleeping on benches at the shipping hall at night, eating at a nearby White Castle hamburger shop during the day – before we finally had a chance at jobs.

    The only problem was, while there were two berths open, one was for a deckhand and one was for a coal passer, whose job it was to haul coal down out of the ship’s bunkers and shovel it into the boilers. But it was that or a longer wait, so we flipped to see who would get the deck job and headed for the Republic Steel plant where we would board the Arcturus. It was almost midnight on my birthday, March 29, when we stumbled across the gangplank onto the Arcturus, an ancient freighter built in 1904, and were shown our bunks – mine below decks in the engine room section, my friend’s in the forecastle with the deck crew - and we were put to work immediately.

    My recollection of coal passing was that it was not great fun, but it wasn’t the hardest work I’d ever done, either. What I didn’t like was working below decks way down in the bowels of the ship, so when a member of the deck crew left the ship a few weeks later, I asked for and got his berth.

    At sea, the deck crews mostly did maintenance work washing the decks and other surfaces that were stained with ore or coal dust, chipping paint, painting, the usual exciting shipboard work. We worked a normal eight-hour day with Sunday off.

    In port, the crew worked four-on, eight-off shifts and when you were not on watch you could go into town, if there was a town. At places like Port Inland, Mich., which was little more than a limestone quarry, and Detour, Mich., which was an Indian village near a coaling station, there was no place to go.

    The unloading was done mechanically with huge cranes. The ships were loaded through big spouts that directed the cargo from storage elevators into the hold. Our ship had four holds and 32 hatches and the ship had to be moved periodically during loading to keep the load even in the holds.

    For the most part, deck crews moved docking lines from one stanchion on shore to another so the ship could be moved, and handled a deck winch to open and close hatches. The only time there was hard physical work was when a freighter had unloaded ore, coal or stone was to go to Canada for a load of grain. Then the holds had to be washed out and the residue from the previous cargo shoveled into crane buckets so it could be removed.

    The foundering of the Edmund Fitzgerald this week reminded me of one trip through Lake Superior that summer. On our way through the locks at the Soo headed toward Superior, Wis., the ship caught a sudden, heavy gust of wind from the stern and hit a pier with a glancing blow, but one with enough force to put a dent in the bow. The dent was above the waterline, because the ship was empty at the time and rode maybe 10 feet higher in the water than when it was loaded.

    It didn’t seem to be a problem, though, and we picked up our cargo of ore at Superior as the weather turned drastically for the worse. We left Superior on June 1 in the midst of a howling blizzard, with heavy winds from the east and very poor visibility. A line had been rigged from the superstructure at the stern of the ship to the mast above the pilothouse. These were lifelines attached to it that crewmen tied around themselves when it was necessary to go from one end of the ship to the other. With the freighter fully loaded, the deck was only about six feet above the water level and huge waves broke as high as the lifeline as they tore across the deck.

    All that was scary enough to a teenager, but something even scarier happened. I had been promoted to deck watch by that time, and one of my tasks during the watch was to sound the ballast tanks to make sure they were dry when they were supposed to be and that there was the proper amount of water in them when they were being used.

    Up in the very bow of the ship was what was called the dark hold, which was one of the ballast tanks and which was supposed to be dry when the ship was loaded. I went on watch a couple hours after we left Superior and starting making my rounds sounding the tanks. The first one I sounded was the dark hold, and, to my horror, it had 36 inches of water in it!

    I made it up to the bridge in record time, getting knocked down once by a wave as I reached the top of the ladder to the Texas deck. A few moments later I found myself with the captain and the chief engineer wading around in waist deep water in the dark hold helping them replace a rusty pipe to a pump.

    It took more than an hour to get the job done and the water level had risen about six inches before the pump was made effective. The leak was around one of the plates that had been dented when we came through the Soo, and the experience was even more frightening because the ship’s anchor, which had no device to secure it, banged against the bow plates with every wave that crashed into the ship. And, in case you don’t know, Lake Superior’s water never gets very warm and on June 1 it was still very cold.

    It took us three days to complete what was normally an 18-hour trip from Superior to the Soo and the storm raged during most of that period.

    There is a theory that the Fitzgerald broke in two when its bow and stern were raised simultaneously by waves and the midsection of the ship was out of the water. It’s possible, and an ore freighter would go down like a rock if its loaded holds were opened to water.

    Many persons don’t realize that storms on the Great Lakes are often more vicious than those on the ocean because the lakes are shallower than the ocean and the waves tend to come much more rapidly than those in deep water.

    But believe me, a Lake Superior storm can be a frightening thing, even in a big ship.
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  • Banks makes election promise to Trump
    "I promised President Trump tonight that Indiana would be the first state on the board for Trump/Pence shortly after 6pm on November 3, 2020!" - U.S. Rep. Jim Banks in a Facebook posting after House Republicans met with President Trump for their retreat in Baltimore. Indiana's polls are one of the first to close on Election Day and the state typically is one of the first to declare its 11 Electoral College votes for the Republican nominee, with the exception of 2008 when Barack Obama won the state.
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  • The NFL's Century season
    The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers kicked off the 100th season of the NFL Thursday nigth, meeting for the 199th time. The Bear defense lived up to billing. But Chicago third year QB Mitch Trubinsky ... not so much, as the Packers won 10-3, much to the howling, growling chagrin to the Bear faithful at Soldier Field. This, despite a pre-game appearance by the Punky QB (Jim McMahon). 

    There were 10 original teams of the NFL, including two in Indiana: The Hammond Pros and the Muncie Flyers. The others were Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Tigers, Dayton Triangles, Decatur Staleys, Racine Cardinals, Rock Island Independents, and Rochester Jeffersons. The Staleys would become the Bears. 

    The NFL wouldn't return to Indiana (beyond the Bears training camp at St. Joseph College at Rensselaer where Dick Butkus once said the statues were so ugly the pigeons wouldn't crap on them) until the Colts arrived in Indianapolis in 1984. It took 15 years before consistently great quarterbacking would establish itself in Indy, first with Peyton Manning and then Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett is now on the clock. - Brian A. Howey, publisher
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