Anirban Basu

Host, Morning Economic Report

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants.  Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate.  Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes.  Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.

He is the author of numerous regional publications including the Mid-Atlantic Economic Quarterly and Outlook Maryland and is routinely asked to contribute to local media, including on his radio show on WTMD, 89.7 FM/Baltimore and here on WYPR's Morning Economic Forecast.  Anirban completed his graduate work in mathematical economics at the University of Maryland.  He earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University in 1992. His Bachelors in Foreign Service is from Georgetown University and was earned in 1990.  He is currently working toward his J.D. at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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The Morning Economic Report
9:02 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Global Optimism - 10/23/14

Over the course of roughly the past two hundred years, millions of people have come to America in the hopes of building better, safer lives.  But something remarkable seems to have happened in recent decades – people in many developing nations are now more optimistic than the people of the United States. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:15 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Minimum Wage in Local Government - 10/22/14

The lack of significant wage growth in recent years is prompting more state and local governments to take matters into their own hands by raising minimum wages.  There is a federal minimum wage, of course, but Congress is not presently poised to consent to an increase in this $7 dollar 25 cent minimum wage.  So mayors and governors are taking matters into their own hands. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:08 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Unemployment and Wage Increases - 10/21/14

Economists refer to it as a puzzle – why are wages not rising faster given recent declines in unemployment.  Hourly wages in the U.S. private sector actually fell by a penny in September and they’ve expanded at only a 2% rate over the past year.  Some economists believe that official unemployment rate measures do not accurately capture how much slack in the labor force. 

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The Morning Economic Report
8:26 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Alaska's Economy - 10/20/14

Many of the most rapidly expanding state economies are those that are rich in natural resources.  Look at a list of the states with the lowest rates of unemployment, and it will include North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Colorado and several other states that produce oil, natural gas, and/or other natural resource-derived products.  Given that, one might think that Alaska’s economy would be booming.  It’s not.

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The Morning Economic Report
9:07 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Declining National Debt - 10/17/14

There are many of us who fret about the nation’s financial future.  We are right to be concerned.  The accumulated national debt is racing toward the $18 trillion mark and there are unfunded liabilities beyond that, including future Social Security and Medicare expenditures. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:01 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Corporate Tax Avoidance - 10/16/14

Some recent statistics emerging from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers indicate just how serious the issue of corporate tax avoidance has become.  According to statistics quoted in the New York Times and elsewhere, American-controlled corporate profits in the British Virgin Islands equal 1009 percent of the islands’ gross domestic product, while in the Cayman Islands, they exceed 1400 percent.  The chances that U.S. corporations are generating that level of profitability from these locations is approximately zero, and yet the tax impacts are significant. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:09 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Pressure on Basic Research Funding - 10/15/14

With the federal government’s accumulated debt mounting each year and with entitlement spending poised to rise due to the ongoing aging of America, support for basic research has been under pressure in America.  Consequently, it’s that much more important that each dollar spent in support of basic research, including medical research, be spent productively. 

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The Morning Economic Report
9:00 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Household Deleveraging - 10/14/14

The typical American household has been busily deleveraging since the onset of the recession.  According to the federal government’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances, the share of families owing money in some form declined from 77% in 2007 to 74.5% in 2013, the lowest proportion since 1998.  According to Moody’s Analytics, last year, just 43 percent of families carried mortgages, a smaller share than in any year since 1995.  Consumers have also continued to reduce their demand for borrowing on their credit cards. 

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The Morning Economic Report
8:24 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Discouraged Workers - 10/13/14

While there are many indications of an improving labor market, including the number of jobs created each month and the relatively low numbers of people suffering job loss each week, some analysts continue to see the glass as half empty.  Take for instance writer Teresa Tritch, who in a recent piece in the New York Times pointed out that the unemployment rate, presently officially measured at 5.9 percent, would be 9.6 percent if it included millions of jobless people who would be looking for work if the job market were perceived to be stronger.  In other words, the official unemployment rate measure fails to consider discouraged workers.

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The Morning Economic Report
8:40 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Hiring Remains Strong - 10/10/14

A week ago, the U.S Labor Department indicated that hiring remains strong in America.   Coming into last week’s data release, the median forecast of 100 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected that the nation added 215,000 in September, but the Labor Department estimates the actual number at 248,000.  Moreover, estimates for two prior months were revised upward.   Even more surprising was the decline in unemployment.  Economists expected unemployment to stay at 6.1 percent in September.  Instead, it fell to 5.9 percent, the first time in 6 years that America’s unemployment rate fell below 6 percent. 

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