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.

A recent article written by Greg Ip discusses one of the great mysteries of the recovery – why have low interest rates done so little to lift business investment in America?  After all, this is supposed to be one of the ways that monetary policy works.  Faced with lower borrowing costs, firms are more likely to purchase equipment to increase market reach and revenues. 

It is said that no good deed goes unpunished.  The federal government is likely to agree, at least with respect to some of its efforts to prepare Americans for the knowledge economy.  Over the past fifteen years, the U.S. government has made a trillion dollar investment to improve the nation’s workforce, productivity and economy by investing in higher education. 

Though there has been a considerable volume of discussion suggesting that many Americans are interested in downsizing their residences, recently released Census data indicate that there are plenty of Americans looking for more space.  The median size of a new single family home was just short of twenty five hundred square feet last year. 

It’s a Friday in June, and that means that many people are getting set to hit the road for the weekend.  As indicated by writer Clifford Krauss, the great American road trip is back, in part because of cheaper gasoline prices.  Gasoline this driving season is cheaper than it has been for eleven years according to AAA. 

Many economists have been working diligently to allay the fears of people unnerved by the most recent employment report, which indicated that the nation added just thirty eight thousand net new jobs.  For instance, economists have been pointing out that other data remain more upbeat, and though the outlook is not especially rosy, it’s not terrible either. 

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation added just thirty eight thousand jobs in May according to their establishment survey, economists and others were stunned.  That was the worst monthly performance in more than five years. 

One of the questions that employers have asked for centuries is how to get employees to work harder without paying them more money.  According to research conducted by three economists that is published on the economics commentary website VoxEU, the answer is to give them meaningful work. 

Many policymakers who support increases in the minimum wage point out that such policy will help solve the nation’s housing affordability crisis.  However, according to a recently released report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, even in cities that have raised their hourly minimum wage, the amounts earned continue to fall well short of what is required to afford an apartment. 

There are many recent college graduates running around.  Undoubtedly, some are still wondering what they should do and where they should go.  In partnership with LinkedIn, Trulia compiled its new Graduate Opportunity Index.  The index ranks forty of America’s strongest jobs markets based on what they have to offer recent college graduates. 

There are of course many Americans who are weighted down by the enormity of their student loans, but as indicated by recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, many are not.  Three quarters of borrowers pay no more than four hundred dollars a month in student debt bills.