The Morning Economic Report

Monday-Friday at 7:33 am

The Morning Economic Report is on hiatus while Anirban Basu serves on the transition team of Governor-elect  Larry Hogan.

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. 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.

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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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The Morning Economic Report
8:19 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Mortgage Lending to Minority Borrowers - 10/9/14

It’s been several years since the U.S. housing market collapsed, and yet that collapse continues to shape many aspects of economic life.  Take for instance the share of mortgage lending to minority borrowers – according to recently released federal data, the share of lending to minority borrowers fell to at least a 14-year low last year.  Specifically, the share of mortgage lending to African-Americans for home purchases slipped to 4.8 percent in 2013 from 5.1 percent in 2012 according to data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. 

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The Morning Economic Report
8:22 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Household Wealth - 10/8/14

The Federal Reserve recently reported that since the year 2000, household wealth in the U.S. has expanded by $37 trillion, from about $44 trillion to $81 trillion. That represents a massive increase in wealth, and yet, most people aren’t wealthier. 

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The Morning Economic Report
10:55 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Money and Gender - 10/7/14

In recent decades, we have watched as girls have caught up with boys academically and then surpassed them along many dimensions of performance.  But there appears to be at least one category in which boys still outperform girls, and that’s knowledge of money.  As reported in the New York Times, T.Rowe Price’s annual survey of 8 to 14 year olds indicates that 45 percent of boys report feeling very or extremely confident about money compared to about 38 percent of girls. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Rising Cost of College Tuition - 10/6/14

As everyone knows, college costs have been rising for decades, including at the nation’s public colleges, which are attended by roughly 80 percent of undergraduates according to Professor Susan Dynarski at the University of Michigan.  Tuition at public colleges has expended more rapidly than inflation for decades.  From 1988 to 2013, average tuition at 4-year public colleges doubled even after adjusting for inflation. 

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The Morning Economic Report
5:30 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Incentives for Children's Good Behavior - 10/3/14

Do you bribe your children in order to get them to do what you want and what’s good for them?  Many people do.  In a recently released survey conducted by vouchercloud, 55 percent of parents indicated that they gave their children bribes, including allowances and other forms of compensation to make them behave or to reward them for certain tasks or achievements. 

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