The Morning Economic Report | WYPR

The Morning Economic Report

Monday-Friday at 7:33 am

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.

As indicated by writer Nick Timiraos, Puerto Rico has suffered a dive in population that is steeper and more financially disastrous than in any U.S. state since the end of World War II.  Over the past ten years, an exodus of workers, retirees and families as helped to shrink Puerto Rico’s population by more than nine percent to less than three point five million. 

Over the years, many of us have poked fun at the large numbers of people in their twenties and thirties still living with their parents.  While some attribute this to delayed maturation, at the heart of the issue is basic economics.  According to an analysis of U.S. Census data released by Apartment List, a rental listing website, inflation adjusted apartment rents have expanded by sixty four percent since nineteen sixty. 

Economists remain fixated on the enormous gaps in income and wealth that have been forged over time.  Compounding the seriousness of the issue are circumstances under which the lower one’s income, the more one pays for a particular service – take auto insurance as an example. 

A narrative indicating that the top one percent of Americans are doing well, but everyone else is struggling has developed over the course of time.  However, recent data suggest that the situation is not quite so stark. 

Many Americans fret about a real and/or perceived lack of infrastructure investment, which translates into modest broadband speeds, crumbling roads, and precarious bridges.  It turns out that America is not alone. 

While the U.S. labor force participation rate continues to hover near a four decade low, those who are in the labor force tend to work hard – so hard that they end up leaving many vacation days unused.  More than half of all U.S. workers left some vacation time unused last year.  That ended up costing the U.S. economy more than two hundred and twenty billion dollars in spending on restaurants, hotels and travel. 

While there has been a considerable amount of gloom regarding the U.S. economy lately, some groups are upbeat about their economic prospects.  Take Hispanics for instance – surveys by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center indicate that eight one percent of Hispanics say they expect their personal finances to improve over the next year. 

It’s summer, and that means that it’s time for weddings.  Perhaps you remember telling friends when you were getting married, with the most cynical of them reminding you that in America about half of all marriages end in divorce.  Perhaps you responded by telling them that’s false. 

For a number of years, economists have wondered why all the technical wizardry entering our lives appears to have such little impact on economic growth.  As indicated by the New York Times, the issue resurfaced recently when the government reported both disappointing economic growth and continuing stagnation in productivity. 

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. 

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