Category Archives: Blog

Democratic presidential candidates seem oblivious to how taxes, government spending impact private economy

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I watched with interest the Democratic presidential debate this week. Twelve candidates lined the stage at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, to make their case to lead our nation. The debate covered lots of topics, including segments on foreign policy, health care, the middle class, gun control and more. But what really captured my interest was the dialogue concerning tax and expenditure policies. It’s not clear to me that any of the candidates (with the possible exceptions of entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar) understand how taxes and government spending impact the private economy.

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Utah’s growth challenges are piling up. It’s time to start thinking long term.

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt tells a story of being stuck in traffic on I-15 and feeling frustrated. He said to himself, “I thought we fixed this!” Upon further reflection he remembered the I-15 reconstruction during his administration was projected to forestall congestion for about 15 years. Then a news flash hit him … it’s been more than 15 years!

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Uncertainty Creates a Greater Risk of Recession

Originally published in Utah Business.

Uncertainty. It’s something economists think about a lot. And for good reason―economies rise and fall based on the confidence of consumers and producers.

I recently read an economic summary distributed by an investment banking firm that quoted analyst Nancy A. Bush. She said: “The watchword at present is “uncertainty”–uncertainty about trade, uncertainty about the strength of economic growth, uncertainty about the start date of the next recession, and political uncertainty galore.”

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Rising debt is the biggest problem facing America

Originally published in the Deseret News.

There is a memorable line in Ernest Hemingway’s book “The Sun Also Rises,” where a character says. “How did you go bankrupt?” The second person replies, “Two ways, gradually, then suddenly.”

The response provides potent imagery for America’s debt problem. Each day we borrow more, and our debt rises. We are doing fine now — low inflation, low interest rates and full employment. But there’s more to the story. Bad things happen gradually before they happen suddenly.

This, in a nutshell, is America’s borrowing problem.

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Utah has more millennials than any other state

Originally published in Utah Business.

Utah’s millennial population represents approximately 23 percent of the state (726,000 people). Roughly one in every four Utahns is a millennial―a  higher percentage than in any other state. As a cohort, Utah’s millennial population is 20 percent larger than the state’s Gen-X population and 39 percent larger than the state’s baby boomer population. Which begs the question: How does Utah’s large millennial population impact Utah?

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Salt Lake City belongs to all Utahns

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Next week Salt Lake City voters will select their final two candidates for mayor. Meanwhile, the 94% of Utahns who live outside the capital city and who don’t have a vote will watch as finalists emerge. Why should all Utahns care about this choice?

I have a simple answer: Salt Lake City belongs to all Utahns.

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Parade for change

Originally published in Utah Business.

Bake the cake. Light the candles. The US celebrates 10 years of economic expansion this summer, making it the longest expansion on record, boding good news for our nation and state. There’s just one problem… we haven’t made much progress on the critical issues important to our long-term economy and its prosperity, leaving many to wonder how can we use this time of plenty to make needed reforms.

I’m fond of the saying, “The best time to fix the roof is before it starts raining.” During good economic times, it’s smart to address difficult issues such as entitlement reform, immigration policy, and infrastructure investment. But where to start?

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After all these years, Utah is still the right place

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I love July in Utah because of the twin holidays of nationhood and statehood. We celebrate our independence as a country and our pioneering history as a state. The long summer days and two large parades provide a chance to reflect upon what it means to be an American and a Utahn.

I’m a fifth-generation American and Utahn. My great-great-grandfather — Howard Egan — emigrated from Tullamore, Ireland to Canada, became an orphan at age 13, found work in Salem, Massachusetts as a rope maker, converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made the long trek West to help establish the Salt Lake Valley and later planned and rode in the Pony Express.

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Forming a more perfect union

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I saw “Hamilton” last week, the Broadway musical that chronicles the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The acclaimed show, with its hip-hop beat and powerful storyline, celebrates America’s founding, while featuring challenging questions about race, immigration, privilege and human frailty. The play delivers cultural criticism with fun, style and even grace. The Fourth of July offers a great time to ponder America’s founding and our “lived experience” as we seek a more perfect union.

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How to love your enemies

Originally published in Utah Business.

During a recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Democratic pollster Fred Yang summarized the modern political landscape by saying: “You get your reality from what channel you watch.”

His statement does not surprise me. If you watch Fox News, you celebrate our current president. If you watch CNN or MSNBC, you malign our current president. We are, in a very real way, what we watch.

In his new book, Love Your Enemies, Arthur C. Brooks, the former president at the American Enterprise Institute, provides an analysis of this type of “ideological siloing.” According to his writings, he says that not only do we stop interacting with people who hold opposing views but we hold contempt for them. He wants to start a countercultural movement to subvert the prevailing culture of contempt and open up our hearts to love more.  

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