I’ve been asked (by two readers) to write about two questions. This flood of interest is overwhelming. Thus, with much humility, I offer the following opinions:

On teacher’s pay: Michael Hicks at Ball State has offered two columns on the subject. He makes the statistical argument well about Indiana’s delinquency regarding the pay of teachers.

Our compensation for teachers is below the market rate. This likely, but not necessarily, gives us teachers who are below standard quality. Are the teachers’ union and the local school boards ready to dismiss or retrain teachers who do not perform up to the standards to which we aspire?

Perhaps, we don’t need higher pay for teachers. Rather, do we need pay for more teachers with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of today’s students? Both more pay and more teachers suggests higher taxes, even for businesses.

Which brings us to our teacher colleges. Are they admitting sub-par students and turning out sub-par graduates? Likewise, are Indiana voters and legislators willing to upgrade the quality of our school boards and do battle with all the organizations mentioned thus far?

I see no evidence Hoosiers are ready to improve our schools. Why aren’t the university presidents out in front on this effort? Must Mitch Daniels do everything alone?

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As for the Electoral College, the “problem” can be resolved without a Constitutional amendment. Maine and Nebraska have shown us the way.

In those two states, two electors go to the party that wins the statewide vote, just as today. Each remaining elector goes to the party winning each congressional seat.

In Indiana, we had eleven electoral votes in 2020. Under the current winner-take-all rule, all eleven electoral votes went to the winner of Indiana’s Presidential vote, Mr. Trump.

If the Maine/Nebraska system had been operative, two electoral seats would go automatically to the Republicans. But with Democrats winning two congressional races, they would get two electoral votes; Republicans would get seven electors based on their seven congressional wins. In total, the score would have been R 9, D 2.

By my count, 27 states have split delegations to the House of Representatives. In California, instead of all 55 electoral votes going to Biden, under the Maine/Nebraska system, Biden 44, Trump 11. In Texas it would have been R 22, D13 instead of R 35, D 0.

With the Maine/Nebraska model in place, the 2020 electoral count would have been D 275, R 263 instead of D 306, R 232. The current system gave Biden 57% of electors; the proposed system would reduce that to 51%, matching the popular vote.

With these changes, candidates and their parties would pay more attention to congressional districts. We might increase competition as each party has reason to turnout their voters, winning districts and improving their statewide vote.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His column appears in Indiana newspapers, and his views can be followed his podcast.

© 2021 Morton J. Marcus

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