‘We have the exact wrong fiscal policy’: Paul Ryan criticizes inflation response

Paul Ryan knew it was time to move on after 20 years in the House of Representatives. Two terms as the youngest speaker of the House since 1869 was enough for Ryan, who did not seek re-election in 2019.

“My last two terms were Speaker of the House, which is such a consuming job that it really took me away from my family so much more than I really wanted to be away,” Ryan said in an interview with The Observer. “I had three kids in or entering high school at the time, and I knew if I only saw my kids on Sundays, I just wasn’t going to have the kind of relationship I needed or wanted.”

Now, Ryan guest lectures at Notre Dame and serves on the board for the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO). Teaching at Notre Dame was appealing for Ryan after he left Capitol Hill, having grown up a Notre Dame fan in an Irish Catholic household that saw two of his brothers attend the University.

“I’ve been coming to games here since I was 10 years old,” he said.

In addition to teaching at Notre Dame, Ryan currently does additional policy work for the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank. But after 20 years in public sector economics, Ryan made sure to branch out and learn how businesses “actually work and grow.” He is now a partner at Solamere Capital, a private equity firm, and also serves as vice chairman of Teneo, a CEO advisory firm. Upon his retirement from Congress, he launched an anti-poverty foundation in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.

“In Congress, I always thought it was important to do multiple things in your life,” Ryan said of his portfolio of enterprises.

Three years after he left Congress, Ryan said he does not miss the “performance politics” that are growing increasingly prominent. Instead of working to formulate and negotiate actual policy solutions, politicians today choose to “entertain” in the culture war in an attempt to get famous fast, he said.

“I agree with conservatives on the culture war, but I’m not a culture warrior. I don’t like inflaming [the] culture war because it just polarizes,” he said. “I do think you should take a stand against ridiculous, woke extremes, but I don’t think it’s great to try to politically profit off of these things, because all you end up doing is polarizing the country.”

There are still policymakers in Congress who care about making good policy, he said, but the culture war “entertainment artists” overshadow them. If he were in office right now, he said his number one priority would be fighting inflation.

Ryan said the economy is on the cusp of a recession. The federal government has been fueling inflation by spending, threatening businesses with higher taxes and raising taxes on businesses, he said.

“We have the exact wrong fiscal policy right now. This thing is not the Inflation Reduction Act, it’s sort of the opposite,” Ryan said of the package signed into law in August.

Although he said the Federal Reserve responded to the pandemic well, they were too late to respond to inflation, he added.

“They’re playing catch up. They were late. They should have been stopping the asset purchases earlier. Money supply was too high too fast for too long,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he does not know when the economy will start to significantly improve. The Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates to about 4 or 4.25% and hold them there, he predicted. And with the war in Ukraine triggering an energy crisis in Europe and China experiencing economic struggles, Ryan expects a global recession to occur down the road.

While President Joe Biden currently mulls running for re-election in 2024, Ryan said Biden “missed the moment of being a centrist” during his term and has instead inflamed the polarization between the two parties. He explained that many Republican-leaning suburban voters voted for Biden because they disliked former President Donald Trump and expected Biden to govern from the center-left.

By catering to the progressive left, Biden passed on an opportunity to work across the aisle to put together deals, he said. As a result, populism has become more pronounced in U.S. politics, he added, and polarization is preventing major progress from occuring.

“Nothing is getting done that is substantial. No big problems are getting solved, and they just are trying to stick to their wish list of progressive things,” Ryan said, specifically referencing immigration and inflation.

The Republican party has also seen its “center of gravity” shift farther toward the extreme as well, he said.

“We have the same problem in our party, so I understand the pressure. I know very well,” he said. “But [Biden] succumbed to it.”

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Take the names off the jerseys: Notre Dame is not a serious football program

Notre Dame Stadium is often called a “cathedral” of college football.

This is true, if you’re talking about the noise level.

If there is anything the past two weeks have revealed, it’s that Notre Dame does not have a serious football program. And no, Marcus Freeman is not to blame. Fault lines such as a lethargic stadium environment and a diminishing schedule date back way past the beginning of the Marcus Freeman era, but were largely masked by Brian Kelly’s genius. These faults quickly caused earthquakes once Freeman became coach and Notre Dame decided the football program was better off acting as reality TV stars instead of football players.

Notre Dame does not need to pretend they’re in “The Hangover” or help Peyton Manning produce his “Ghostbusters” spin-off segment to provide the entertainment fans desire. Marcus Freeman has already set himself up for an Emmy-winning drama this season by losing. Notre Dame stadium is Vatican West. The head coach position of Notre Dame is a pressure cooker unlike anything else in college football. You’re expected to win with “less”. The drama writes itself.

Some may be disappointed that the window of Notre Dame as an annual College Football Playoff contender closed. However, the excitement of bracing for a pummeling from Alabama or Clemson has quickly been replaced by the excitement of wondering if the Irish will beat Cal or whether or not Drew Pyne will throw it directly to an opposing linebacker. College football is entertainment, and Notre Dame football just got a whole lot more entertaining.

Again, the embarrassment Notre Dame experienced last week is not primarily Freeman’s fault. Sure, he could have coached better, but there’s no avoiding the learning curve a first-time head coach at Notre Dame experiences. Let’s just hope he learns more than previous first-timers here.

The unserious program that propped Freeman up on a mile-high cloud just so he could fall right through it is what’s at fault here. A serious program doesn’t play a hype video for a coach that’s 0-2 during the first quarter. A serious program doesn’t hold a “Victory March” pep rally while the team heads to the stadium to lose to a Sun Belt team. A serious program doesn’t let a massive herd of Marshall fans take up an entire lower bowl section and be louder than the home fans. A serious playoff contender doesn’t schedule an FCS opponent when it doesn’t have to play in a conference championship.

If Notre Dame were a serious program, it would make an effort to make the stadium environment intimidating. Put the bands back on the sideline during the game. Bring back the natural grass field. And, for the love of God, stop playing “Let Me Clear my Throat” before the fourth quarter. It’s unoriginal and nobody jumps. Still.

And just as Notre Dame stadium is losing its identity, the team also faces an identity crisis. On Saturday, the team will wear green jerseys with names on the back. The Irish have taken pride in the team-first symbolism of uniforms without names since the Lou Holtz days. Now here we are with names on the backs of the jerseys for a game against Cal that feels like a toss-up. We can only assume Cal was chosen for the green jersey game because the program decided the Golden Bears lacked the talent for a “Bush Push”-esque disaster. Well, maybe that was a miscalculation. Notre Dame has a swagger that it so far has not come close to living up to.

This Irish team talks a big game and then looks lost on the field. Sure, it’s great that assistant coaches take responsibility during press conferences. Linebacker and captain Bo Bauer’s proclaimed willingness to die for his team is inspiring. It’s great that the video of the team celebrating Freeman’s promotion to head coach exists. But the hype is over. Stop talking and buckle down.

It’s time to get serious.

Ohio State did not care about Notre Dame’s feel-good offseason. Heck (and with all due respect to the thriving Sun Belt), Marshall didn’t either. 

Since Marcus Freeman became head coach, Notre Dame has spent a ton of time worrying about every detail that doesn’t have to do with their actual play. Golden throne photoshoot backdrops don’t teach you how to tackle. Green jerseys don’t make your offensive line open up the run game. Opening up more players and staff to the media doesn’t cause your defense to force turnovers. Jersey reveals don’t strengthen ball security. Pregame Mass doesn’t seem to improve quarterback play.

Notre Dame needs to go back to the basics. They need to stop worrying about how they can get a seat at the big boy table with Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State and instead make sure they don’t fall out of their chair at the kids’ table.

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The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


Former Irish quarterback seeks to help athletes navigate NIL space

In 2018, Arike Ogunbowale hit back-to-back game-winning buzzer beaters in the national semifinal and championship to earn the Notre Dame women’s basketball team its first national title since 2001.

The historic feat further propelled Ogunbowale to stardom, even leading to an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars.” Despite the fame that arose from her burgeoning career, she could not profit off her name, image and likeness (NIL) while in college, former Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush said.

“Her fame just kind of exploded from that point on, and she obviously couldn’t be compensated for it at the time,” Wimbush, who was a classmate of Ogunbowale said. “It kind of crossed my mind that this was something that needed to change.”

Soon after Wimbush completed his college football career at the University of Central Florida, momentum started to shift toward allowing college student-athletes to receive NIL opportunities. As a result, Wimbush teamed up with fellow Notre Dame alumnus Ayden Syal and they created MOGL in 2020, an online marketplace that can easily connect athletes with brand deals.

“The number one largest problem is that athletes don’t have the time or the resources to source these deals and brands need a seamless and easy way to source the talent,” Syal said. “So, we’re solving that problem, while also ensuring that athletes are navigating the space in an educated way.”

MOGL currently works with over 5,000 athletes and 1,400 brands, Syal, the company’s CEO, said. Athletes on the MOGL platform are able to connect with both nationally recognized and local brands.

As a former student-athlete, Wimbush knows firsthand the reach student-athletes have in their communities, even though he was never able to profit off his NIL during his college career. He estimated that he would have made around $100,000 each year he was quarterback.

“It was always in the back of your head that you couldn’t make money,” Wimbush said.

Student-athletes have proven to be effective advertisers for all sorts of brands, Syal said. Unlike traditional influencers with national or international followings, college athletes are well-known within their campus community and alumni base and thus can better connect with potential customers, he explained.

“At the end of the day, people actually know these student-athletes. They’re in class with them, they can resonate with them,” Syal said. “So, what we’ve found is it really has provided an incredible amount of value to these brands directly.”

While football players draw some of the most high-profile marketing deals, Syal said MOGL facilitates deals for athletes in all sports.

“Over 60% of the deals that we’ve done have been in non-revenue-generating sports,” he said. “We’ve really confirmed the thesis that all athletes provide value in this space.”

MOGL also facilitates deals for Division II and III and junior college athletes. Syal said student-athletes outside Division I often experience success in the NIL marketplace because they have to be more proactive to connect with brands. Amherst College wide receiver Jack Betts has become commonly known as a leader in the NIL space and uses MOGL for a large portion of his deals, Syal said.

One of the advantages of MOGL’s platform is it is fully compliant and automatically discloses all brand deals to the student-athlete’s university or college, Syal said. All brands are vetted to ensure they are compliant with state laws and university protocols before MOGL works with them.

Using MOGL is free for student-athletes. MOGL primarily generates revenue by charging a fee for the company that strikes a deal with the athlete. Wimbush said MOGL acquires about 175 student-athletes a week. One of the ways the company grows is through a referral program, Syal said.

“We have a pretty robust referral system with athletes who are on their campuses, where they get paid $5 for each athlete that they bring to the platform,” he said.

During the start-up’s first few years, the Notre Dame network has played a large role in financing and developing MOGL, Syal said. Groups that have helped back MOGL include Irish Angels and the IDEA Center.

As NIL continues to grow, Syal said MOGL hopes to educate student-athletes as they navigate the wide-open marketplace. One concerning trend Syal has noticed is athletes often rush into deals without considering their long-term opportunities.

“What we’ve seen is that athletes have been really harmed by long term exclusivity clauses that really inhibit their ability to monetize their NIL in an effective way long term in favor of a short-term opportunity,” he said.

Additionally, athletes tend to sign exclusive deals with agents who take large portions of their revenue from marketing deals, when they could source the deal themselves, Syal added. The NIL market is new and constantly evolving, Wimbush said, making it difficult to project into the future.

“I do think it’s gonna continue to evolve. As legislation comes about there’s more regulations, there’s more guardrails,” he said. “It could be a good or bad thing.”

Wimbush said although the future of the current wide open NIL world is uncertain, he said MOGL has and will continue to allow student-athletes to take advantage of the ever-evolving market in a safe manner.

“We’ve provided a very seamless and a holistic solution for all athletes to take advantage of their NIL in a reliable and a compliant manner,” he said. “We’re doing it the way that we think is right, and it’s going to provide value for athletes, universities, and all the rest of the stakeholders in the NIL space.”

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Fr. Edward ‘Monk’ Malloy looks back on 50 years of coeducation

Former University President Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy remembers a time when Notre Dame used to bus in women from Catholic women’s colleges in the Chicagoland area to help create a more balanced social scene. A bus would be welcomed onto campus by male students who knew none of the women. After the awkward introduction, the students would go to a dance, Malloy recalled.

“That was not what you would call a prime opportunity for meeting people,” he said.

Malloy, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1963 before entering the seminary and eventually returning to the University as faculty in 1974, has witnessed almost all 50 years of coeducation at the University.

Sixty-three years ago, he experienced life as a basketball player at an all-male Notre Dame. Forty-eight years ago, he started teaching theology at a Notre Dame that had admitted its third undergraduate female class. Thirty-five years ago, he began his tenure as University president, during which he oversaw the University becoming about evenly split between male and female students. Three months ago, he delivered the homily at the “Golden is Thy Fame” Mass honoring the 50 years of coeducation at Notre Dame.

During Malloy’s time as a student, the presence of Saint Mary’s created a de facto coeducational scene. However, with typical enrollment at Saint Mary’s hovering around 1,400 to 1,600 students, this was not an adequate alternative to coeducation for Malloy.

 “There weren’t enough women,” he said. “But I mean, it was the best we could do at the time. We didn’t even know any better.”

In 1969, Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame began talks to potentially merge the two schools. The deal eventually fell through in 1971. Malloy said he believes Notre Dame’s transition to coeducation was a result of the merger failing.

“My opinion is that both schools do well, despite the fact they didn’t come together,” Malloy, who was on the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees for nine years, said.

When Notre Dame admitted its first undergraduate female class a year later in 1972, 325 women enrolled. The vast difference between male students and female students presented its fair share of social and administrative challenges, Malloy said. With single-sex housing, he said there was no choice but to gradually increase the number of women and reduce the number of men.

Whenever a men’s dorm was switched to a women’s dorm, the men would often protest. These protests were usually somewhat humorous, Malloy remembers, because the men knew they were not changing the administration’s mind.

Beyond the difficulty of pushing the male students out of the dorms in which they had developed traditions and a sense of loyalty, Malloy said classes often only had one female student.

 “The classic wrong thing to ask one woman in a big class is ‘what do women think about this,’” he said.

Malloy said his female students never let the challenge hinder them from participating.

“They used to say that if a class was less than 50 percent women, they wouldn’t talk much. I never saw that, never,” he said. “Right from the time I started teaching, women were highly participative.”

The University also struggled to find female faculty members in some disciplines, who administrators hoped would help the female students navigate college.

Having women faculty members, especially in student affairs, was important so new female students could connect with adults on campus, Malloy explained. Incorporating women into all the colleges across the University proved difficult, Malloy said.

“That’s a recognition that as we move to be more coeducational, we were in a sense catching up with the world because they were way ahead of us,” he said.

As the University began to hire more female faculty and enroll more female students, women entered more prominent roles on campus. The amount of female deans and administrators and vice presidents grew. During Malloy’s time as president from 1987 to 2005, the male-to-female student ratio became about even. Visible student groups like the band and the Junior Parents’ Weekend planning committee followed.

Malloy credits the amount of Notre Dame women who have gone on to prominent roles in the public sphere after college with improving the reputation of the University.

“We’ve had women government leaders. We’ve had All-American athletes and national champions. We’ve had people go on to successful careers in almost every area you can think of,” he said. “So it isn’t just filling holes or trying to just be diverse in census categories. It’s also the people that we’ve attracted have been quite good at what they do.”

During his homily at the “Golden is Thy Fame” Mass, three of the six Notre Dame women Malloy highlighted for representing the University well were athletes. Two of the women he included were national champion and All-American basketball player Ruth Riley and her teammate and fellow All-American Niele Ivey, who now serves as the head coach of the women’s basketball team

“They got a lot of publicity, they represented Notre Dame very effectively,” Malloy said.

The final athlete Malloy highlighted was Haley Scott DeMaria. DeMaria was a member of the 1992 swim team, which suffered a tragic accident when the team bus flipped over during a snowstorm while returning from a meet at Northwestern. DeMaria survived but was paralyzed from the waist down.

Malloy credits his predecessor, Fr. Ted Hesburgh, who launched the transition to coeducation, for putting Notre Dame in the position where women such as Ivey, Riley and DeMaria could come and launch their careers and legacies.

“I think that Notre Dame is now able to educate women and men at the greatest Catholic university in the world,” he said. “I think that’s good for Notre Dame and it’s good for those who come here to study.”


Notre Dame partnership aims to address chip shortage

As the global semiconductor shortage continues to plague key industries, companies, governments and other organizations are searching for ways to alleviate it. 

In early August, President Joe Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, with the hope of boosting domestic semiconductor production. In January, Intel announced plans for two new semiconductor factories in Ohio. And earlier this month, Notre Dame partnered with 11 midwestern universities to help bolster semiconductor research and production in the U.S.

Semiconductors, commonly referred to as chips, are most commonly silicon pieces and essential components of items ranging from smartphones and cars to computers and medical diagnostic equipment, according to electrical engineering professor Alan Seabaugh.

“It’s just everywhere you turn,” Seabaugh said.

After Intel announced its plans to build a chip plant in Ohio, Ohio State University organized a meeting with the 12 universities that now form the partnership, Seabaugh said. 

Universities included in the partnership include the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Purdue University and the University of Cincinnati. 

Seabaugh said the partnership will allow for collaboration on research and provide research and employment opportunities to students in the region, as the universities hope to address the national issue.

“When we run research groups for various topics, we might collaborate with people from all over the country, but why not collaborate more in the region?” Seabaugh said.

The U.S. accounts for just 12% of the chips produced in the world; China and Taiwan make up a large majority of the remainder.

“It’s really kind of tragic that we’ve let [U.S. chip production] get that low, because you can see from a point-of-view of keeping supply chains open, something can happen somewhere in the world and then, all of the sudden, people can’t sell their cars or complete some product that they have,” Seabaugh said.

While Seabaugh expressed alarm at the low percentage of chips produced in the U.S., business analytics professor and supply chain expert Kaitlin Wowak said there are some benefits to outsourcing a large swath of chips.

Wowak said it is unrealistic to expect the U.S. to catch up to Taiwan and China in chip production because of their massive manufacturing capacity. Additionally, she said a diverse supply base helps diversify risk in the event of occurrences, such as natural disasters, that can hinder production.

At the beginning of the pandemic, companies stopped ordering chips because of the uncertainty of their demand, Wowak said. In turn, suppliers cut their chip production. However, the pandemic increased demand for products such as laptops because of the increased use of apps like Zoom for meetings, which brought the demand for chips back up.

For this reason, manufacturers experienced a backlog of their products because they had to place orders for the chips. This backlog has continued and does not appear to have an end in sight, Wowak said.

“People would like to think that the chip shortage is hopefully going to be over soon,” Wowak said. “I’ve seen projections that it could go into 2023-2024, depending on the demand for certain items.”

Wowak said the chip shortage is obviously reflected in the car industry, which is experiencing soaring prices.

With the partnership among the universities, Seabaugh said he hopes the U.S, and especially the Midwest, can mobilize around increasing domestic production of semiconductors and begin to remedy the shortage. He expects the new Intel plant in Ohio to eventually result in the creation of around 40,000 jobs as semiconductor companies look to expand to the Midwest.

“We can really talk about having this become sort of the Silicon Valley in the ‘Silicon Heartland,’” Seabaugh said. “This is the new, new space for students to really consider having a career and raising a family.”

Seabaugh said the semiconductor industry is not only important and exciting, but also presents opportunities for students and employees in all sorts of fields.

“It’s not just electrical engineers, and not just computer scientists, but mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, physicists, chemists,” he said. “All these people qualify, but they don’t probably know about this kind of career and what it would be like to work in this space.”

Seabaugh teaches a course called “Integrated Circuit Fabrication,” in which students build a small silicon chip which plays the University fight song. The course was recently opened up to students outside of the electrical engineering program, with the goal of exposing as many students as possible to careers in the industry.

“We want to cooperate to support this onshoring of semiconductor manufacturing, which is a problem needing a solution,” he said.

Ryan Peters

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Notre Dame sees increase in selectivity for class of 2026

About 2,053 first-years will arrive on campus this weekend and begin their time at Notre Dame. The class of 2026 followed recent trends, with applications, selectivity and racial diversity all increasing.

The incoming first-years were the first class to be able to have in-person tours and information classes since the pandemic. Director of undergraduate admissions Christy Pratt said this change led to an “explosion of interest” in information sessions and tours, which coincided with another record number of applications.

With 26,508 students applying in 2022 — almost 3,000 more than in 2021 — the acceptance rate continued to fall and the yield rate stayed high. According to new vice president for undergraduate admission Micki Kidder, 3,412 were admitted for an acceptance rate of 12.9% and about 2,050 enrolled for a yield rate of around 60%.

“The students and families were definitely hungry to come back to Notre Dame and to be able to talk to our staff,” Pratt said.

Citing a recent report that 1.3 million students have disappeared from American colleges and universities since the start of the pandemic, Kidder said it is impressive that Notre Dame continues to see increases in applications.

Notre Dame is in its third year of test-optional applications. Kidder said 50% of applicants provided test scores. Sixty-seven percent of admitted students in the class of 2026 had a test score reviewed, according to admissions data obtained by The Observer.

Fifty states and 95 countries are represented in the class of 2026, according to the admissions website. The University also reported 159 members of the incoming class are international students, the highest number ever. 

While domestic students were able to come to campus for information sessions, travel restrictions hindered international students’ ability to come to campus and forced most of their recruitment to take place virtually.

“So I think that that speaks so much to this shared mission in service to something greater than ourselves that young leaders from all across the country and beyond are matriculating here for an excellent undergraduate education,” Kidder said.

The University will see an influx of 192 transfer students, with 95 of those coming from the Gateway program, in which students spend their first year at Holy Cross. Kidder said 95 is a much higher number than usual for the Gateway program.

Kidder said 50% of the freshmen class has received some form of need-based aid. Additionally, 19% of the class are either first-generation college students or on a Pell grant and 19% of freshmen are legacy students, meaning one of their parents attended the University.

Forty percent of the class of 2026 are U.S. students of color or international students, according to Kidder, marking consecutive years of increased ethnic diversity

“[We’re] just really, really excited to welcome in a very inclusive way, the most diverse class that we’ve seen here at Notre Dame,” Kidder said.

As the incoming freshmen acclimate to campus, Pratt said it is important to note that these are students who did not have a typical high school experience.

“These are also students that are similar to all of our other students in that they are going to engage in our communities and be excited to be here and be that force for good,” Pratt said.

Kidder added that she expects the first-year class to engage in the community in a lively manner.

“While they come in as this extraordinarily inclusive class, they’re contributing to the mission-centric conversation in a very lively, rigorous, empathetic, courageous manner, and we could not be more excited to see what they do in conjunction with the entire student body, so we’re thrilled to welcome them this week,” she said.

A version of this story was published in our Aug. 19 issue.

Ryan Peters

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