On Thursday October 17, Ball State University’s Economics Club migrated south to Indianapolis, making stops at the Statehouse and Liberty Fund along the way. The day was long and started slow with people minding their own business on the 7:30 am bus ride. Upon arrival at the Statehouse, we were asked to clear our pockets of any metal so that we could arrive safely on the other side of the metal detector. This surprisingly speedy process was immediately followed by a tour from the Statehouse tour guide. We learned about the origins of our capital from Vincennes to Corydon and finally to the building at which we arrived. From sitting to walking, the students were guided around the rooms in which the most salient functions of government are carried out.
We first visited the Governor’s office, which was equipped with a full living room, conference room, and reasonably sized office. A striking feature of the gargantuan office was an old school red dial phone on his desk. The phone is only connected to one line, the Governor’s wife’s phone. After the Governor’s office, we made our way into the old safe which used to house all of the money for Indiana’s government. The room has since been converted into a tour attraction and a break room for the office employees.
Our next stop was a visit to the House of Representatives. We were not able to go down to the main floor but we did get to see the beautiful mural and brand new chandelier from the balcony. After a few more jokes from our guide, we found ourselves at the Supreme Court of Indiana. We were even able to get a picture in the courthouse! (see below)
Our last stop was to the Senate House Chamber, where we listened to Jeff Papa talk about what he does at the statehouse as the Senate’s chief of staff and chief legal counsel. We also heard about internship opportunities during his talk. After Jeff spoke, we heard from Jim Landers, who runs the fiscal analysis program at the statehouse. Jim gave us plenty of literature to look at and review for curious students.
After the talks, we all went out to get lunch at Barcelona Tapas, which paraded a buffet with a number of options, including pastas, chicken, soup, curry salad, and much more. We had our fill at the buffet and made our way back to the statehouse to catch the bus. It was time to make a trip to northern Marion county to visit Liberty Fund, a think tank on Libertarian ideology. After a pleasant bus ride to settle our stomachs we were greeted at Liberty Fund by David Hart. David was very gratuitous and led us to the conference room where he began to talk about some of the goals of Liberty Fund. His role was to bring back to life many historical readings on liberal thought, more specifically that of Fredrick Bastiat. Bastiat was one of, if not the most, famous economic journalist of all-time. He denounced protectionism and was a strong free market advocate. For more on Bastiat, go to the link below.
After discussing Bastiat for about an hour, we made our way back to Muncie. We were all very tired from the trip, but we were given much to think about and sent home with plenty to read! Thank you to the hosts at the Statehouse and Liberty Fund! I think everyone had something to take away from the Field Trip, and I personally am very glad that I went.