Panel examines current state of economy

Attendants for the “Economic Choices for the Future” lecture on May 3 were confronted with a looming question—

“How do you feel about the U.S. economy over the next 12 to 24 months?”

The crowd responded via electronic polling with overwhelming feelings of “Cautious optimism but some lingering concern”.

Three Southern Oregon University professors interested in the economy led the discussion.

Professors Dan Rubenson and Linda Wilcox-Young and Associate Professor Milan “Kip” Sigetich with the direction of Professor Doug Gentry created this seminar to address feelings revolving around our nation’s current economy.

Sigetich spoke first about efforts of improvement and strategies being created and implemented to help our floundering economy.

“At the moment we are recovering from a recession which technically occurred from December 2007 until June 2009,” said Sigetich.

“But saying we are in economic recovery doesn’t mean everything is great.”

Sigetech addressed the panic regarding inflation by assuring that the Consumer Price Index for the past year as of March was up 2.7 percent.

While there is much disdain about the price of food and gas, Sigetech confirms that they are out of our government’s control.

“Food and gas prices are set in international markets, they are out of control of the federal reserve,” Sigetech said.

Next Rubenson took the podium.

“For those of you who said you were worried about deficits and debts, I’m not about to make you feel better.”

Rubensen informed the audience of the role played by taxes in our national economy and deficit.

“Over a couple years government spending is going to have to increase due to baby boomers getting older,” said Rubensen.

Rubensen also talked about tax breaks to the rich, and the struggle of balancing budgets in a time of recession.

Lastly, Professor Wilcox-Young spoke about the state’s financial “short comings” and the blame placed on public sector workers.

“People are looking for a correlation between states with public sector unions and the situation of state budgets,” Wilcox-Young said.

“If state debt is a problem it has nothing to do with operating budgets—it has to do with bonds—so you can’t pin it on workers.”




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