Story by: L. Wylie Shepard
The University of Utah and the Hinckley Institute of Politics welcomed Floyd Norris as part of the fifteenth annual Siciliano Forum, which confronted American’s concerns in a series of events called “Considerations on the Status of the American Society.”
As the Chief Financial Correspondent of The New York Times for over 10 years, Norris caught the attention of many University of Utah students and faculty on Wednesday, Oct. 26, with his presentation, “What’s Wrong with the American Economy?”
Norris centralized his speech around the shortage of government support during the current economic crisis while utilizing humor to painlessly discuss a comprehensive range of ongoing economic uncertainties. Norris holds an esteemed and credible presence in the business journalism field, prompting a remarkably large turnout at the event.
During his presentation, Norris expressed his belief that there are actions the United States government can and should take to improve its economy. He said that many Americans have suffered and are continuing to suffer because the U.S. government did not know how to handle economic fallout correctly. He also placed blame on the central bankers, stating that they were unaware that their role is to provide the nation with financial security while promoting the consistent growth and functionality of the nations economy. Norris connected this suffering to the exponentially growing lack of trust that Americans have in their nations leaders.
In a New York Times poll released the morning of October 26, Americans were asked, “how much of the time [they] trust the U.S. government to do what is right.” The choice of “always or most of the time” had hit an all-time low of 10 percent, decreasing from the 2008 national low of 17 percent.
“I never would’ve expected Americans to have so little faith in their government,” said Tyson Phillips, a senior at the University of Utah. “I can’t imagine our economy will improve until that percentage improves as well.”
The use of markets to allocate capital, taxes and the “mess in Europe” were also discussed as key points to understanding the problems with the nations current economic state.
Norris provided ample time for questions from his audience, who were eager to apply his knowledge to their individual financial woes, before concluding his speech.
The event had an apparent impact on many of its viewers. “[Norris] emphasized the importance of receiving financial advice you can trust. I plan on reading his weekly New York Times financial column and continuing to learn from an expert in economics,” Spencer Peters, another Utah senior, said of Norris at the end of his speech.
The Siciliano Forum, held throughout the last week in October, featured presenters who focused on the American government, its economy and the important role of journalism. According to a brochure offered to attendees by the Hinckley Institute, the yearly event was designed to offer “an open, non-biased forum for students, faulty and the citizenry to focus their energies and attentions on the most important, current and long-range public issues facing America today.”