Story By Montana Peterson
Floyd Norris addressed the issues concerning the American economy to students at the University of Utah on Wednesday, Oct 26, in the Marriot Library’s Gould Auditorium.
Norris is the chief financial correspondent of The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune.
He was invited to speak as a part of the Hinckley Institute of Politics Siciliano Forum. This year’s weeklong series of forums is dedicated to “The Future of Journalism.”
Norris talked about Andrew Mellon, a U.S. Treasury secretary in the 1920s, who advised the government to refrain from interfering in the economy. His beliefs are closely related to some politicians of the present.
“Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself,” said Norris quoting Herman Cain, a presidential candidate who shares Mellon’s view.
“Never mind if there are fewer jobs than there are people, ” said Norris mockingly. “Jobs will magically appear.”
Norris noted that job creation should not be the only concern of the government.
“We used to take for granted that the government should try to improve the economy – that there were things they could do,” said Norris.
Norris rejoiced that people are starting to slowly withdraw from the idea that the government should refrain from interfering in the economy.
“There are signs that at least some governments are backing away from the Mellon philosophy,” said Norris.
The government’s only job isn’t to fight against inflation but to preserve financial stability as well, informed Norris. While this might be the government’s job, polls suggest that Americans don’t trust their government to fulfill its duties.
According to Norris, the percentage of Americans that trust the government is down to 10 percent, beating the previous all time low of 17 percent in 2008.
“The American people might respond if we can develop an advocate of joint sacrifice,” said Norris
Until the Iraq War, the U.S. had never fought a war without raising taxes to pay for it, stated Norris. The people wrongfully believe that the U.S. can fight a war at no cost.
“Presumably, it is a better idea to fire teachers than to increases taxes to provide what used to be the most basic of necessities,” said Norris
Students are told to go to college only to emerge with large debts and no jobs available to them, articulated Norris.
“This is a very real concern,” said Scott Stuart, a University of Utah student about to embark on law school. “It made my decision to go to law school easier when I knew there were no jobs waiting for me with my current degree.”
The economy is still a long way from being fixed. Norris suggested that stability is going to take at least seven years, from the start of the crisis, to occur.
“A lot of his lecture went over my head,” said Julie Burggraf, a University of Utah student. “I’m not an economics major so I don’t follow this enough. His use of humor and analogies made everything easier to understand.”
“I found his lecture to be quite entertaining considering the subject matter,” said Zoey Bridges, another University of Utah student in attendance.
For more information regarding the Hinckley Institute of Politics Siciliano Forum and the rest of the week’s speakers, visit: http://www.hinckley.utah.edu/.