William & Mary

W&M experts weigh in on the economy

It will take another three-and-a-half years for the recession in the United States to end.

That was the conclusion drawn by William & Mary Professor John Merrick, Richard S. Reynolds associate professor of business, during the College’s fourth annual U.S. Economy Forum, held Wednesday, Sept. 21.

More than 200 members from the campus and local community attended the annual forum, where business, law and government faculty came together to share their views on the state of the economy since the financial collapse in 2008. No topic was off limits during “What Happened?” What’s Ahead?,” a segment that included discussions about the debt ceiling, credit downgrades, public policy, market crashes and surges, and Congress and Wall Street.

Deborah Hewitt, Clinical Associate Professor of Economics and assistant dean for MBA programs, said even though industrial production and retail sales are up, the real problem is employment.  A few sectors have faired well, though.  

“Jobs are up in computer science, architecture, biomedical engineering, petroleum engineering and anything math-related,” said Hewitt.

Law School Vice Dean and Professor Eric Kades suggested the federal government increase inflation rates.  The economy could use a little inflation, said Kades, and asked the audience what would be wrong with a five-percent inflation increase over the next five years.

“It would float all those homes more quickly above water,” he said.

Professor John Boschen, Brinkley-Mason Professor of Economics and Finance, discussed U.S. productivity growth.  The good news, said Boschen, is that “coming out of the recession, productivity growth starts generating more growth.”

John Gilmour, professor of public policy, took on the hot topic of the budget deficit.  He advised against reducing the budget deficit now, saying it would “decrease demand in the economy, decrease employment and make the economy lag for a longer period of time.”

The forum was moderated by Dick Ash, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and Private Equity Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of the Alan B. Miller Center for Entrepreneurship at William & Mary.

Below are video excerpts from the forum:  

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