Southern Man

Thursday, April 21, 2011

About Those Spending Cuts II

Southern Man's Computer Science department is part of the university's School of Business, and early this morning we held our regular executive board meeting at which faculty and local businesspeople and various university groupies gather to hear reports about our accomplishments and advise us as to what we should actually be doing instead and drink coffee and so on. They're a lot of fun. And a regular feature of these meetings is to end with an economics report from a new visiting professor who was recently a senior vice president of the Federal Reserve. Yes, we're talking about a man whose immediate supervisor was Ben Bernanke. He knows more about economics and fiscal policy and borrowing and debt and money in general then just about anyone and it was a real feather in our cap to land him as a professor.

So he gives us a brief update on the current state of the economy in general and QE2 in particular and then opened the floor for questions. And Southern Man asked:
"I'm a layperson when it comes to economics, with twenty-plus years to go before retirement and three kids bound for college. How can someone like me look at the big picture - not just QE2 but the spending, the borrowing, the debt, the entitlement obligations - and see anything other than utter ruin in the relatively near future?"
His twenty-minute response was as thoughtful and insightful an evaluation of the national and world economy that Southern Man has ever heard or read. And a dozen executives gathered to discuss that topic for another forty minutes after the meeting ended.

Is Southern Man still worried? Yes. As worried as he was? No (given predictions ranging from another Great Depression to Mad Max, the speaker tended towards the less apocalyptic outlook). But nothing was said to prevent Southern Man from remaining in full-blown Cassandra mode when it comes to our economic future.


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