Some 50 students and community members attended the Economic Outlook for 2013: Beyond the Fiscal Cliff public symposium at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus Monday evening.
The symposium was hosted by the Quinlan School’s Center for Risk Management and the Center for Financial and Policy Studies. Panel members included Asha Bangalore, the Senior Vice President and Economist at The Northern Trust Company, and William Strauss, a Senior Economist and Economic Adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
The event was moderated by George Kaufman, the John F. Smith, Jr. Professor of Finance and Economics at Loyola and featured commentary by Marc Hayford, a Loyola economics professor.
Discussion was focused on the “fiscal cliff,” a term that refers to a number of laws that, if left alone, will result in numerous tax hikes and spending cuts that could lead to a recession in 2013.
Kathleen Getz, dean of the Quinlan School of Business, welcomed attendees with a bit of economic humor.
“There must be some optimism in this group here tonight, considering they presume there is something beyond the fiscal cliff,” Getz joked.
First to speak was Bangalore, who gave her analysis of the current state of the U.S. economy and concluded with her prediction for the outcome of the fiscal cliff.
“The immediate concern is that if we do go over the ‘fiscal cliff’, the GDP will decline and unemployment will go up again,” Bangalore said. “My expectation is that higher taxes will prevail for upper income households and spending cuts will be made on defense, medicare programs, etc.”
Strauss echoed Bangalore’s concerns about the need for a solution to the fiscal cliff but stated that another recession is unlikely.
“If a compromise is not reached, average families will be hit by $3,500 in new taxes…we would likely go back into a recession. However only 10 percent of economic forecasters are predicting this will happen,” Strauss said. “The Fed expects the GDP to grow slightly above trend next year. This is good but it’s nothing to write home about.”
Hayford concluded the event by summarizing the points made by Bangalore and Strauss before opening up the floor for audience questions.
Serhat Cicekoglu, director of the Center for Risk Management, a partnership between the Quinlan School of Business and the Corboy Law Center, was pleased with the outcome of the symposium.
“It was a great panel that prompted a great discussion. I believe it provided lots of insight for the attendees,” Cicekoglu said.
One such attendee, Ben Briggs, 20, sophomore accounting and history double major, agreed with Cicekoglu.
“There was a lot of information to digest but I feel that listening to these experts has given me the best possible insight as to what will happen with our economy in the future,” Briggs said.