■ BY SUE ERWIN
The Boca Economics Group will again form a panel to discuss the current fiscal health of our nation at the 2018 Economic Summit.
The event will be moderated by John Kissinger and will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16 at the Boca Grande Community Center.
“Last year at the Summit, we raised a number of questions about key economic challenges and potential opportunities faced by the new administration and Congress. We are now coming back to give a commentary on what we’ve observed, and the path ahead,” Kissinger said.
The goal is to provide a fair and balanced outlook, and leave the audience with fresh insights and a broad understanding of where our country stands right now compared to other economies throughout the world, Kissinger said.
The panel will include six speakers: Mike Giobbe, Walter Meanwell, Marty McFadden, Jim Runde, Jeff Swift and Kissinger.
Jim Runde will start the conversation and discuss trade and tariffs, with a specific focus on China.
“We’ll talk about what is going well for them in terms of trade and growth, and what are some of the headwinds they have to overcome to achieve their goals,” Runde said. “And how our administration is reacting to what China is doing in terms of trade.”
Kissinger will talk about the U.S federal fiscal condition as well as the potential to improve that condition through the achievement of stronger economic growth and the factors driving that growth.
“One of the big concerns we’ve discussed in the past is that our federal debt is on an unsustainable path, so something has to change in the future. We must generate more revenue from growth or significantly reduce expenses,” Kissinger said.
Marty McFadden will discuss the biggest gap in the fiscal budget: exploding healthcare costs.
“Right now, we’re spending more the $3 trillion in healthcare, which is the size of the German economy,” McFadden said.
He will be giving a breakdown of how that money is being spent and what we can expect in the future.
Jeff Swift will address the issue of an inadequate labor force. Economic growth requires an increasing labor force with the requisite skill sets as well as the application of new technology to enhance productivity. He will discuss the challenge of acquiring this labor force.
The final part of the presentation will focus on stocks and bonds, what has happened since the beginning of the Trump administration, and some predictions of the stock and bond markets for the rest of this year.
Mike Giobbe and Walter Meanwell will wrap up the discussion with capital markets. Giobbe will review basic market events affecting stocks and bonds, highlighting the change in the stance of central banks around the world and rising interest rates.
“We’ll also comment on the impact on markets from political changes during election years,” Giobbe said.
Walter Meanwell, known to the group as the “Warren Buffet of Boca Grande,” will give a brief forecast on equity markets.
General admission seats to the event are $20 and can be purchased online at friendsofbocagrande.com.