Faculty Row Report: The US Economy is Not Fine

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The Faculty Row Network asked esteemed US Professors to weigh in on the US economy. A total of 196 professors were polled about the current status and future outlook of the US Economy.

What do some of America’s top professors have to say about the status of our economy? This was posed to accomplished academics from Faculty Row’s network and asked professors to weigh-in and rate the current status of the U.S.economy.

Each professor was first asked to rate the current status of the U.S. economy on scale of 1 to 10. A rating of ‘1’ would indicate a viewpoint that the economy is worst the economy has ever been and ‘10’ would be the best. Professors also voiced their opinions to support their ratings.

The numerical average amassed from 28 professors, across various disciplines* produced a rating of ‘4.5’ out of 10.

Professors with expertise in various disciplines, including political science, ethics, finance, social studies, history, and economics took part in our survey.

Here is how Faculty Row's educators perceive our nation’s current economy:

"The record high stock market and falling unemployment rate mask a deeper problem with the US economy–we have one of the most economically unequal societies in the world." - David A. Schultz is a professor of Political Science at Hamline University

Professor Schultz rates the current US economy a '3'. He contends that the root of the problem lies in our economically unequal society:

"According to the Institute for Policy Studies, in 2007 the top one-percent controls almost 34% of the wealth in the country, with half of the population possessing less than 3%."

Schultz further emphasizes the inequality in our economy: "in a country where economic wealth can be converted into political power, the rich can use their resources to prevent political change or reform and entrench themselves."

Professor Bruce Alan Kibler, whose expertise is Corporate Governance and Global Business at Gannon University assigns a rating of '2' to the current US economy. Kibler points to the inequitable distribution of income which he states may lead to civil unrest.

Kibler further explains "The most prosperous time in the US was when there was a very equitable distribution of income and high tax rates on the rich and lower on the poor. The burden of our capitalism has been placed almost solely on the less than wealthy."

Kibler continues "The last 30 years have been spent increasing returns for the top earners and overburdening the lower spectrum of the economy. Until this is changed, we begin running the risk of ever increasing civil unrest as more and more people become disenfranchised from our system. History gives us a plethora of clear examples here."

Professor Fred Maidment teaches Entrepreneurship at Western Connecticut State University. Maidment rates the economy a '3' and states that America’s economic troubles are rooted in its "unwillingness to recognize the changes in the global economy that have occurred in the past 15 - 20 years." He advances this assertion by listing the reasons why the US economy is not strong enough to compete on a global scale finding it has not yet fully recognized changes in the following spectrums including:

-The advent of the internet;
-The development of supply chain distribution;
-The availability of a global workforce; and finally,
-Change from a national to an international economy
-A tax structure that is not competitive with tax structures in other countries.
-Increasing regulation of industry.
-The rise of favored industries sometimes referred to as "Crony Capitalism" at the expense of other sectors of the economy.

"The policies being implemented by the government" Maidment concludes, "have more to do with addressing the conditions that existed in 1933 than in 2013. We live in a very different world than 80 years ago." Maidment foresees a decrease in unemployment because fewer workers are looking for employment leading to a smaller workforce and smaller overall economy.

The outlook isn’t all bleak according to Professor Jordano Quaglia at Fairfield University. Quaglia is a professor of History and languages, and rates the current US economy:

"I would rate the economy a '7', because it is growing. It has been hijacked by the dysfunctional House of Representatives which does not compromise and has an agenda against the White House that seems racist and does not appeal to the majority of the country."

He further suggests that the issues which reside in the House of Representatives are fixable due to the fact that new members get reelected after their allotted time:

"...Elected representatives to the House should have one single 6 year mandate, with a referendum approval on his/her third year to guarantee his/her stay or new election for the reminder 3 years. In that way lobbying and special group interests wouldn't be at play all the time, and with the referendum a poor acting politician would be taken out."

Bernard Moitt, a professor of African and Caribbean history and literature at Virginia Commonwealth University, concurs and rates the US economy at '8'. "I think if one looks at major signals of the American economy one can see that things are moving forward. This forward momentum is likely to continue. First, the unemployment rate has dropped since the height of the economic crisis in 2009. Second, a recent report on car companies suggests that the revenues are up and manufacturing rates in the US have always been a major predictor on how the economy is performing."

To this, he adds the housing market which has been a major indicator of mobility, is trending positively with market values on the upswing in a number of cities including Richmond (VA), where the latest tax rates on his street have been assessed at an additional $100,000. Further, Moitt feels the US dollar is bouncing back in value especially in relation to other national currencies. This is specific to the Canadian dollar which in times past was worth more than the US dollar as well as in Europe where par is not as disastrous as in times past. "Lastly I think that the true value of the Affordable Care Act popularly known as Obama Care, will be revealed in 2014 when Americans better understand their right to proper healthcare."

Economist and financial reformist John Edmunds of Babson College hovers slightly above the midpoint with a current rating of the US economy a '6'. "Job creation will continue, but the jobs will be low-paid, mostly without benefits. Monetary policy will continue to be accommodative, but the long-term rate of interest will be allowed to rise slightly. Real estate prices will continue to rise, despite slightly higher mortgage rates. Energy costs will continue to decline, whether the Keystone pipeline is allowed or not. Corporate profits will continue to grow, and the stock market will rise, though less than in 2013. Our trading partners will do better, so demand for our exports will continue to improve. The coasts will do well, and the recovery will be more noticeable in the center of the country, but the boom of 2006-2007 or 1999-2000 will not be repeated."

At a time when predictions on the US economy are running freely, the 196 members of Faculty Row are split between high hopes, reservations, and indications of a long road ahead. There is consensus, however, in the problems stemming from an unequal distribution of wealth, a faulty legislative branch.

Faculty Row is a Private Network originally developed for educators and researchers to connect, collaborate, and share ideas nationally. Faculty Row is now the leading network of experts for over 100,000 academics globally.

For Media Inquiries:

Kojenwa Moitt, Director of Media Relations
Faculty Row Corp.
590 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

(747) 333-8359 Office

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