A highlight of the first full day was a presentation by Todd Buchholz, a witty economist with a background that has ranged from White House policy maker to hedge fund director. An optimist, Buchholz challenged some popular beliefs in the business world, such as negativity about the US Federal Reserve Bank, oil prices, and the strength of overseas competitors.
Buchholz said that the Fed was right to drive down interest rates “because our gross national product is positive,” and he said that he does not see a threat from inflation. China may be strong now, he added, but that will slow as the Asian giant faces population and aging challenges.
Among several points he raised: “Stalling growth in Europe keeps prices down,” “Don’t assume that we will have runaway energy prices,” and “Look out for the ‘Obama Rally’,” meaning that business and industry could have a resurgence if Americans become more confident that the current US administration will not win a second term in office.