Federal Reserve Visits ENMU

By: Kevin Sanders

Eastern New Mexico University hosted an economic symposium titled “Crisis, Recession and Recovery: What’s Next for the Economy?” on Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the Becky Sharp Auditorium. Guest speakers included: Senior Economists Roberto Coronado and Thomas Siems, in addition to Vice President in Charge of the El Paso branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Robert Gilmer. According to the literature provided the symposium, “…hoped to shed some light on the national and regional economy, as well as Mexico and the border region.”
Interim Dean of ENMU College of Business, Christopher Taylor, an organizer of the event, spoke first, introducing Gilmer, then outlined the day’s agenda before ceding the stage to Coronado and Siems.
Coronado’s presentation, “U.S.-Mexico Economic Integration: The Role of Trade and The Border Region,” highlighted recent economic trends in both nations, with emphasis on the States along the border. Coronado notes that “Mexico now plays a more important role in the North American auto sector,” concluding that “the U.S. auto sector is expected to continue to grow, and this should be good news to the trade flows between the U.S. and Mexico.” When asked how drug-cartel violence affects the economy, Coronado said that while instability causes bad effects south of the border, U.S. border cities tend to attract Mexican capital inflow because of their relative stability.
Siems followed with a presentation titled “The Road Less Traveled: Is Cowboy Capitalism Exceptional?” Siems explained that the U.S. economy is increasingly service-based, and those services are in turn increasingly knowledge-based. Short version: “Education is important,” which he reiterated in response to a question regarding future employment trends.
Finally, Gilmer’s presentation, “New Mexico in the Economic Recovery: Uncertain Times Continue,” analyzed our State’s position among the economies of the region, nation, and globe. Gilmer characterized New Mexico’s recovery as “sluggish and uneven,” but added that “high commodity prices create pockets of strength across the state- oil, natural gas, cotton, copper, lumber, potash, pecans.”
When asked what would be the effect of replacing Dodd-Frank [the 2010 regulation law] with the prior Glass-Steagall [1933 regulation law]? Answer, Dr. Gilmer: “I’m no expert,” and further, speaking for himself rather than the Federal Reserve, “That might have happened a few years ago when the ‘too big to fail’ banks, which I don’t agree with, were [in ruin], but now they are too strong… financially and politically.”

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