By Sarah Trzepacz, Content Strategist, REALTOR.org
Tuesday morning’s Legislative and Political Forum kicked off with a warm welcome by NAR President Charles McMillan, followed by a spirited and good humored debate between former Congressman Harold Ford and political commentator Pat Buchanan. Ford and Buchanan gave their thoughts on President Obama’s first 100 days in office and fielded audience questions about encouraging lending to qualified buyers, and the problem of liquidity for mortgage lending firms.
Next, the keynote speaker, former Labor Secretary and self-described “economic soothsayer” Dr. Robert Reich, discussed the short-and medium-term economic outlooks, as well as his assessment of the long-range prospects for economic recovery.
The good news, according to Reich, is that we’re approaching the bottom of the recession: “Now, the economy is not falling off a cliff, it’s just rolling gently down a grassy hill.” With housing prices down, inventories dropping, and the rate of job loss slowing, Reich sees signs that recovery is on its way.
Reich sees a turnaround coming, thanks to government efforts to decrease medical and energy costs for ordinary Americans and to increase discretionary spending. However, he cautions that recovery could be a long process: “In 2010, we will see recovery, but it will take several years.”
In the meantime, he encouraged REALTORS® to:
- Hope for the very best and embrace the opportunities for innovation and change that the current economy presents.
- Prepare for the worst, because we don’t know at this stage exactly how strong the recovery will be and how long it will take.
- Plan for continued uncertainty, because it is the only economic truth about which we can be sure.
Reich ended his presentation with encouraging words for REALTORS® who are “on the front lines” of the economic recovery, working in their communities, and who will play a key role in the recovery process.