I think that Star Wars reference is clever enough for the second part of my audio interview last week with Steve Forbes, a giant of the business and media world and a former Republican presidential candidate.
To recap, Forbes was the keynote speaker at the annual dinner and awards event of the York-based Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania. In my previous blog, I received the impromptu opportunity to interview Forbes about the economy, manufacturing and the role of natural-gas drilling in both.
Hindsight is 20/20, right? After Forbes' speech last week, I had about 20 more questions I could've asked the man. Follow-up question I didn't get to ask Forbes: To his mind, what are examples of "reasonable safety net" regulations for the business world?
I expected his promotions of the flat tax, undoing burdensome regulation and slashing the bloated federal budget. Even his support for a return to the gold standard was expected, but his lead-in to that wasn't.
Essentially, Forbes pegged the Great Recession on regulation and monetary policy, rather than the housing bubble and the subprime mortgage crisis that eventually crippled the world economy. I raised an eyebrow.
Here's a Bloomberg Businessweek story outlining the recession's causes.
Here's an article from Forbes magazine that better outlines what Mr. Forbes was talking about. Essentially, the weak dollar chased people to hard assets like homes, property and gold, as well as energy and commodities such as oil. There you get the bubbles, so Forbes says solve it by pegging the dollar to gold.
You can debate the gold merits, but that seemed to be a simplistic characterization of the recession to sell it. It certainly could be a factor, but it's not the only cause. Follow-up question I didn't get to ask: Is Forbes considering another run for president in 2016?
In this week's audio clip, Forbes answers a question from another reporter about suspension of work to defense contractors in the York area and what he thinks should be done. He talks about sequestration, Congress's failures, nuclear proliferation (this link will put the Japan reference in context), the defense procurement process and being ready for the next terrorist attack.
I was able to squeeze one follow-up question in to that interview. Enjoy the audio and let me know what you think.
Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, transportation and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.