Anil Puri

Cal State University Fullerton economist Anil Puri addressed roughly 800 guests on the fiscal plans of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at a Nov. 2 conference at Hotel Irvine. The Indian American professor, along with colleague Mira Farka, were presenting their report, “World at a Crossroads: Navigating Risks in Pursuit of an Ideal Climate,” at the event. (CSUF/Flickr photo)

An Indian American economist at California State University Fullerton, Anil Puri, along with colleague Mira Farka held a Nov. 2 conference to present the fiscal plans of the presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, in advance of the Nov. 8 election.

The conference, “World at a Crossroads: Navigating Risks in Pursuit of an Ideal Climate,” was attended by roughly 800 guests at Hotel Irvine with Puri and Farka saying that unlikely events of 2016 — Brexit and the rollercoaster presidential election ride — have a common thread of “a deep sense of resentment, anger and frustration with the status-quo.”

Among Puri’s talking points included examples of stress — concerns of China’s economy, financial volatility and the Fed rate.

“Our view is that these issues will remain with us for the foreseeable future, placing strains on growth and prosperity, unless structural reforms are put in place to change the trajectory of this secular decline,” the report noted.

Added the CSUF interim provost, vice president of academic affairs and director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, “On top of that, we have the election, and that has its own challenges. Uncertainty and confusion seem rampant these days.”

Puri compared the proposed economic plans of Trump and Clinton, pointing out that the greater concern for Orange County business leaders is the effect of congressional inaction.

Farka, the center co-director and associate professor of economics, noted the odds against the passage of Brexit, as well as the success of the Bernie Sanders primary campaign and the Republicans’ nomination of Donald Trump, citing the surprises of the year.

Farka also noted that job growth has occurred in high- and low-income sectors, but has been weak for middle-income occupations.

The downtrend has occurred across all levels of education, she added, but it was steepest among those with just a high school education or less, thanks to a large drop in manufacturing positions, dating back to 1980.

Between 65 to 70 percent of households in 25 advanced economies experienced flat or falling income between 2005 and 2014. Hence, the current backlash against globalization, trade and immigration, Farka explained.

With that in mind, the CSUF economists’ forecast of the U.S. is one that will continue in “an uneven, below-trend expansion,” the university wrote in a news release.

The second half of 2016 is expected to perform better than the first, with consumer spending continuing “to do the heavy lifting, buoyed by continued job growth, higher home values and better prospects for income and wages,” it added.

The entirety of the report can be found on the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting website (see report here: http://bit.ly/2egzSkm).

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