He spoke Thursday evening at Berry College as part of the institution’s Gloria Shatto Lecture Series to a crowd of nearly 1,000 students and community members about the benefits of a free market, the problems with the American economy and the steps that need to be taken to get the country back in the black.
“What’s happening today they call the new normal; no, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the new abnormal,” said Forbes.
The chairman and CEO of Forbes Media said every previous economic downturn in American history was followed by a sharp and dramatic upturn. The challenge has always been to keep that faster pace going, but more times than not the country has failed to do so.
This time around, though, said Forbes, that vigorous upturn hasn’t come, and the problem is America’s monetary policy. It’s a boring topic, he said, but an important one, and the primary problem is that the Federal Reserve has been on “a bender” for more than 10 years, printing money at too fast a pace.
“When you print too much money, bad things happen,” said Forbes. “That’s what we are facing today.”
The housing bubble that most economists point to as the cause of the recession would never have happened if the Fed had not been printing so much money, said Forbes. He compared the process to flooding an engine; too much gas, and the car won’t move.
“If printing was the way to wealth, why don’t we just legalize counterfeiting? We could even tax it,” he said.
Forbes’ ideas for getting the country’s economy moving again are fairly simple in theory: restore the value of a dollar, create a flat tax that is fair to citizens and businesses alike, and cut government spending.
The source of stimulus spending, he said, is the people, because that money either comes from taxes or borrowing, but either way the American people will be covering the bill.
Forbes’ lecture was sponsored in part by the Young America’s Foundation.
The Gloria Shatto Lecture Series honors the memory of Georgia’s first female college president. Shatto, who served from 1980-1998, believed strongly that there is more to a college education than what can be learned in the classroom. The Shatto Lecture Series honors her vision by bringing to Berry speakers of international renown.