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Politics & Government

Utah "Thought Leaders" Discuss The Economy Under Trump

Erik Neumann
Dr. Laura Nelson, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Energy Development, spoke at a symposium at the World Trade Center Utah on Wednesday.

On Wednesday a discussion took place at the World Trade Center Utah about the economic impact of a Trump Administration on the state. 

Members of Utah’s business community gathered in downtown Salt Lake to talk about: energy, healthcare, business and finance. The panelists assigned grades to where Utah is now and where they think Utah will be under the new administration.

Laura Nelson from the Governor’s Office of Energy Development was optimistic.

"I think we have the potential to go from an A to an A+. We are well positioned to bring innovation and take advantage of a lot of the proposals that are being made at the federal level," Nelson said. 

Meanwhile, Derek Miller, the President of World Trade Center Utah, was less confident.

"Although I give us an A today, I think international business is one of the areas where we have the most to lose. I’m fearful in Utah that we could go from an A to a C or a D," he said. 

Miller was citing the fact that nearly a quarter of Utah’s workforce is tied to international trade and that Trump’s campaign speeches mentioned getting out of international trade agreements.

The panelists were mostly confident about Utah’s healthcare industry and the recent rallying of the stock market. But, Natalie Gouchnour, the Director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, offered a warning that Trump’s proposed fiscal policies could create short-term growth that overheats the economy, raising interest rates, increasing debt and creating inflation.

"My forecast for where we’re headed has gotten better and better for the next year or two, hence the stock market rallies and things, but I fear year three and four," Gouchnour said.  

When asked if such conditions could lead to a recession, Gouchnour answered, "Well you get dangerously close if you don’t manage this right."

The panelists admitted that everything is speculation at this point. So for now the future of Utah’s economy is as unpredictable as the new presidential administration. 

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