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SUMMER 2011

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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer Issue 2011 / VOL 34 / NO.3

38 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

38 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Jeff Thredgold, CSP Jeff Thredgold is President of Thredgold Economic Associates, a professional speaking and economic consulting company based near Salt Lake City, Utah. Jeff is the only economist in the world to have ever received the international designation of CSP, or Certified Speaking Professional, the highest earned designation in professional speaking. He has served the past 14 years as economic consultant to billion Zions Bancorporation. His career also includes 23 years with 0 billion banking giant KeyCorp, where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. He is a member of four national forecast panels, including Blue Chip Financial Forecasts and those of USA TODAY and the Associated Press. Jeff has appeared dozens of times on CNBC-TV as well as CNN. Jeff has been writing a weekly economic and financial newsletter, now entitled the Tea Leaf, for 36 years. His latest book, econAmerica, was released by major publisher Wiley & Sons. Other books include A Parent’s Letter to My Children in School; Economy by Thredgold; and On The One Hand…The Economist’s Joke Book. He served as an adjunct professor of finance at the University of Utah for 16 years. He is a former member of both the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association and the Economic Policy Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. U.S. ECONOMIC OUTLOOK - SUMMER 2011 The U.S. Economy Believe it or not! The current U.S. economic expansion is now completing its second year! Break out the champagne…or perhaps not Forecasts of American economic growth in coming quarters have been trimmed in recent weeks, falling victim to the “anxiety list.” This is a combination of factors that simply make it easier for American businesses to largely sit on their collective hands as far as expanding employment, with a similar performance (or lack thereof) from the consumer in regard to spending. Domestic Angst How will the current battle of wills in Washington DC play out Will we get an agreement between the Democrats and the Republicans to increase the debt ceiling before August 2 Will the U.S. temporarily default on its trillions of debt Will Republicans get the kind of future spending restraint they are demanding, in exchange for their votes to increase the debt ceiling Once the debt ceiling is finally boosted, will Democrats and Republicans make necessary inroads to long-term deficit reduction How will the three major entitlement programs be addressed Will they “kick the can down the road” even further, letting voters decide in November 2012 which party’s ideas are best to address financial sanity in this country Will tough decisions then actually be made Above: US annual change rate for US REAL GDP. Below: US annual average for US UNEMPLOYMENT RATE Will home prices continue to decline Will the stock market suffer a major setback Will the massive and top-heavy health care bill place event greater burdens and mandates on American businesses and households Will the neverending growth of new government rules & regulations ever slow Global Angst How will sovereign (national) debt issues in Europe be resolved Will Greece default on its enormous national debt in coming weeks How will the Greek situation impact Ireland and Portugal, two other nations that have required enormous financial bailouts Will Spain be next How will political and military battles across Northern Africa and the Middle East ultimately play out How will these issues ultimately impact oil prices Will the global economy continue to slow somewhat How will this impact energy and commodity prices How will it impact U.S. exports to the world The “anxiety list” above is the primary contributor to lesser expectations for U.S. economic growth. The consensus view of 4-6 weeks ago that the economy would grow at a 3.0%-3.8% real (after inflation) annual rate over the next 12 months is now closer to a 2.0%- 3.0% growth pace. Some forecasts are more dismal, with possible double-dip recession again on the lips of the “doom & gloomers.” please turn to page 159

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