U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced what many deemed a surprising decision this week, revealing that he is not yet prepared to start limiting the Federal Reserve’s various economic stimulus efforts. The programs are known as "quantitative easing."
The unexpected move has drawn reaction for a number of Idaho business, academic and legislative leaders.
"I was a little bit surprised," said Steve Ackerman, adjunct professor at the College of Idaho and a business and industry analyst. "They (the Fed) had announced earlier this year that they would be doing something different later this year."
Ackerman told IdahoReporter.com that, in his view, the Fed’s stimulus programs were having the effect of keeping real estate prices "artificially high" and that this is a destructive thing.
Ackerman also sees the implementation of the federal health care reform law (Obamacare) as having a profoundly negative impact on business and the labor markets in the Gem State.
"But the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is also having an impact," he added. "You never know when they'll act, and that uncertainty is taking its toll on businesses."
"My general philosophy on this is that I'd prefer that the federal government not try and manipulate things so much and let the free market handle things," Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, told IdahoReporter.com of the announcement.
Fulcher, who is an MBA graduate of the business school at Boise State University and who also works in commercial real estate, suggested that the growth in Idaho's economy is happening despite federal policies from Washington. "In Idaho we are doing OK and it is because of the somewhat loose controls on the free market that we've got here."
He cites the very low debt levels and what he calls "relatively stable taxation policies" as conditions that make Idaho attractive for business and added that Idaho's economy is slowly diversifying. "I don't think it is directly attributable to what the feds are doing, and I'd like to see the feds doing a lot less," said Fulcher.
Boise State University political scientist Dr. Scott Yenor concurs with Ackerman on the negative consequences of Obamacare, but predicts even more dire circumstances in the coming months.
"Individuals need to identify a doctor that they're going to try and stick with," Yenor explained to IdahoReporter.com. "There are coming doctor shortages and things are going to become more acute. So doing their best to find a doctor while there are still openings is really a crucial thing for people to do."
In-depth interviews with each can be heard by clicking on their respective names.