ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL — Three financial experts gave an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Friday wildly different views on whether the financial crisis is really over.David Stockman, former budget director for President Reagan, told the crowd to find a cabin in the mountains, stock it with canned beans and bottled water and prepare for even tougher times. The financial crisis will worsen instead of improve, said Stockman, who labeled himself “right-wing libertarian.” He was only half-joking.“We’re not going to get out of this for years and years,” Stockman said.Chris Hyzy, a chief investment officer with a subsidiary of Bank of America, called himself an optimist and said he sees slow but steady annual economic growth returning in 2012. The United States has moved from recession to recovery. Now it’s going to require patience to move from recovery to expansion, Hyzy said, but expansion will surely come.In between was Roger Ferguson, a member of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, who said he is in the “sensible middle” in economic policy.Ferguson said he sees a “low probability of a double-dip recession” and a “gradual but volatile improvement.” In that sense he agreed with Hyzy that the United States is out of the woods in the short term. In another sense, he agreed with Stockman that federal debt poses serious long-term problems. Fortunately, Ferguson said, Obama realizes the problems posed by federal debt and plans to address it once the economy is stronger.
By Scott Condon, July 10, 2010 Aspen Times

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