February 8, 2011
Economic Forum President Rebel Cook with Russell Greene, CEO of Grand Bank (left) and speaker Charles White of Stern, Agee
From the President:
If you missed the opening of 2011 Economic Forum meetings, you missed one of the best
programs presented by the Economic Forum – also one of the highest in attendees. Our
speaker, Charles White from Stern Agee, presented a concise and thoughtful analysis
to the current economic conditions and what to anticipate for the year – assuming no
Special thanks to our longtime Corporate member, Russell Greene, CEO and President
of Grand Bank, who recommended and arranged for Mr. White to speak. Thanks also to
Russell who arranged for a repeat visit from the Leadership Class of the West Palm
August 27, 2010
Our August 2010 luncheon featuring Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits was featured in this report by the Palm Beach Post:
Property appraiser: Market values hitting bottom
By Jeff Ostrowski
WEST PALM BEACH — The plunge in Palm Beach County real estate values has slowed from free-fall to gradual downturn, Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits said Wednesday. Next year’s rate of decline likely will be about half this year’s 12.5 percent drop, Nikolits said.
The market value of the county’s 628,000 properties fell from $179.9 billion in 2009 to $157.4 billion in 2010. Property values peaked at $233 billion in 2006.
“We have pretty much hit the bottom of the market in many areas of the county,” Nikolits said during a speech to members of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County.
Read more (PDF)
Presentation slides: PDF
August 19, 2010
Protecting the Beaches and Warding Off “Economic Topkill”
Attorney John L. Fiveash Jr. and Escambia County's Taylor “Chips” Kirschenfeld
By David F. Carr, webmaster
The worst environmental impact of the oil spill on Florida may be over, but the economic impact on the state will remain until perceptions of the problem change, emissaries from Northwest Florida told the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County at its July meeting.
John L. Fiveash Jr., an attorney Lewis Longman & Walker P.A. who represents the City of Pensacola and the Port of Pensacola, and Taylor “Chips” Kirschenfeld, Senior Environmental Programs Manager for Escambia County, were joined by phone by Edward Overton, professor emeritus at the Louisiana State University School of Environmental Sciences. The event came on the 100th day after the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by British Petroleum.
Read on for the full story and photos from the event.
April 22, 2010
Phil Smith, National Political Director of the Concord Coalition, answers questions following his talk
For years, deficit hawks have complained that the federal government was papering over the difference between revenues and spending by dipping into the Social Security “trust fund” – the difference between retirement taxes collected and money paid out.
According to Phil Smith, National Political Director of the Concord Coalition, that cash cushion is in any case going away. “We’re entering cash deficit territory for Social Security,” Smith said, speaking at the April 20 meeting of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County.
Although this day has been predicted for years, the previous official projection was that Social Security spending would exceed revenues for the first time in 2016. But when updated figures are published by the Social Security trustees, probably in June, Smith expects them to show that milestone has already been reached. (more…)
December 29, 2009
John Browne, former member of Parliament
Politicians and the media tell us our economy has tiptoed back from the brink of catastrophe and that a recovery is under way. They haven’t convinced John Browne, a former Conservative Member of Parliament under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who now writes and lectures on political, economic, financial and defense issues. A Palm Beach County resident and investment advisor, Browne was our November speaker.
“Things were really desperate, and now, suddenly, as if by magic, it seems that everything is all right,” Browne said. But this return to normal is an illusion, he said. “The same behemoth banks are still there, only now they’re larger. The same toxic assets are there, only now they’re hidden.” Meanwhile, consumer confidence has dropped to levels not seen since the 1930s. So to those paying attention, the facts don’t fit the rhetoric.
“In the 1960s, people took acid to make things look weird. Now, we take Prozac to make them look normal,” Browne observed. “So you have to ask yourself, are we being fed political and economic Prozac?”
November 16, 2009
William C. Davis
Two years ago, William Davis, Past President of the Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers, told the Economic Forum that the crisis then rippling through the mortgage industry would spread. Back in the Fall of 2007, he warned that the the economy was about to get a lot worse. In an October 2009 return visit, however, he said he underestimated just how bad things were going to get, and he had few encouraging words for what lies ahead.
Many in the audience were probably hoping for better news. But Davis mostly talked about the deep systemic problems that will cause economic pain for years to come. For example, even as the economy comes back, jobs are unlikely to because during the downturn businesses have learned how to make do with fewer employees. “So jobs are lost forever,” Davis said.
September 22, 2009
Randy Schultz, Editorial Page Editor, the Palm Beach Post
At our September meeting, Palm Beach Post Editorial Page Editor Randy Schultz made the case against misinformation – and for the continued existence of newspapers.
“Since my part of the paper is the one that deals with comment, I would like to discuss the difference between informed comment and uninformed comment. Because it has never been more important to distinguish between the two,” Schultz said.
July 18, 2009
Russell Greene – Grand Bank & Trust of Florida President & CEO
Attendees at Russell Greene Luncheon