Magazine article Business Credit

NACM and CLLA's Joint Legislative Conference: A First Time Attendee's Point of View

Magazine article Business Credit

NACM and CLLA's Joint Legislative Conference: A First Time Attendee's Point of View

Article excerpt

Where do you think you could go to get an up-to-date briefing on the United States Federal Budget, the state of the U.S. economy and the status of terrorist threats worldwide and at home? If you attended this year's NACM-CLLA Joint Legislative Conference, you already know the answer to that question. These subjects and more were the topics of discussion at this year's Washington conference. I was able to attend as the lucky recipient of the Lorton Livingston Scholarship awarded to me by the Southeast NACM Chapter.

This was my first time attending a Legislative Conference, and I must say my expectations were exceeded. The day began with an informative and thought provoking speech about the Federal Budget and its dedicated portions. NACM Washington Representative, Jim Wise, explained that entitlements such as Social Security take the largest portion of the budget at 50 percent. The Department of Defense, which covers the serious challenge of our National Defense including Homeland Defense, captures the next 22 percent. All that remains is stretched and shared across every other existing program. After Jim's briefing, it was easy to see how difficult it must be for our Representatives to choose between programs when they include worthwhile programs like transportation and education. Jim stressed how important it is to get involved and stay abreast of political actions, such as bankruptcy reform legislation, which has the power to affect our everyday business.

The next speaker, David Berson, Vice President & Chief Economist for Fannie Mae, gave us a briefing on the economy. He started by asking who in the room agreed with Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan that the recession was over. Only a few hands went up. David then proceeded to explain step by step why the recession occurred and why it's over-even if it doesn't feel like it yet. David said the primary reason for the recession was the over accumulation of inventories for most businesses and predicted the employment picture would brighten during the summer. He used the example of a paper clip manufacturer who had stockpiles of inventory. He ceased production and let workers go. After exhausting his inventory, he directed current employees to work overtime. When the employees could work no more hours, the manufacturer would likely hire new positions. David emphasized that since consumer spending is about two-thirds of all spending in the economy, the increase in production would be brief if that spending and business demand for goods failed. David supported his points by listing the following reasons for his optimism; the small business optimism index rose in January to its highest level in two years, new orders for capital goods increased in December for the third consecutive month, and home sales set new records in 2001, all despite the recession.

Following our update on the economy, the Academy Group and Smith Brandon International gave a comprehensive briefing on the terrorist threat both at home and abroad. The speakers shared their memories of the terrorist attack on the nearby Pentagon and events of September 11, which unfolded before them. They discussed the potential for future attacks overseas and at home, and how people in other nations view Americans. This briefing was beneficial for anyone who travels in or outside of the United States. …

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