EconoMeter | 2016

December 30, 2016 -Economic indicators to watch in 2017
SDUT’s Question: What one economic indicator will you follow most closely in 2017?
Gary London’s Answer: Inflation. With our economy now at almost full employment and all other economic indicators strong, the table is set for…Read the Article Here

December 23, 2016 -EconoMeter panelists’ picks for biggest (econ) surprise of 2016
SDUT’s Question: What was the biggest economic surprise of the year?
Gary London’s Answer: Citizen displeasure. While clearly in a statistical long-term recovery, the inequity of the recovery impacted the outcome of the presidential election. While there are always…Read the Article Here

December 16, 2016 -Will higher mortgage rates weaken housing market?
SDUT’s Question: What one regulation would you like to see changed in your selected federal department or agency?
Gary London’s Answer: Banking. I think that it is time to review the impact and effectiveness of the various banking regulations stemming from…Read the Article Here

December 2, 2016 -Will higher mortgage rates weaken housing market?}
SDUT’s Question: Will higher mortgage rates weaken the housing market?
Gary London’s Answer: No. For three reasons: (1) mortgage rates are low, and any-near term increases will be quite modest; (2) such rate increases are just as likely to cause a bit of a flattening in the increase in housing prices, effectively stalemating the overall cost of ownership; and (3) this…Read the Article Here

November 25, 2016 -What are you thankful for this year?
SDUT’s Question: What are you most thankful, economically, this Thanksgiving weekend?
Gary London’s Answer: Innovation. That I live in a moment in time where technological innovation and science are transforming our lives in ways that…Read the Article Here

November 18, 2016 -EconoMeter panel’s to-do list for Trump, Congress
SDUT’s Question: What is the one economic measure you think the new president and Congress should focus on in January?
Gary London’s Answer: Innovation. I would advise encouraging innovation by offering tax and other incentives to re-domesticate jobs and promoting innovation throughout…Read the Article Here

November 11, 2016 -Rise of short-term rentals: Will hotels suffer?
SDUT’s Question: Will the growth of short-term vacation rentals hurt the local hotel business?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Hoteliers generally do not believe that STVR’s (short-term vacation rentals) impact their business. I suppose that might change if market circumstances changed, but…Read the Article Here

November 9, 2016 -What will a Trump economy look like?
SDUT’s Question: What will a Trump economy and economic policy look like in terms of job growth, building up the U.S. manufacturing base, trade policy, infrastructure and fiscal and monetary direction?
Gary London’s Answer: The main challenge for the Trump administration is to separate his campaign rhetoric from what is real and achievable. For instance, he has focused on Mexicans as “stealing” American jobs. Reality is that those red state manufacturing and…Read the Article Here

November 4, 2016 -Will business uncertainty lapse post-election?
SDUT’s Question: Will business uncertainty fade away with the end to the election season?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Business equals uncertainty. What will fade is that portion of business uncertainty associated with the elections, which is short term and not particularly…Read the Article Here

October 27, 2016 -Econometer: Rigged economy?
SDUT’s Question: Is the economy rigged?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. It is rigged toward those who are best educated, those who are entrepreneurial, those who are seekers and doers. It is rigged in favor of technological innovators and…Read the Article Here

October 21, 2016 -Post-election stock crash?
SDUT’s Question: Regardless of the outcome, will the stock market fall significantly after the Nov. 8 election?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I feel that the stock market is especially disconnected from this presidential election. In the likely event that…Read the Article Here 

October 14, 2016 -Econometer: Should Fed invest in stocks, bonds?
SDUT’s Question: Should the Federal Reserve be allowed to buy stocks and bonds to combat recessions?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. The concern for some time has been that with continuing low discount rates, the Fed has fewer tools in its toolbox to impact the economy when intervention is required. With the prospect of…Read the Article Here

October 7, 2016 -Is Tijuana a viable housing alternative for San Diegans?
SDUT’s Question: With housing costs rising in San Diego, is Tijuana a viable alternative?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Presently, the only viable out-of-SD County option for affordable housing is Riverside County. There is a dramatic difference in housing prices between…Read the Article Here

September 11, 2016 -Econometer: Will robots take SD jobs?
SDUT’s Question: Given the trend toward more automated technologies, like self-driving Uber cars, do you think unskilled San Diegans will struggle to find work in the future?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I think there are many opportunities for unskilled workers in San Diego, particularly in the tourism sector, where more hotel rooms require human labor, even if more restaurants may not. The problem remains…Read the Article Here

September 2, 2016 -Should new grads stay in San Diego?
SDUT’s Question: Considering San Diego’s job prospects and salary rates, should college grads stay local or move elsewhere for work?
Gary London’s Answer: It depends. It is important to go, regardless of where. All metrics say that college matters. The flip side is that San Diego is expensive, particularly as a starter community. While the San Diego economy is…Read the Article Here

August 19, 2016 -Housing at $495,000: A worry for San Diegans?
SDUT’s Question: Should San Diegans be worried about the latest median housing price of $495,000?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. This is because, as our latest study (by London Group Realty Advisors) demonstrates, rising housing prices, mostly the result of too few new homes being built, will eventually cause…Read the Article Here

August 12, 2016 -Olympics: The right thing economically for Brazil and others?
SDUT’s Question: Should future Olympics continue to be awarded to developing countries, like Brazil?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. The upside potential for an Olympics in a developing country could be enormous, for all of the reasons that they peddle: international exposure, infrastructure…Read the Article Here

August 5, 2016 -EconoMeter: Upside/downside of low interest rates
SDUT’s Question: Do continuing low interest rates imperil the economy and individuals’ finances?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Like most Americans, I am, decidedly schizophrenic about interest rates. On the one hand, I enjoy those low mortgage rates and…Read the Article Here 

August 1, 2016 -EconoMeter panel checks Clinton economics
SDUT’s Question: Would the policies outlined so far by Hillary Clinton be good for the U.S. economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Among the elements that I most like include the emphasis on the economics of climate change, education and healthcare. This platform as a whole seems…Read the Article Here

July 22, 2016 -EconoMeter panel weighs Trump economics
SDUT’s Question: Would the policies outlined so far by Donald Trump be good the U.S. economy?
Gary London’s Answer: No. And this is not because the Republican platform for the economy is out of line. In fact, I am warm to efforts to…Read the Article Here

July 15, 2016 -EconoMeter panel looks to next 6 months
SDUT’s Question: Will the second half of 2016 be better than the first half, economically?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Pundits and businessmen have been wondering for months now when this long, now seven-year cycle will turn, as it inevitably will. But as Fed Chair Yellin…Read the Article Here

July 11, 2016 -All-Star Game: A summer economic assist?
SDUT’s Question: Will the All-Star Game Week activities boost San Diego’s economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. While a World Series would be a more perfect economic lift, a good portion of the seats are filled by out-of-towners, which facilitates tourism dollars. Our economic dependence…Read the Article Here

July 1, 2016 -Brexit impact on San Diego: A plus or minus?
SDUT’s Question: Will Britain’s vote to leave the European Union threaten San Diego’s economy?
Gary London’s Answer: No. At least not directly. More global uncertainty will continue to drive investments to the U.S. Historically, U.K. investors…Read the Article Here

June 27, 2016 -Taxing sugary drinks: Good for health and city budgets?
SDUT’s Question: Is a tax on sugary soft drinks a good way, economically, to fight obesity?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I view this as regressive taxation because it will mainly cost the least informed. But if it can be shown that this actually reduces soft drink consumption, than…Read the Article Here

June 17, 2016 -Guaranteed income to replace welfare, Social Security?
SDUT’s Question: Should federal welfare, Social Security and other payments be replaced by a guaranteed annual income for all?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. I do not see this idea as much as a guaranteed income, but rather as a government efficiency concept. It is mostly a “wash” with respect to…Read the Article Here

June 10, 2016 -President and economy: The limits of power
SDUT’s Question: Can (or should) a president change the economy by sheer assertion and executive order?
Gary London’s Answer: No. There are some things well beyond the control of the Oval Office. Actually changing the economy is one of them. The role of the presidency…Read the Article Here 

June 3, 2016 -Like Sweden, a 6-hour workday for Americans?
SDUT’s Question: Would the economy be better off with a six-hour workday?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. I would support such an effort, because I think efficiency trumps longer hours, but such a work rule should be…Read the Article Here 

May 27, 2016 -To EconoMeter panel: Privatize airport screening?
SDUT’s Question: Would the travel economy benefit from privatizing airport security to reduce wait times?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. If privatizing is the answer to speeding up those lines, then bring it on. I will do everything I possibly can to avoid…Read the Article Here

May 20, 2016 -Online sales: A bummer for stores and economy?
SDUT’s Question: Is there an economic downside to shifting sales from stores to online websites?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. On the macro level, it’s a wash. People spend what they spend. The only issue is where, and whose economy and government those…Read the Article Here 

May 13, 2016 -EconoMeter panel: Are tightened trade policies bad for the economy?
SDUT’s Question: Would the U.S. economy be endangered by imposing higher tariffs and other trade restrictions?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Look no further than to Brazil, where an imported auto costs two to three times the U.S. price. That’s mostly…Read the Article Here

May 9, 2016 -EconoMeter panel: The high price of less homebuilding
SDUT’s Question: Does San Diego’s low production of housing pose a threat to the health of the local economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Lack of housing production bids up pricing. Those prices have almost reached an inflection point, where the excessive costs devoted to…Read the Article Here

April 24, 2016 -Rising rents bad for economy?
SDUT’s Question: Are rising rents in San Diego County bad for our economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Rising rents reflect the imbalance between supply and demand. We don’t build enough. When we do, over regulation and high…Read the Article Here

April 16, 2016 -Will new tax ‘inversion’ rules hurt San Diego biotechs?
SDUT’s Question: Will the new rules deterring corporate tax-saving “inversions” hurt San Diego’s biotech research sector?
Gary London’s Answer: No. For the most part our firms are so strong. Avoiding taxes would not put many at a competitive disadvantage. I am totally…Read the Article Here


April 8, 2016 -Minimum wage at $15/hour: Economic boon to San Diego?
SDUT’s Question: Will San Diego County’s economy benefit from an increase in the minimum wage to $15 over the next six years?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. I fall into the “pay people more and they will spend more” camp. People at these low wages do not save money: They need to pay bills and that goes…Read the Article Here

April 1, 2016 -Higher hotel taxes for ‘convadium’? EconoMeter panel weighs in
SDUT’s Question: Should the city’s hotel room tax be raised from 12.5 to 16.5 percent to finance the Chargers’ proposed downtown stadium-convention center annex?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. But this is a qualified yes, built on the assumption that this approach to accommodating the Chargers -– downtown and in a “convadium” — is approved by the voters. I am mostly…Read the Article Here

March 25, 2016 -Unemployment at 4.7%: Are you happy?
SDUT’s Question: At 4.7 percent unemployment, is San Diego County truly at full employment?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. This is about as good as it gets from a pure employment standpoint. “Underemployment” is not captured in that number: working below your qualifications. Also…Read the Article Here 

March 18, 2016 -Unionize ‘gig’ economy workers?
SDUT’s Question: Should independent contractors, such as Uber drivers, in the “gig economy” be allowed to unionize?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I don’t understand the concept of introducing regulation to an industry that has brought competition to the taxi industry by providing…Read the Article Here

March 10, 2016 -Returning factory jobs for U.S.? Don’t count on it
SDUT’s Question: Can the U.S. bring most of the manufacturing jobs back that were lost to other countries in recent decades?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Domestic manufacturing will ultimately retool our economy. A key factor of production is the cost of labor. Cheap labor in China and India provided…Read the Article Here

March 4, 2016 -CEO (Trump) as president: EconoMeter panel speaks
SDUT’s Question: Is a CEO – Donald Trump this year – a good choice to be president?
Gary London’s Answer: No. His success as a CEO is not justification to be president. For that to be a qualifier, one test is, does he enjoy the support…Read the Article Here

February 26, 2016 -National security vs. privacy: An EconoMeter view
SDUT’s Question: Would business and consumers be harmed if governments can override smart phone security precautions?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Yet, isn’t it also valid to restrict the “rights” to register and own the very guns that killed these people? The FBI is shopping for…Read the Article Here

February 19, 2016 -Recession ahead? EconoMeter weighs in
SDUT’s Question: Is the U.S. headed for a recession this year?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Fed Chair Janet Yellin stated that she doesn’t believe in the inevitability of a recession. To trigger a recession…Read the Article Here

February 11, 2016 -Break up California’s PUC?
SDUT’s Question: Should the California Public Utilities Commission be broken up?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. I am warm to pressing the reset button on the CPUC, if for no other reason — and there may be good reasons like cronyism, bureaucracy, failure to address safety issues, etc. — the nature of utility deliveries is…Read the Article Here

February 5, 2016 -‘Negative interest’ rates? EconoMeter panel weighs in
SDUT’s Question: Will the Federal Reserve begin charging “negative interest,” as Japan is doing, to stave off a recession and deflation?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Interest rates will remain low, but not negative. Japan’s economy has been lackluster for decades. The U.S. economy is quite healthy, with the Fed expecting…Read the Article Here

January 29, 2016 -California’s gyrating budget: Tax reforms ahead?
SDUT’s Question: Are there any tax reforms that could stabilize California’s budget receipts?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. We could broaden the tax base by adding a small, value-added tax for rendering of professional services such as attorneys, accountants, engineers and other consultants. Those of us who provide these serves are…Read the Article Here

January 22, 2016 -L.A. Chargers: A good economic bet, despite risks?
SDUT’s Question: Are financial rewards of moving to Los Angeles worth the risks to the Chargers?
Gary London’s Answer: No. The upside to the Chargers is a higher capitalization value to the team, should they move and sell. I buy that. What I don’t buy is that…Read the Article Here 

January 13, 2016 -If China’s economy tanks, does California’s soar?
SDUT’s Question: Would the California economy benefit by a sagging China economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. There has been a great infusion of foreign investment into California. We have felt the Chinese presence in real estate, in particular, who come to…Read the Article Here

January 3, 2016 -EconoMeter predictions for 2016
SDUT’s Question: What one economic indicator will you be focusing on most in 2016?
Gary London’s Answer: Inflation. I’m going with inflation, principally because that is what Fed Chair Janet Yellen is mostly looking at, and because it tends to reflect what is…Read the Article Here