EconoMeter | 2017

December 1, 2017 – Sexual harassment: A hit to business bottomline?
SDUT’s Question: Is there a financial price to companies where sexual harassment has occurred?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Once exposed, revenue is impacted because consumers often reject their products and services. Some companies…Read the Article Here

November 19, 2017 – Housing shortage: Solve it with a building boom?
SDUT’s Question: Can San Diego build its way out of the housing crisis?
Gary London’s Answer: No. It will take a unified, regional effort. I recommend a 10-year “moon shot” with the goal of…Read the Article Here

November 10, 2017 – Will San Diegans benefit from proposed federal tax plan?
SDUT’s Question: Would San Diegans, on balance, benefit from the proposed federal income tax changes?
Gary London’s Answer: No. If you are seeking a new home in San Diego, and you are a high-income earner, this is a tax increase of…Read the Article Here

November 4, 2017 – Reduced 401(k) tax benefits: A worthwhile tax reform?
SDUT’s Question: Should Congress reduce the deductibility of 401(k) retirement savings to make room for tax-rate cuts?
Gary London’s Answer: No. It is the entitlement programs which need to be targeted through a phased approach. There just is…Read the Article Here

October 26, 2017 – A stock correction by year’s end?
SDUT’s Question:  Will there will be stock pullback by year’s end?
Gary London’s Answer: No. No one can predict timing of an adjustment, but one is inevitable. Whether it…Read the Article Here

October 20, 2017 – Wine country fires: An economic hit to the state?
SDUT’s Question: Will the California economy suffer from the devastating fires in wine country?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Most of the grapes were already picked, and Northern California wine only makes up 10 percent of…Read the Article Here

October 13, 2017 – State housing legislation: Enough done?
SDUT’s Question: Will the recently approved state housing legislation cut shortages and improve affordability?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. They are a start, but I have quibbles. Reducing obstacles should be helpful in building more housing. But we…Read the Article Here

October 6, 2017 -Trump’s tax plan: A boost to the economy?
SDUT’s Question: Would President Trump’s tax plan boost the economy?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I certainly would not argue against tax reduction or simplification. But tax incentives are not the…Read the Article Here

September 29, 2017 -A robot tax: An answer to automation and job loss?
SDUT’s Question:  Should companies that automate, using robots for example, have an additional tax levied to cover training and severance costs?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I prefer the carrot vs. the stick. I don’t think a company should be penalized for attempting to maximize its…Read the Article Here

September 22, 2017 -EconoMeter ponders whether a higher deficit is OK with a tax cut?
SDUT’s Question: Will it be acceptable to propose tax changes that increase the federal deficit?
Gary London’s Answer: No. President Trump hints that his tax plan will increase military spending and investment in infrastructure while…Read the Article Here

September 15, 2017 -End the ‘dreamers’ program and hurt the economy?
SDUT’s Question: Will the economy suffer if the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program is not renewed?
Gary London’s Answer: No. The direct impact of 800,000 lives is big to the dreamers, relatively small for the US economy. But the residual economic impact is…Read the Article Here

September 8, 2017 -Disaster insurance: Should it be mandatory?
SDUT’s Question:  Should natural disaster insurance be made mandatory?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I would think that any lender going forward would reasonably require insurance on structures being built on…Read the Article Here

August 31, 2017 -Shut down the government if a border wall isn’t funded? EconoMeter panelists weigh in on Trump’s threat.
SDUT’s Question:  Should the government be shut down if Congress doesn’t include border wall funding in the budget?
Gary London’s Answer: No. This really is a political question, not an economic one, except to perhaps cause a discourse on the economic and…Read the Article Here

August 25, 2017 -CEOs and White House: An upside to leaving panels?
SDUT’s Question: Is there an upside to business leaders resigning from White House economic panels?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. There is an upside for them because they were able to disassociate themselves from the administration, and…Read the Article Here

August 18, 2017 -Economic sanctions against North Korea: Will they work?
SDUT’s Question: Are economic sanctions an effective tool to prevent war with North Korea?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Buying time through sanctions is exactly the right solution. But sanctions have a nasty habit of…Read the Article Here

August 10, 2017 -Merit-based immigration: Good idea?
SDUT’s Question: Is switching to a merit-based immigration system good public policy?
Gary London’s Answer: No. This is a philosophical change from the American tradition of offering sanctity and…Read the Article Here

August 4, 2017 -Big tech too big for the public’s good?
SDUT’s Question: Are America’s tech giants getting too big and powerful?
Gary London’s Answer: No. It’s a bit insidious to single out tech giants as bad oligarchs while consumers have long been victimized by the oil companies, who…Read the Article Here

July 28, 2017 -Many more steps needed to get more housing, economists, CEOs say
SDUT’s Question: Can San Diego County local governments do more to boost housing production, even beyond what San Diego city is contemplating?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Neighborhood opposition, restrictive densities, and outdated zoning need to be addressed. San Diego has an…Read the Article Here

July 21, 2017 -Will Prop. 13 changes make home prices go up?
SDUT’s Question: Would the proposed changes to property tax rules have an inflationary effect on home prices in California?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Such a scheme would help Realtors by perhaps generating a few more listings, but no one else. People who…Read the Article Here

July 15, 2017 -Econometer: Will trade deal between Japan-EU hurt U.S.?
SDUT’s Question: Will the U.S. suffer economically from the recent trade deal between Japan and European Union?
Gary London’s Answer: No. While I wouldn’t expect many short-term disruptions, we can expect a trend toward work-around deals and alliances to…Read the Article Here

July 7, 2017 -Time to sell? Econometer looks at homeowner’s dilemma
SDUT’s Question: Should more owners list their homes for sale to benefit from record-high prices?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. The housing market may now be at or approaching peak values. If you are among the growing number of “house hoarders” who have…Read the Article Here

June 30, 2017 -Economy in 2nd half of ’17: Up, down or steady?
SDUT’s Question: Will the economy over the rest of the year top the results of the first half?
Gary London’s Answer: No. With unemployment reaching new lows, and an overall slowdown in jobs added and in migration, I see very little…Read the Article Here

June 23, 2017 -Down payments at 1%: A good idea?
SDUT’s Question: Is a 1 percent down payment mortgage a good idea?
Gary London’s Answer: No. This down payment requirement must be missing a zero! At 1 percent, this is less a …Read the Article Here

June 16, 2017 -SoccerCity: Is delay economically wise?
SDUT’s Question: Would San Diego benefit economically or fiscally by delaying the SoccerCity redevelopment vote until November 2018?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Perhaps over time a better deal can be struck. SoccerCity would benefit San Diego economically, but not necessarily fiscally. It would be an economic boon, but…Read the Article Here

June 9, 2017 -Leaving Paris climate accord – an economic plus?
SDUT’s Question: Will the U.S. economy benefit by backing out of the Paris climate agreement?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I am not especially concerned, from an economic perspective, by the Trump pullout. In fact, I think there will be an economic upside as …Read the Article Here

June 2, 2017 -Is Trump’s proposed budget good for the US economy?
SDUT’s Question: Would the proposed Trump budget for 2017-18 be good for the U.S. economy?
Gary London’s Answer: No. There is undoubtedly plenty of fat to trim out of the federal budget, but this budget is…Read the Article Here

May 26, 2017 -NAFTA: Should it be renegotiated?
SDUT’s Question: Should the North America Free Trade Agreement be renegotiated?
Gary London’s Answer: No. All deals can be tweaked, but it is simply untrue that this has been a “horrible deal” for the U.S., as the…Read the Article Here

May 19, 2017 -Too much beer? EconoMeter panelists weigh in
SDUT’s Question: With 142 breweries locally, is San Diego near the tapped out point?
Gary London’s Answer: No. The number of brewers is not a good tapped-out indicator. The more sobering measure is…Read the Article Here

May 12, 2017 -Will single-payer health care in California help the economy?
SDUT’s Question: Would a single-payer health care system in California be better for the state’s economic health?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. The goal of providing universal care through single pay is laudable, and I believe, fundamental. But wading into this…Read the Article Here

May 5, 2017 -Trump tax reform eliminates local tax deductions, but is it a good thing?
SDUT’s Question: Should state and local taxes no longer be deductible on federal income tax returns, as the Trump administration proposes?
Gary London’s Answer: No. If deductibility is eliminated, there will follow a movement to reduce state taxes, because the tax burden would likely be…Read the Article Here

April 28, 2017 -Rising homelessness: Result from bad policy?
SDUT’s Question: Is the rise in homelessness a result of government housing policies throughout the county?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Certainly there are more visibly homeless because there are less places to hide in East Village. Government does not cause the homeless problem, but…Read the Article Here

April 14, 2017 -Will a rising minimum wage promote more spending to make up for lost jobs?
SDUT’s Question: Do you think San Diego’s rising minimum wage will promote enough spending to eventually replace some low-wage jobs destroyed by the policy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. The economy is sufficiently resilient to accommodate wage increases. But I want to clearly note that…Read the Article Here

April 7, 2017 -Should the US be fun like a business?
SDUT’s Question: Should the U.S. government be run like a business?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Efficiency in government is a laudable goal. But the values of business and the values of government can…Read the Article Here

March 31, 2017 -Is San Diego headed for a luxury-hotel glut?
SDUT’s Question: Is San Diego headed for a luxury-hotel glut?
Gary London’s Answer: No. There is no glut in the luxury sector yet, nor in the general industry. There probably will not be one, barring a…Read the Article Here

March 23, 2017 -Can philanthropy fill R&D grant gap if feds back away?
SDUT’s Question: Can philanthropy fill the gap left by reduced federal research grants?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Although it depends on what research grants we are talking about. It would be terrible to negatively impact the…Read the Article Here

March 17, 2017 -Does U.S. trade deficits really matter?
SDUT’s Question: Do trade deficits matter?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Isn’t this at the heart of the Trumpian “America First” philosophy? The deficit means that we import more…Read the Article Here

March 10, 2017 -Defense spending boost: Pros and cons
SDUT’s Question: Is increasing defense spending by $54 billion a good idea?
Gary London’s Answer: No. I suppose any additional funds toward defense filters down to San Diego, but the idea of just throwing money at the military while cutting…Read the Article Here

March 2, 2017 -Qualcomm site: A sports/fun district a good reuse?
SDUT’s Question: Does San Diego’s economy need a sports and entertainment district?
Gary London’s Answer: No. The purpose of such a district would presumably be to (1) lower regulatory hurdles for new development and businesses, and…Read the Article Here

February 23, 2017 -Is ‘Calexit’ a good thing for the economy?
SDUT’s Question: Would California be better off economically as an independent state?
Gary London’s Answer: No. California has never made much sense economically – we are a creative and business state, but we are also an agricultural state. If California broke off, it should…Read the Article Here

February 17, 2017 -Legalized pot: An economic boon to San Diego?
SDUT’s Question: Will the recreational marijuana business have a major impact on the local economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Legalizing drugs makes them taxable, which benefits all of us. The part I am less certain about is the word “major” as we cannot know at this…Read the Article Here

February 10, 2017 -Trump trade, immigration policies: A hit to San Diego economy?
SDUT’s Question: Would President Trump’s trade and immigration policies harm San Diego’s cross-border economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. Of course. As a border down, we have billions at stake. However, at the moment I am not super concerned, as these policies have…Read the Article Here

February 3, 2017 -Would a soccer stadium give economy a boost?
SDUT’s Question: Should the city approve a soccer stadium development plan for the Qualcomm Stadium site without a public vote?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Now that we are unfettered from the Chargers, the driver should not be the stadium. It should be commerce and housing. Some land could be reserved for a future stadium, but…Read the Article Here

January 27, 2017 -Return of manufacturing jobs: A tall order, says EconoMeter panel
SDUT’s Question: Can President Trump return a sizable amount of manufacturing jobs to the U.S.?
Gary London’s Answer: No. Even if he evens the tariff playing field, it wouldn’t be enough to offset high domestic labor costs and the relentless march of the robots…Read the Article Here

January 20, 2017 -Sinking peso: Danger sign to economy?
SDUT’s Question: Does the sinking value of the Mexican peso pose economic problems for the local and national economy?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. It poses problems for both. For the local economy, billions of dollars in retail and trade flow to the San Diego region from Mexico. Our relationship with Mexico in…Read the Article Here

January 13, 2017 -Tax noisy vehicles? EconoMeter panelists reply
SDUT’s Question: Should there be a noise tax, paid at the time of purchase, on cars and motorcycles that make excessive noise?
Gary London’s Answer: No. This is a regressive tax that would unfairly penalize Harley owners, and reward owners of Tesla vehicles. There would be no discernible noise…Read the Article Here

January 6, 2017 -Trump Bump: How long will stocks keep rising?
SDUT’s Question: Will the Trump stock market rally continue in 2017?
Gary London’s Answer: Yes. I would not call it the Trump rally. I would call it the post-election, end-of-distraction, all-is-well-with-the-world rally! What this administration does…Read the Article Here