The cult of Alan Greenspan breathed a collective sigh of relief last week as the Federal Reserve
chairman hinted that the central bank would ease its monetary policy if the U.S. economy continues to
In a speech to community bankers in New York Dec. 5, Greenspan said, “In an economy that already
has lost some momentum, one must remain alert to the possibility that greater caution and weakening
asset values in financial markets could signal or precipitate an excessive softening in household and
The markets were quick to respond to Greenspan’s comments, as well as to a Florida court’s decision
that pushed the presidential vote-count quagmire closer to resolution, with impressive surges. Nasdaq,
which has been down significantly as tech stocks have fizzled, saw a 10.48% rebound — its biggest
single-day gain ever, according to The Industry Standard.
The possibility of an economic cool-down has kept the attention of many in the Mississippi business
community. How might our economy be impacted if the national economy slows down? What might
happen to the gaming industry? The manufacturing sector? Small town retailers? Economic
Clearly, economic cycles happen, and we must ride the bulls and bears as best we can. There are a few
things to do to prepare for whatever may come:
• Solid investment in value-added industry. Landing the Nissan plant in Madison County was a giant
step forward in industrial development, but it’s still just a step. Work must continue to strengthen and
enhance industrial opportunities in Mississippi.
• Workforce training and education improvements. We’re moving closer to a comprehensive system of
training workers for existing and new jobs, but turf battles and duplicated efforts are problems. As
funding sources grow tighter and bureaucratic hoops more complex, the business community must take
the lead on worker training issues. Government has a role in training, but business must lead.
• Support what we have. Buy at home. It doesn’t get much simpler. Support your business friends and
neighbors; they’ll support you.
Financial Planning 101 says that a diversified portfolio held over time will grow and provide the best
return on investment.
Right now, that’s what we need to do, and keep doing, in Mississippi.