Money Matters: Wrapping up the World Economic Forum

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President Trump spoke today on the final day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The annual meeting is a gathering of world political and business leaders to discuss high-level economic issues and is ripe for consumer-focused stories.

Issues discussed at the summit may not lead to impacts on consumers’ pockets in the very near term, but they can be localized and examined, and may have real impacts down the road.

Here are some story ideas:

Investment in the U.S.
The president’s speech urged companies to invest in the United States, keeping or moving their operations here.

  • Has your local or state chamber of commerce attracted foreign investment in your area?
  • Are any major local employers foreign companies?
  • Have any companies moved to – or from – your area in the last year? Why?
  • Reports show tourism is down across much of the U.S. What is the state of the tourism industry in your area?

Trade deals
While the president was urging additional investment in the U.S., the administration is also in the process of renegotiating NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, first signed in 1994.

  • How has the trade deal affected businesses and consumers in your area?
  • Have there been any business or technology changes the agreement doesn’t take into account?
  • How would some of the proposed revisions affect local businesses and consumers?

New tariffs
In another international trade move affecting your audience’s wallets, the U.S. International Trade Commission recently raised tariffs on imports of solar panels and large residential washing machines.

  • Check with your local retailer- how many of the most commonly purchased types of washing machines are imported?
  • Will consumers see price or availability changes for washing machines? One manufacturer has already said prices will increase.
  • Are any local manufacturers in the washing machine or solar panel business? What affects to they anticipate?
  • Check with local business or residential solar installers. How will their clients be affected?

Recent tax law changes
The president touted the recently passed corporate tax law changes as an incentive for businesses to consider investment in the United States. The various changes affect every tax paying businesses and individual, as we wrote recently.

  • How have local businesses reacted to the tax changes?
  • How will the changes affect individual taxpayers?
  • Have your state or local governments responded to the tax changes with any local measures?

Stock market gains
Another common theme at this year’s World Economic Forum was booming stock markets as global recovery from the 2008 recession seems to be making progress.

  • Are there any lingering effects in your community from the 2008 financial crisis?
  • What, if anything, should investors do in this type of market?

The theme of this year’s forum was “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World,” a world fractured by income inequality even as overall economic indicators grow.

  • Is income inequality an issue in your community?
  • What problems are associated with income inequality?
  • Are local businesses or local government attempting to address the issue? Are any measures working?

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