Speaking to the more than 250 attendees gathered for the WANADA Annual Luncheon yesterday, keynote speaker Charles Payne expressed optimism about the economy, saying the fears of an imminent economic collapse 12 months ago haven’t materialized, and predicting even stronger economic growth in 2020.
“We’re besieged right now in this country by never-ending stories of doom and gloom,” Payne said. “Everybody’s predicting the same thing in the media, and that’s the end of time, the end of something, right around the corner.”
Payne, a longtime Wall Street trader who hosts Making Money With Charles Payne on Fox Business Network, spoke for more than 40 minutes, discussing his views on monetary policy and the Federal Reserve, the rise of both left-wing and right-wing populism, and his vision on the future of the American economy. He also discussed what he called the corrosive impact of financial prospectors who drove down consumer spending in late 2018 with “wrong-founded speculation” of an imminent collapse, similar to the Great Recession that drove the world economy into freefall in the late 2000s.
“The Federal Reserve was committed to hiking interest rates and taking money out of the economy,” Payne said of late 2018. “And I think we were on the cusp of a recession,” he added, despite fundamentals in increased consumer income and lower overall debt burdens, that would otherwise indicate a strong economy.
Payne told assembled guests that 2020 will be an even better year than 2019 has been, projecting 4 percent wage growth next year and a 3 percent growth in GDP. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real average hourly earnings grew by less than half of that percentage (1.9 percent) between September 2018 and September 2019. Meanwhile, annualized real GDP growth has only exceeded 3 percent in four quarters since President Trump took office, and has not exceeded that mark for a full year since 2005.
But Payne said there’s more growth that can be unleashed through Fed policy and overall consumer optimism, pointing to an increase in Americans making over $75,000 compared to two years ago.
“We’re in the midst of greater shared prosperity than we’ve been in in a long time,” he said. “That is the essence of upward mobility, and that’s what we’re seeing right now – not just for people making over $200,000, but lots of people in all middle-class brackets.”
As for trade, Payne said he predicts a robust trade agreement with China will be reached in the coming year, and said the USMCA, which is still awaiting ratification by Congress, is a clear net-win for American business and American workers. He also predicted that the Federal Reserve would likely cut rates again in early 2020, which would further unleash economic growth.
As for the potential challengers to President Trump in 2020, Payne spent the most time discussing Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has gone from an afterthought in the race to a clear contender to win the nomination. While Payne has long been an outspoken economic conservative, he said she is “tapping into people’s feelings about unfairness,” and that conservatives who dismiss her do so at their own peril.Download Bulletin PDF