Consumer confidence is on the rise, and things are starting to improve. “We’re getting stronger,” he said, adding that this is not the first recession the country has been through. While the GDP is still experiencing negative growth, Sanchez predicts that for the next two quarters of the financial year, we will be experiencing positive growth. “We are getting through this,” he assured the audience. “We are getting there.”
Despite the fact that this is the longest recession since 1980, the current economic situation is still not as bad as it has been at times in the past. “We’re Americans. We’ve been through tough times before,” said Sanchez, illustrating his point with some statistics. In 1990 a total of 400 banks failed and were closed, in 1991 there were 285, and in 1992 there were 185 bank failures. In the past two years, 2008 and 2009, there was a combined total of 70 bank failures. And when one considers that there are more banks in the United States than in all of Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined (a total of 8,400), one begins to see things from a new perspective. Out of 8,400 banks in the United States, only 40 were forced to close their doors in 2009. He also discussed a correlation between the bank failures and the recession: during any recession, banks will fail; while the reverse is not necessarily true.
Sanchez warned against fiscal irresponsibility, however, both at the individual level, and on the part of the government. “We have got to live within our means,” was his recommendation for how average citizens and senators alike should spend money. “We’re going back to the values of our parents.” Meaning saving money to buy something that one can afford—as opposed to digging deeper into debt— suggesting the country should tighten its belt and regroup. “It does us good as a country.” Sanchez also noted that key players within the banking industry have a growing concern about government overspending, and spoke out against what he called “entitlement programs” and government’s micromanaging citizen’s lives. “It takes all of us to have reform,” he said.
For more information on the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, visit www.clearwaterflorida.org.