U.S. Senator Mark Begich speaks at UAF

The Stimulating Stimulus Package

Photo by Monique Musick

UAFs School of Management and the Students Who Enjoy Economic Thinking (SWEET) organization hosted a Lecture by U.S. Senator Mark Begich Friday, April 17th from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Wood Center Ballroom.
The presentation, The Stimulating Stimulus Package: The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and its Positive Effect on the Alaska Economy, included discussion of Alaska's economic future, the national economic situation and why the senator supported the bill. Several hundred people turned out Friday to hear Sen. Mark Begich explain his support for the federal government’s $787 billion economic stimulus package.

Begich, the first Democratic senator from Alaska in nearly three decades, was the sole member of the state’s congressional delegation to vote for the stimulus bill. The vote was largely along party lines, with only three Republican senators dissenting.

The senator, a former regent for the University of Alaska, was asked if the package could lead to inflation down the line. While he said that is a concern, he said the most important thing right now is to restore consumer confidence.

“We need consumer confidence above all” he said.

Begich stressed that despite the record deficits being created by the stimulus, he and other moderate senators from both parties hope to cut the deficit in half within five years, though he acknowledged eliminating the deficit is a problem that could take more than a decade to solve.

SWEET (Students Who Enjoy Economic Thinking) is a community and student organization that strives to educate the public on free market economic principles and their real life application through interactive discussions, forums, and special events.  They have held numerous forums where prominent members of the Alaskan community have come to address such topics as Alaska’s economic future and the concerns that must be overcome for sustained economic growth in the state.  SWEET guests have included US Senator Lisa Murkowski, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, ConocoPhillips, and the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation. 

SWEET holds weekly discussions in the Wood Center Multilevel Lounge Thursdays at 1 PM.  Members discuss whatever economic topics are interesting and relevant ranging from privatizing jails to fair trade to gas taxes.  All are welcome to attend.

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