Economics the topic of the day |

Economics the topic of the day

Kirk Caraway

Carson area business leaders got a double dose of economic news and advice Tuesday.

Nevada State Bank hosted a free program in the afternoon at the Carson Nugget that featured a panel discussion on the economy and the banking system.

Earlier at the Nugget, the Nevada Business Connec-

tions monthly breakfast featured John W. Mitchell, an economist with U.S. Bank, who discussed the current economic conditions and predictions for the future.

Jeff Thredgold, an economic consultant to Nevada State Bank, said there are promising signs that the economy is turning around.

“The stock market just had its best eight-week performance in 75 years,” Thredgold said. “The best indicator of economic growth is the stock market.

“The stock market typically runs six to nine months ahead. It sees a return of positive economic growth, it sees stabilization, corporate profits improving. The market is the best indicator of where the economy is expected to go.”

The audience also got an entertaining lesson about embezzlement, fraud and identity theft from one of foremost experts in the field, Frank Abagnale.

Abagnale was a master at forging checks and creating identities, and his exploits were recounted in the movie “Catch Me if You Can” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. After being caught for his misdeeds, he turned around and has been helping the FBI fight these types of crimes for the past 35 years.

Abagnale said he is surprised that all these years later, check forgery is still a huge problem.

“Check forgery has grown because of simplicity,” Abagnale said, detailing how easy it is to print checks with a computer. “It is much easier to do it now than when I did it 45 years ago.”

He also noted that cases of embezzlement have risen as well, due in part to shortcuts taken by companies in their accounting practices.

“It has never been easier to steal from your employer than it is today,” Abagnale said. “Accounting departments that used to be staffed with 10 people now have two people. Segregation of duties, best practices, due diligence, all the things we’ve been talking about in accounting have gone out the door.”

During the NBC breakfast program, economist Mitchell noted that the center of financial power in this country has moved from Wall Street to Washington because of the actions the government has taken during this crisis.

“This is a generation-

shaping event,” Mitchell said. “This is going to change us. We are going to be different people from here on out, and younger people behind us are going to behave differently.”

Mitchell quoted Winston Churchill from 1942, after the war in Europe had started to turn around, to express where he thinks the economy is today.

“Churchill said this is not end, this is not the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.”