Day Two: Washington-Oregon Potato Conference

It's lunch break at the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference on Wednesday, January 27. The Potato bar is in fill operation. Another overcast day here in Kennewick and the day started off slowly at 8 a.m. but crowds picked up through out the morning.

Keynote speaker Todd Buchholz finished his presentation prior to lunch. Buchholz is a former White House economic policy advisor and author of "New Ideas from Dead CEOs."

During his presentation Buchholz said that rampant real estate speculation brought down the U.S. economy. He expressed concern that the result of the recession would be a backlash against capitalism and global trade.

Buchholz defended Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's policy to buy down debt and push down interest rates, at the same time Buchholz was critical of the TARP funds and Congress's miserly, limited release of funds.

Buchholz sees the economy improving slowly, in stops and starts, calling the recovery "tepid, halting." He said that the economy is still lousy but it's beginning to have "plus signs." Some of the indicators he cited as positive signs are increasing discretionary spending and the depletion of inventories.

Finally, Buchholz advised the audience that success is contingent upon how they harness the changing tastes in American and international consumers.- William Schaefer, Spudman Editor

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