Council of Economic Advisers. His next position as chiefeconomist with Union Carbide Corp.'s corporate strategic plan- ning department led to a spot on
panel in 1984. "I was at a Sunday meeting with the Shadow Open Market Committee in New York," he explained."We were dis- cussing monetary policy, and afterward I was approached by Tom Herman (then a
tax columnist, now a writer for Monday's front page "Outlook"section). He invited me to join, and I said yes." Smith fit in well with the group of approximately 55 that periodically com- pleted spreadsheets with forecasts for a specified time period. "I soon learned the key thing is you can't be afraid of being wrong," he said. "No forecaster is always right. If you don't take chances, you miss a lot of wonderful opportunities." That same year, he predicted the 1990 recession, which six years later startled the rest of America. Smith's co-authored book,
appeared in 1987."It did precisely what we hoped it would do," he said."It influ- enced Texas legislation to donate money to higher education. Now more high school graduates can go to college." The following year, he joined tlle faculty at UNC as a professor offinance and for a decade taught the core course in the MBA program. Because he still teaches only in
program, every Carolina MBA graduate has Smith as an instructor at least once. The 1995 edition of
Th.e Business !1tek Guide to the Best Business Schools
called hinl one of the five best professors at Kenan-Flagler. When Smith came to the University, he filled a gap created by the death of Maurice Lee, the business school's dean for 25 years. He teaches Lee's "Economic Fluctuations" course, now called "The Global External Environment," and pub- lishes the bimonthly
newsletter that had been all but forgotten
since Lee's death. Now, with about 3,000
subscriptions, Smith writes and produces
analyses of current trends in the state,
national and global economies. He has
won the forecasting derby of the Forecast-
ers Club in New York three times, and he
served as president of the National Associ-
ation for Business Economics and as a
member of the board ofdirectors of the
National Bureau of Economic Research.
He helped establish the National Business
Economics Issues Council and has pre-
sented to more than 300 groups in 24
countries on three continents.
Yet his most recognized achievements
that grow more accu-
rate each year. As for
the dreaded upcoming
recession, Smith said,
"We might avoid hav-
ing it in 2002 if we
keep seeing interest rates go low enough
that evetyone goes back to happily shop-
ping, buying houses and cars, and the
economy picks up again. But we have
gone longer without a recession [ 11 years
in March] than any other time in the his-
tory of the United States, and it's impossi-
ble not to have a recession.
"If we get through next year without
having one, George W Bush will be the
luckiest Republican president we've ever
had." Each of the first 15 Republican
administrations had a recession in the first
two years of the first term, and all of those
presidents who were re-elected, except
Ronald Reagan, had one in the second
term as well.
Smith added that, despite his predic-
tions,"if Bush gives the nation a decent
tax cut, it'll be hard to have a recession.
And if we get a tax cut, he deserves a lot
of credit. It determines where the econ-
omy will go."
Does he think Bush will do it? He
paused before answering. "He better," he
finally said, "if he wants a reason to say he
should be re-elected in 2004."
forecaster is a
you don't take
chances, you miss a lot
HIV and Fatigue:
The fatigue suf-
fered by HIV-positive patients
may be caused by factors other
than HI¥, a UNC study shows.
Evidence suggests that depres-
sion, anxiety and low levels of
hemoglobin, hematocrit and CD4
cells weaken the patient and lead
to higher levels of exhaustion.
Researchers believe as many as
60 percent of HIV patients suffer
from chronic fatigue.
Pesticides-Fetal Death Link:
Living near areas where agricul-
tural pesticides are used may
increase the risk of fetal death
due to birth defects, School of
Public Health research indicates.
A study of almost 700 women
in 10 California counties
showed an increased risk of
death among developing babies
whose mothers lived near crops
where pesticides were used.
Heavy Drinking Temporary?
Fraternity and sorority mem-
bers who drink heavily during
college do not necessarily con-
tinue drinking at that level after
graduation, a new study from
UNC's psychology department
shows. The behavior seems to
have a connection to belonging
to and socializing in Greek
social organizations - not to a
predisposition to drinking.
exposed regularly to environ-
mental tobacco smoke are more
likely to develop gum disease
than others not exposed to sec-
ond-hand smoke, a new study in
the School of Dentistry suggests.
Belts on Back Burner:
and health-care providers should
focus on"psychosocial elements
of life" to reduce back problems
because back belts don't work,
say two UNC professors of
medicine. The belts - designed
to support the spine during lift-
ing - long have been thought to
reduce back pain and worker
compensation claims, but the
center's study of about 6,000
workers proves this claim false.
in this issue
article text for page
< previous story
next story >
Share this page with a friend
Save to “My Stuff”
Subscribe to this magazine