Roger Ferguson Jr., president and chief executive officer of TIAA, recently visited Milwaukee to give a talk to executives at the University Club downtown. Ferguson is the former vice chairman of the board of governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve and one of three black CEOs in the Fortune 500. He also sits on the board of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google. David Lubar, president and CEO of Lubar & Co., and audience members asked him questions.
“Diversity and inclusion in the U.S. is driven by three things. One, it’s the general sense that it’s the right thing to do. Second is demographics. America’s becoming a dramatically more diverse country… individuals want to see and work with people with which they may have some affinity. The final thing is there is a huge amount of evidence…that inclusive teams make better decisions.”
“We’ve had remarkably quiescent inflation, even as the U.S. unemployment rate has come down to what might be thought of as full employment, and I think there will be over the next period of time a real effort to understand if inflation dynamics have changed or if we’ll likely start to see inflation pick up.”
“(Imposing tariffs) is a new change for the U.S. government, but I think it’s too early to draw any strong conclusions about how this is really going to end up.”
“This is an unusual experiment to run this amount of fiscal stimulus at this stage in the business cycle and really the economic cycle of the country. If the cycle were to turn, we are at a place where there’s not much room left for fiscal stimulus and…interest rates are also relatively low…so it’s a bit of an unusual position that we’re in.”
“The global economy is going through a period that is being dubbed synchronous growth. Synchronous growth is not something that’s a medical condition. It’s a positive economic situation.”
“What drove (the U.S. tariff changes) was a recognition that while in an academic, intellectual sense I think all of us would say free trade is a good thing, over the last 50, 60, 70 years, we have ignored some of the negative implications of free trade in terms of industries that have been damaged or gone out of business.”