Panelists debate impact of election results on Philadelphia region, touching upon Obamacare, natural gas and fiscal cliffs, among other issues
PHILADELPHIA — The election may be over, but buzzwords such as “Obamacare” and “fiscal cliffs” filled the air Thursday morning at GPSEG’s semi-annual Regional Business Outlook forum.
Moderated by Renee Amoore, the deputy chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and the president and founder of The Amoore Group, an economic development, health care and management consulting firm, a distinguished three-member panel pondered the business and economic impact of President Obama’s victory.
Health care quickly became a key topic, with USI Affinity President and COO Paul Tyer suggesting that Obama’s
reforms will move ahead more quickly.
“The tracks are down and they’re starting to assemble the train,” Tyer said.
Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce President Rob Wonderling -- a Gilbertsville resident -- noted that urban hospitals will face intense pressures to contain their cost structures, while also making their services readily available to the low income – two factors at odds with each other.
Still, Wonderling was optimistic that the American public would do what it takes to succeed. He noted the resiliency
he witnessed the day after the election, with people able to put the results into perspective – better than the press.
“The national media wants to keep the horse race alive,” he said.
Wonderling did note that while area leaders often talk about the region’s “eds and meds” (higher education and health care), there remains a large military presence, too, in terms of facilities and industry. Those are likely to shrink in the years ahead.
LaSalle University Political Science Professor Ed Turzanski
took a more global economic view, pointing out that the United States now has the greatest reserve of recoverable fossil fuels in the world. And Pennsylvania is a big part of that in terms of natural gas reserves.
"We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” he said,
indicating the U.S. could largely break itself of its foreign energy habit. “We’re on the verge of having the greatest energy advantage in the world.”
A lively question-and-answer session followed the panel
discussion. While the panelists were uncertain if the economy would go over the much-discussed fiscal cliff, Turzanski noted that the way the Congressional
districts are structured, it encourages legislators to take a provincial stance – thus courting gridlock and possible financial instability -- instead of considering the common good.
More than 100 business leaders and entrepreneurs attended the forum at the Four Seasons Hotel. GPSEG Chairman and CEO Rip Tilden said the event was an unqualified success.
“Combining a high-quality panel with a hot-button
topic produced lively, informative conversation that proved exceedingly useful for those who attended,” Tilden said. “I believe the members