College of Law to Host Feb. 20 Forum on Economic Crisis

As the $819 billion stimulus plan is discussed in the corridors of power, so it will be at the S.J. Quinney College of Law-sponsored public forum “Main Street in Crisis: The Government Response to the Economic Downturn” to be held on February 20 from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in the Sutherland Moot Courtroom.

The pundits declare that this is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Unaffordable housing and healthcare. Diminishing 401Ks. Unemployment. Inaccessibility to bank loans. The wide-ranging concerns of American families are wrapped up with the many challenges that the current government addresses in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

With the popularity of last year’s “Wall Street in Crisis” panel discussion, “we felt the need to revisit this from the perspective of the struggling working class and assess the proposed solutions outlined in Obama’s economic agenda,” says Professor Christian Johnson, a panelist whose specialty is capital markets, banking, and derivatives. “The national unemployment rate has risen from 4.5% in 2007 to a projected 8.7% in 2009. It’s really bleak out there.”

The forum will also examine the legal and economic origins of the downturn as it spread from the boardrooms of financial institutions to the front doors of small, local businesses. Or as Professor Ralph Mabey, a former U.S. Bankruptcy judge and co-panelist states, “When Wall Street caught pneumonia–resulting in serious casualties, Main Street started wheezing and is now coughing up some blood. This program explores the diagnosis and triage of Main Street.”

The discussion will be moderated by Scott M. Matheson, Jr., professor of law.