Economist to explain how building interacts with growth
When Dr. Elliot Eisenberg left his job as a senior economist with the National Association of Home Builders, he could have joined a think tank. He could have started a management consulting firm. He could have written dry, dusty tomes about economic trends that are only recognized in hindsight. Instead, he formed an unusual business, laughsandgraphs.net, and made himself the president and the chief economist.
“I think economists lack a sense of humor,” said Eisenberg, who loves public speaking, but wants to makes people laugh while making them think. “This name captures the intersection of seriousness and humor.”
The Housing and Building Association (HBA) of Northwestern Colorado is bringing Elliot Eisenberg to town to speak at a dinner meeting at Colorado Mesa University and is inviting the public. Eisenberg, who holds a B.A. in economics and both a master’s and a Ph.D. in public administration, strives to make all of his appearances memorable, educational and entertaining. He won’t be giving a lecture so much as sharing funny stories that may help listeners make better decisions going forward.
“People should walk out with a sense of where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going,” Eisenberg said.
Right now, the interest rate is probably the single most important number in many business owners’ minds. It may determine whether or not they choose to expand. It may determine whether or not they relocate.
“Building a plant or buying big ticket equipment ... large non-residential construction project; these are all very interest-rate sensitive,” Eisenberg said,
Dr. Eisenberg doesn’t restrict his talks to discussions about the future of home building or construction. He tries to give a national perspective on the economy and has brushed up on the drivers of the western Colorado economy, too.
“If you have a road map of what’s going to happen, it helps,” Eisenberg said. “It should give you some security, a feeling of understanding.”
Dr. Eisenberg compared his evening economic chat with a reliable weather report. When the weatherman says there’s a 90 percent chance of rain, most prudent people know to bring an umbrella. He hopes people will be able to bring an umbrella to their next economic adventure after sharing a conversation with him in mid-November.
And make no mistake, Dr. Eisenberg hopes the evening will be a conversation and not simply a lecture. Not only are lectures boring, they don’t take advantage of the collective experience of the audience.
“I love hearing what’s on people’s minds,” Eisenberg said. “Questions give me insight into what’s going on in the country.”
Questions and answers are always part of his public speaking engagements.
“I know what I know, but I like hearing what other people want to know,” he said.
Eisenberg admits that the sometimes murky nature of economics tends to make people skeptical of anything an economist would predict or recommend. Sometimes, two different economists with two widely divergent views of how the world works have won Nobel Prizes in economics, and their views were polar opposites.
“It’s not physics,” Eisenberg said. “It’s hard to estimate.”
Eisenberg concedes that most economists got the forecast wrong and did not see the coming of the Great Recession. He also contends that good economic policy, guided by economists who had studied the issues, mitigated the damage and the length of it.
“Economists have some sway with politicians to prevent them from doing incredibly stupid things,” Eisenberg said.
The local HBA chapter is bringing Eisenberg to town as part of its mission to provide education for its members, which it hasn’t done for a while.
“Grand Junction is part of the larger economic pie,” said Rich Buffington, president elect/treasurer of the HBA of Northwestern Colorado. “This should help our builders develop business plans going forward with the information he gives.”
With all of the scare tactics used by some and the dire predictions coming from others, Eisenberg hopes that people who come to the dinner on Nov. 18 will have a better understanding what could happen in the big picture of the national economy and what they can do in their little small corner of western Colorado to make the best of it.
Dr. Eisenberg will be speaking at CMU on Nov. 18, with a 6-to-6:30 p.m. social/networking session followed by a buffet dinner. Seating is limited, cost is $45 and tickets to the dinner and presentation must be purchased ahead of time. Call Traci Weinbrecht with the HBA at 245-0253 for more information or to purchase a ticket.