After delivering a scathing critique of current government policies, publishing executive and conservative thinker Steve Forbes told a room of over 200 Thursday evening that “one way or another, we will get back on track.”
Forbes, who serves as editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine and CEO of its publishing company, Forbes, Inc., spoke for over an hour in Linsly-Chittenden Hall on the economy and the nation’s political climate in a talk titled “How Capitalism Can Save America.” Throughout the address, Forbes, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000, fiercely advocated for free markets and harshly criticized the policies of the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve Bank.
Forbes began his talk by making several predications about the upcoming election, suggesting that Republicans will expand their majority in the House of Representatives, take control of the Senate and win the presidency. He emphasized that the American people are “not happy with the direction of the country.”
Turning his attention to the economy, Forbes said policy makers should take measures to stabilize the U.S. dollar. He recommended that the dollar be re-linked to the gold standard, and predicted this will happen within the next five years. The economy is not moving at “full speed,” he said, because of fluctuation in the value of America’s currency.
“Imagine what your life would be like if Washington did to the clocks what it does to the currency,” Forbes said, referring to the ever-changing value of the dollar.
Forbes also suggested that principles of free markets should be extended to the health care system. Under the current system and government regulations, Forbes said many consumers do not pay attention to the costs of their medical care. Forbes said there is a “disconnect” between health care providers and consumers, which prevents free market competition from driving down costs.
Toward the end of his discussion, Forbes emphasized the importance of recognizing innovations and seizing opportunities. He cited McDonald’s, which he said was the first restaurant chain to standardize and simplify a menu, as a company that exemplifies creative thinking and business development.
Four students interviewed said they found Forbes to be an engaging speaker, though they had mixed feelings about his policy positions.
“I didn’t come because I agree with him, but he’s a very talented speaker,” Josh Clapper ’16 said.
The talk was part of the Irving Brown Lecture Series, which has brought conservative speakers such as Karl Rove and Ann Coulter to Yale since 2008. The event was sponsored by the Federalist Society at the Yale Law School, Young America’s Foundation, which brings conservatives to college campuses, and the William F. Buckley Jr. Program.
Forbes Magazine was founded in 1917 and publishes articles on business and politics, among other topics.