Washington's impact on the local economy; media experts weigh in

Apr 13, 2017
Originally published on April 13, 2017 4:38 pm

The impact of changing policies at the federal level on the local economy was the subject of a downtown luncheon meeting Thursday at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

It was organized by the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation.

It featured two media experts via Skype: David Brancaccio of  APM’s Marketplace Morning Report, which is heard weekdays at 6:50 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. on WXXI and Susan Page, Washington Bureau chief for USA Today.

They talked about a variety of fast moving stories coming out of Washington, including the administration’s policies on regulatory reform and foreign labor.

Brancaccio says changes in technology are also causing major disruption in the economy in a number of ways.

“Already something is different; used to be technology encroached in the lower end jobs, the low skill jobs; what’s been happening recently is that technology is encroaching on the middle skill jobs and some of the higher skill jobs.”

Brancaccio also talked about reporting he has been doing on 'robot-proof jobs,' and mentioned jobs like entrepreneurs,  teachers and people in the arts whose tasks  cannot  easily be done solely by technology.

Page says whatever impacts come down from Washington; it doesn't appear they will happen in a bi-partisan fashion, with both sides dug in right now in their positions.

“What we found is that base Democratic voters are in no mood to compromise with Donald Trump; Democrats who dare to do that will get punished at home, and so I think the prospects for significant bipartisan action on almost anything is pretty remote until at least after the mid-term elections next year.”

Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, who is president of the RDDC, says changes in Washington could affect downtown development as well, but she also says there is a lot of momentum in Rochester that will move forward in any case.

“I do think there’s a potential for tremendous impact, I also think we have a lot bubbling in our own economy that’s going to move forward regardless…all sorts of issues about H-1B visa employees in the tech world, about tax code policy that could end up influencing business decisions in a good way, depending.”

The session was moderated by WXXI's Connections host, Evan Dawson, and it included questions from the audience concerned about a variety of topics, everything from globalization to the impact of the French presidential election.