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Newport Seminar Touches on 2013 Economic Forecast

Politics and predictions were offered at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce's 2013 Economic Forecast seminar.

Experts and community business leaders gathered Friday to discuss the economic outlook for Newport Beach in 2013.

The seminar was light on specifics but heavy on politics. Hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the seminar was held Friday at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Congressman John Campbell (R-Irvine) was among the event’s speakers and offered some political predictions for the Nov. 6 election.

“Right now I think Mitt Romney wins, that’s if the election were held today,” Campbell said. “If it were done right now, he would win rather comfortably.”

While Campbell said things change quickly in the world of politics, he feels President Barack Obama’s message has not offered many details.

“All I’ve heard is Obama saying they are going to move forward and finish what they started,” Campbell said. “That doesn’t say much.”

At the local level, Campbell said city governments will go one of two ways.

"There will be those that reform the employee pension programs into defined contributions, and those that will go bankrupt," he predicted.

Andrew Policano, dean of UC Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business, spoke about the state of the economy.

He said the unemployment rate in Orange County is about 7.8 percent, which is similar to the rest of the country.

He also noted that government spending is over $3.5 trillion, which he referred to as a "heck of a lot of money."

"Under anybody’s plan everybody's taxes will be going up," Policano said. "I'm certain about that."

The seminar concluded with David Young, founder of the Anfield Group, who encouraged the attendees to think about investment strategies.

“Take advantage of the low prices and low mortgage rates, although it’s hard to get a loan its," Young said. "Buying a house is looking like an attractive investment opportunity again."

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