Utahns are being held hostage by ghosts in the form of excessive self-criticism and provincialism, and must change their attitudes if the economy is to improve, Utah's financial executives were told Saturday.
"The Utah economy in the next five to 10 years is going to be one where citizens create their own opportunities. It will not be an economy driven by a serendipity - by being fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time," said Stephen Nadauld, president of Weber State College."It will be an economy driven by your creativity, my creativity - your desire to build it or let it go. It will be up to us what happens to our economy."
The college administrator was one of several prominent Utahns from various professions to address the Utah Association of Financial Services annual conference Saturday. The meeting, which attracted executives from lending institutions, industrial loan corporations and banks from around the state, was held in Park City's Olympic Hotel.
Utah's economic future was a primary focus of discussion.
Utah, Nadauld said, is experiencing a post-energy economy that began in 1986 with a $450 million drop in oil production, and problems at Kennecott Copper Corp. and Geneva Steel.
"We used to talk about heavy industry. But for a while in this state the only heavy industry we had was the 300-pound Avon lady," the administrator said. "But we are starting to recover from the nose dive of 1986 and the tax increases that people are mildly upset about."
Looking ahead to 1989, Nadauld predicted that the economy will "flatten out." Construction continues to soften, retail trade is level, and corporate recruitment is status quo.
"There is still some out-migration. But our fertility rates are declining, so the growth in school population should level out by 1992," he said. Utah can expect growth in tourism, recreation and high-tech industries, but will be lucky to hold its position in the defense industry.
But, according to Nadauld, there is nothing on the horizon that will give Utah an economic boost, and if passed, the tax initiatives would deliver a severe blow to the state's economy.
To ensure a healthier economic future, Utahns, he advised, must "invest in our own people." Utahns need to change their attitudes, stop picking their scabs and create their own opportunities by escaping certain ghosts, he said.
One ghost, or problem, plaguing financial institutions - congressional regulations - was discussed in depth by George Sutton, commissioner of the Department of Financial Institutions.
They're regulations which Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said must be addressed in the next three weeks before Congress adjourns.
Hatch, another featured speaker at the conference, ditched a prepared text to answer questions ranging from, "Is Congress going to resolve the budget deficit?" to "Will the Dan Quayle controversy be resolved?"
"The Quayle issue won't end until the election," said a relaxed Hatch.
"I don't want to get into media bashing, but there is a difference between how Democrats and Republicans are treated by the press," the senator said, making reference to his own recent flap with the press. Speaking to a St. George audience two weeks ago, Hatch said Democrats are the party of homosexuals, the party of abortion.
Hatch, who continues to maintain he was quoted out of context, said he and the vice presidential candidate have both been treated unfairly by the press.
Wm. James Mortimer, who entertained those at the convention with humorous newspaper headlines, advertisements, cartoons and obituaries - stressed that freedom of the press is "a precious commodity."
"I hope that you will recognize that while we are far from perfect in the news business, we fill a vital role," said Mortimer, publisher of the Deseret News. "In a democracy, truth is necessary in order for there to be freedom."
The financial executives, whose economic woes were temporarily washed away by Mortimer's anecdotes, were told that nowhere else in the world but in newspapers will they get all the news - and then some.
"Television, with its visual impact, is important. And the radio's immediacy is sometimes very vital," the publisher said. "But all the words on a 30-minute newscast on television or radio, are about the same as the number of words on a front page only of a newspaper," Mortimer said.
"To become fully informed, people should read the newspaper."