Steve Forbes discusses healthcare, taxes and value of the dollar

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor in Chief of Forbes Media, shakes hands with Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz prior to delivering the first Landon Lecture of 2015 Monday evening in McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

Thirty-seven years following Malcolm Forbes’ Landon Lecture at K-State, his son Steve Forbes, now chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Media, presented a Landon Lecture of his own.

He spoke to a packed crowd at McCain auditorium on Monday evening. Forbes said he was excited to come back to Manhattan as a Landon Lecture speaker, as he sees a lot of potential in Manhattan and K-State, as well as it is being a prestigious event.

“When they asked me to come and speak here I immediately said yes,” Forbes said. “I came here when I was a young man – it was certainly colder – and I remember how exciting it was to meet and take a picture with Gov. (Alfred) Landon.”

According to Forbes, Manhattan is a “happening place.”

“Manhattan has certainly changed a great deal,” Forbes said. “If I recall correctly, back then we flew into Kansas City and drove to Manhattan, now it’s more facilitated of course especially given how much economically and structurally the city has grown. As everyone knows, the town is centered around the university and as Kansas State grows with its strong research and its agriculture program, it all directly impacts everything in Manhattan.”

Given the university atmosphere of the lecture, Forbes gave some advice that he said he hopes current college students can take away from him.

“I would mainly just advise university students or anyone taking on economics or journalism to always have perseverance and to be willing to experiment with whatever they’ve got,” Forbes said. “Unfortunately, your best teacher is failure, but you’ve just got to learn all you can from it and try again. Also, another thing is to never try to emulate your predecessor, you just have to be able to innovate and create. I didn’t study economics, I decided to study history because I knew that you can learn more about the economy from history than economics itself. I learn from what people have done in the past and I build on it instead of trying to be like them.”

The lecture discussed what Forbes said he believes to be the three main talking points when it comes to the U.S. economy: healthcare, taxes and the value of the dollar.

Forbes said in his lecture that healthcare should be acquitted from total government control and instead be controlled partially by investors and some private sector companies as well. He also pressed on the same proposition for the value of the dollar being controlled by the Federal Reserve; and for taxes he proposed a flat tax rate and certain exemptions like for example middle class families be exempted for the first $52,000 in wages per year.

Just as almost any other Landon Lecture, the event drew a lot of attention around campus, especially from students specializing in economics or anywhere else in the world of business.

Matthew Beavers, freshman in business administration, said he benefited from learning Forbes’ point of view in regards to the current state of the U.S. economy.

“I think the key to having had a good lecture, was the fact that the speaker touched on a lot of very important issues and was able to make the lecture relatable, interesting, and easy to follow,” Beavers said. “I also think his insight on issues such as taxes, healthcare and currency value is very intriguing and bright and I enjoyed hearing his opinion on how our economy runs. I’m glad I was able to hear Steve Forbes speak here at K-State.”

Grant Srajer, sophomore in business administration, said the Landon Lecture series is an outstanding opportunity to learn from accomplished individuals such as Forbes who come here to talk to students about real world issues away from academics.

“I could only ask for more,” Srajer said. “I think the Landon Lecture series is an amazing opportunity to gain insight on how accomplished individuals such as Steve Forbes and his predecessors view the world around us from an economic and a political perspective.”

Srajer also said that he enjoyed the Forbes lecture as it was very entertaining and inspirational.

“I didn’t think it would be this fun, but there was a good deal of humor in the speech and it kept the topic lively and entertaining rather than being just basic informational economics talk,” Srajer said.