October 21, 2014

Manchester Forum Underscores Risks of Current Policies

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

David M. Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, warned at a New Hampshire forum on the federal debt Monday that the nation’s current fiscal policies would harm future generations of Americans.

“All we’re doing is setting up this big debt problem that’s going to fall on your kids and your grandkids, so they will never be able to live as well as you did,” Cote said. “That, to me, is unconscionable.”

Cote was joined at the forum by Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby, Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau,  State Senator Lou D’Allesandro, and Nashua businessman David Pastor. The program, held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, was co-sponsored by Concord and the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

Cote is a member of the national steering committee for Fix the Debt. He also served on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which produced a plan that would have reduced projected deficits by $4 trillion over 10 years – a goal he said would at least put the federal debt on a “downward-sloping path.”

Bixby emphasized the urgent need to reform the big federal entitlement programs. While these reforms can be phased in, he said, they must begin soon because of the rapidly growing number of retirees.

D’Allesandro, citing his experience as a state legislator, stressed the need for bipartisan compromise.  Mayor Lozeau sounded a similar theme, calling for “an honest discussion about what we can do to address these issues.”

Pastor said uncertainty about future federal policies can make consumers and businesses so cautious that it can slow the economy.

Concord and Fix the Debt will sponsor other programs around the country in the coming weeks. Alice Rivlin, former vice chair of the Federal Reserve and one of the nation’s leading experts on the federal budget, will headline two programs in Des Moines next Tuesday.