A panel of experts on fiscal issues discussed solutions to the growing federal debt at a lunch program at the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County on Thursday, June 13.
The speakers were Paul Stebbins, executive chairman of the Board of World Fuel Services Corp.; Julio Fuentes, president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. The moderator was Phil Smith, director of government relations for Concord.
The Economic Forum of Palm Beach County hosted the program, “Fix the Debt and Why It Matters.” Its co-sponsors were the Campaign to Fix the Debt and Concord, two non-partisan organizations that work in Washington and around the country to help elected officials and the public better understand the need to put the government on a more responsible path. Stebbins and Fuentes are members of the Florida steering committee for Fix the Debt.
The discussion included the need for reforms in the federal entitlement programs, cuts in other spending programs, improvements in the health care system and changes in the tax code. As the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and other bipartisan organizations have shown, such a broad approach could eventually stabilize the federal debt.
The speakers also discussed the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the need to simultaneously address short-term economic concerns and longer-term fiscal challenges. For more background on these challenges, see fixthedebt.org and concordcoalition.org.
WHAT: “Fix the Debt and Why It Matters” forum
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 13
WHERE: Kravis Center, Cohen Pavilion, 701 Okeechobee Bvld., West Palm Beach, Fla.
Paul Stebbins is executive chairman of the board of World Fuel Services Corp.and has been an executive and director of the company since 1995. He was a co-founder of Trans-Tec Services, Inc., a global marine fuel services company acquired by World Fuel in 1995. Stebbins is also a director of First Solar, Inc.and a member of the Florida steering committee for Fix the Debt.
Julio Fuentes is the president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. After working on Wall Street for several years as an investment banker, he joined the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce as a membership specialist. Ranked as one of Florida’s 100 Most Influential Leaders by Florida Trend Magazine, Fuentes is also a member of the state steering committee for Fix the Debt.
Robert L. Bixby is executive director of The Concord Coalition and speaks around the country on the nation’s fiscal challenges and possible solutions to them. He has also served on the Bipartisan Policy Committee’s Debt Reduction Task Force. He has testified at congressional hearings and been interviewed by news organizations around the country on federal budget issues..
About the Host
Robert L. Bixby is executive director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that encourages fiscal responsibility in Washington and helps educate the public about the federal budget and the need to protect our children and future generations from excessive government debt.
Bixby joined Concord in 1992 and served in several positions, including policy director and national field director, before being named executive director in 1999. He has served as a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force (the Domenici-Rivlin commission), which produced a model plan for comprehensive fiscal reform.
He frequently speaks around the country on the nation’s fiscal challenges and possible bipartisan solutions, including greater government efficiency, tax reform and improvements in the entitlement program. He has testified at congressional hearings and been interviewed by news organizations around the country. Bixby has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN and Fox News.
He and The Concord Coalition’s “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” were also featured prominently in the critically-acclaimed documentary film “I.O.U.S.A.”
Bixby has a bachelor's degree in political science from American University, a juris doctorate from George Mason University School of Law, and a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Before joining Concord, he practiced law and served as the chief staff attorney of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.