Experts from across the political spectrum warned of the harmful consequences of unsustainable budget policies at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s annual fiscal summit Wednesday in Washington.
Those consequences include the risks of slower economic growth, lower living standards, inadequate funding for national priorities and much higher taxes in the future.
“Addressing our nation’s unprecedented and unsustainable long-term debt is critical to securing a strong, growing economy of the future,” said Peter G. Peterson, founder and chairman of the foundation.
Michael Peterson, the foundation’s president and CEO, said that in this election season “voters understand the importance of our national debt, and they are calling on candidates of both parties to secure America’s economic future.”
Speakers at the summit included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Budget Chair Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Keith Hall, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). A number of the speakers echoed the call for action to put the national debt on a sustainable path.
“Doing nothing is not an option, as your legacy would be to bequeath to the next generation a standard of living unworthy of this nation,” wrote Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director, in a “memo” to the next president and Congress.
Robert Reischauer, another former CBO director, said in his memo to the next president that “it is imperative that your first budget include a credible plan to address the projected increase in the deficit as you strive to fulfill your campaign promises.”
The Coalition for Fiscal and National Security, a bipartisan group of former national security officials, released a statement at the summit stating: “A strong economy and strong national security are tightly linked. Putting our debt on a sustainable course over the long term will lead to higher levels of economic growth, continued availability of resources to invest in our defense and our future, and a sustained leadership role for the United States in the world.”
(The Peterson Foundation provides funding for The Concord Coalition.)
2016 Fiscal Summit (Peterson Foundation)
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Presentation of CBO Director on Budget Outlook (CBO)
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