'Fiscal Summit' Focuses on Debt, Need for Sustainability

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Leading policymakers in both parties, business leaders and prominent experts on the federal budget generally agreed at a Washington policy forum Tuesday that the United States faces difficult fiscal challenges and should act soon to deal with them.

 “Addressing our nation’s unprecedented and unsustainable debt is critical to securing a strong, growing economy of the future,” said Pete Peterson, founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which presented the day-long program entitled “2017 Fiscal Summit: Rising Debt in a Changing Economy.” It was the foundation’s eighth annual fiscal summit.

Like many others who spoke on Tuesday, Peterson expressed concern at Washington’s failure to put the country on a more sustainable path. A continued failure to act, he said, would have “an enormous negative effect on the future of this country.”

The summit focused on the rising federal debt, the changing economy, and related issues and policy prescriptions.

“As Congress and a new administration explore major changes in key areas — health care, taxes, infrastructure, trade and more — our fiscal condition is as important as ever,” said Michael A. Peterson, president and CEO of the Peterson Foundation. “America’s fiscal outlook is connected to all these issues because our national debt threatens our economy and weakens our ability to address our most important budget priorities.”

On the positive side, he and others at the summit pointed out that there are an array of possible solutions for policymakers to consider. In addition, people in both parties discussed some areas of broad agreement and the possibilities for bipartisan cooperation on issues such as tax reform.

The names of the panelists and interviewees, along with videos of their programs, are available on the Peterson Foundation’s website.

Pete Peterson is a co-founder of The Concord Coalition, which receives financial support from the Peterson Foundation.

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