Despite clear danger and explicit warnings, the United States of Americadistracted by short-term challenges and its own political dysfunctionis steaming toward its own collision, one with long-term debt.
Philanthropist, businessman, and former secretary of commerce Peter G. Peterson argues that we can no longer ignore the long-term debt challenges facing our country, because our economic future depends on it. The gross federal debt now exceeds $17 trillion and it is expected to rise rapidly in the decades to come. If the growing gap between projected spending and revenues continues to widen, our federal debt is projected to soar to the highest levels in our nations historymore than four times its average over the past forty years. This growing debt and the associated interest costs divert resources away from important public and private investments that are critical to our global competitiveness, threatening our future economy.
Peterson has made it his lifes work to bring awareness to Americas key economic and fiscal challenges. He makes clear that if we continue to ignore Americas long-term debt, we will diminish economic opportunities for future generations, weaken our ability to protect the most vulnerable, and undermine the competitive strength of our businesses globally.
The drama-filled, economically damaging budget battles of the last few years have focused almost entirely on the short termputting aside the more difficult, but much more important, long-term issues. Peterson offers nonpartisan analysis of our economic challenges and a robust set of options for solving our long-term debt problems. He looks at the impact of aging baby boomers, growing healthcare costs, outdated military spending, a flawed tax code, and our divided political system. And he offers hopeful, durable, and achievable solutions for improving our fiscal outlook through a mix of progrowth reform options that would reduce government spending and increase revenue, and could be phased in gradually in the years to come.
Theres still time to restore the United States as a land of opportunity. Petersons diagnosis and recommendations can help us confront our fiscal reality, address our long-term debt, and steer the country safely toward a more secure and dynamic economic future.
PETER G. PETERSON is the founder and chairman of the nonpartisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which works to increase public awareness and accelerate action on the key fiscal challenges threatening Americas future. He is also the cofounder of The Blackstone Group, a former chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, a former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, founding chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, former secretary of commerce under President Richard Nixon, and former chairman and CEO of Bell and Howell company, among many other positions in the public and private sectors. He is the author of six previous books, including The Education of an American Dreamer and the bestseller Running on Empty. He lives in New York City.