News / USA

Business Leaders Warn of Unsustainable US Economy

Frank Wallace who is unemployed displays a sign during a "Vigil for the Unemployed" at the Arch Street Methodist Church in Philadelphia, 22 Nov 2010
Frank Wallace who is unemployed displays a sign during a "Vigil for the Unemployed" at the Arch Street Methodist Church in Philadelphia, 22 Nov 2010

A group of leading U.S. economists and business executives say the United States is on an unsustainable economic course, with ballooning interest costs to service the national debt depriving markets of needed investment capital.

Billionaire investment banker Pete Peterson told the forum that growing interest costs to service the national debt are depriving the United States of capital needed for research and development as well as infrastructure.  He said America is also spending more on health care, but getting less in return than other countries.

Peterson, who served as President Richard Nixon's Commerce Secretary, quoted a former colleague who said that if something is unsustainable it tends to stop. "Or, he said, 'if your horse dies, I suggest you dismount.'  Now, we keep behaving as though we can ride this horse more or less indefinitely," he stated.

Inaction not an option

The forum was held just hours after President Barack Obama's bipartisan deficit reduction commission released a recommendation for long-term tax increases and government spending cuts.   New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg announced support for the plan, saying inaction on America's debt crisis is not an option at this point.

Fred Smith, the CEO of global shipping giant FedEx, said he concurs. "This issue is going to be joined, and these unsustainable trends both on Medicare, the interest on the debt and so forth are going to stop.  It's only a question of whether we do it, or whether the market stops buying our bonds and funding our deficits," Smith said.

Smith recommended changing the country's corporate tax structure to favor industrial rather than financial activity.  This, he said, would create not only products, but jobs.

Carl Camden, CEO of Kelly Services, a global temporary help company, warned there will be no political will for deficit reduction unless America reduces its current high rate of unemployment.  He said high unemployment creates political instability that precludes structural changes, including higher taxes, needed to lower the deficit.

He too addressed the issue of health care, saying America needs a viable insurance program to remain competitive with other countries.  Camden said the current high cost of health insurance amounts to an employment tax. "If we don't solve the health care issue, if we allow it in particular to continue to drive up the cost of employment, it will be a rational decision of policy makers and companies to create jobs elsewhere," he said.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Michael Chesser, CEO of the Great Plains Energy Company, said the business community needs to not only address performance and tax issues, but to also inspire faith in the future based on what he called America's core competencies of innovation and entrepreneurship.

"We need to be thinking of the impact we're going to have on emerging countries, how the quality of life is going to improve as a result of what we're doing," Chesser says, "how we're going to close the gap between the haves and have-nots in our country; you know - to have a sense of a higher purpose."

Consequences of gerrymandering

President Obama's former director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orzag pointed to structural issues that he said are causing polarization in American politics that make it difficult to reach consensus about a solution.

"Including the unintended consequences of gerrymandering, including technological change in the media, including even the unintended consequences of airline deregulation and the reduction in transportation costs, which have made it easier for members of Congress to go home on weekends," Orzag said.

Gerrymandering is the redrawing of electoral districts to serve the needs of parties rather than voters.  

Orzag, noted the cost of solving America's economic problems will be less if they are addressed before they reach crisis proportions.  He said he remains hopeful solutions will be forthcoming before it's too late.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid