America’s Fiscal Future: Making Difficult Choices
July 21, 2010
University Club of Chicago, Michigan Room
76 E. Monroe
The MacArthur Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held a discussion with the co-chairs of the expert committee that produced the non-partisan report, Choosing the Nation’s Fiscal Future:
Dr. John Palmer
University Professor and Dean-Emeritus, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University Former Trustee for Medicare and Social Security
Dr. Rudolph Penner
Senior Fellow, Urban Institute Former Director, Congressional Budget Office
Patricia Widder, Moderator
Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune
Robert Gallucci, Introduction
President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Read introductory remarks.
Daniel Sullivan, Introduction
Executive Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Our government spends more money than it takes in; as a result, the nation’s debt is growing rapidly. The economic recession has worsened the current imbalance, but the real challenge is the long-term budget picture. With an aging population and rising health care costs, the nation’s debt is projected to increase sharply in the future.
Our debt is a burden that, if unchecked, poses a threat to the nation’s economic vitality. There are many options to put our fiscal future on a more stable path. Signaling our intent and taking steps soon will be less costly and difficult than acting later.
The federal budget is an expression of our priorities and our values as a nation. What are the goals we want the country to meet and the choices we must make? What happens if we do not address our fiscal challenge, and what will it mean for the country and for each of us?