Growth and Fiscal Sustainability in a Changing Economy

May 23, 2017

A growing, thriving economy is a critical part of stabilizing our nation’s long-term fiscal imbalance. And stabilizing our increasing national debt is a critical part of achieving long-run economic growth. How do we balance these interacting priorities to generate successful and sustainable fiscal and economic health for America? How much growth is really possible? How does our rising national debt threaten the economy? What can policymakers do to generate sustainable growth that creates widely-shared economic opportunity for all Americans?

At the 2017 Fiscal Summit, president and CEO of Business Roundtable Josh Bolten, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu assessed the current state of America’s economic engine, and describe policies that will bolster innovation, sustainability, and competitiveness in a changing economy. CNBC's John Harwood moderated the panel.


Joshua Bolten

President and Chief Executive Officer, Business Roundtable

Joshua Bolten is president and chief executive officer of the Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies that generate $6 trillion in annual revenues and employ nearly 15 million people.

Before joining the BRT in January 2017, Bolten was managing director of Rock Creek Global Advisors, an international economic and regulatory policy consulting firm, which he co-founded in July 2011. Bolten spent the preceding two years at Princeton University as a visiting professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Bolten served in the White House under President George W. Bush as chief of staff (2006–09), director of the Office of Management and Budget (2003–06), and deputy chief of staff for policy (2001–03). For the preceding two years, he was policy director of the Bush 2000 presidential campaign.

In his nearly 20 years of government service, Bolten also held positions as general counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative, chief trade counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, and an attorney at the U.S. State Department. Bolten’s previous private sector experience includes work at Goldman Sachs in London and O’Melveny & Myers in Washington, D.C.

Bolten received his undergraduate degree from Princeton (1976) and his law degree from Stanford (1980). He is a member of the board of Emerson Electric Co. In the non-profit sector, he serves on the boards of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the ONE Campaign.

He is married to Ann Kelly Bolten, and they live in Chevy Chase, MD, with their sons, Gage and Eli.

Jason Furman

Former chairman, Council of Economic Advisers 2013–2017

Jason Furman joined the Peterson Institute for International Economics as senior fellow in January 2017. He served as a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama during the previous eight years, including as the 28th chair of the Council of Economic Advisers from August 2013 to January 2017, acting as both Obama’s chief economist and a member of the cabinet. Furman played an important role in most of the major economic policies of the Obama administration. In addition, Furman helped make the Council of Economic Advisers a thought leader on a wide range of topics including labor markets, competition policy, and macroeconomics.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Furman held a variety of public policy and research posts. In public policy, Furman worked at both the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council during the Clinton administration and at the World Bank. In research, Furman was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He has served in visiting positions at various universities, including New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy, and has conducted research in a wide range of areas, such as fiscal policy, tax policy, health economics, Social Security, and domestic and international macroeconomics. Furman has authored numerous articles in scholarly journals and periodicals and is the editor of two books on economic policy. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Mitch Landrieu

Mayor of New Orleans; Vice President, U.S. Conference of Mayors

Mitch Landrieu was sworn in as the 61st mayor of New Orleans on May 3, 2010, with a clear mandate to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in New Orleans. On February 1, 2014, Mayor Landrieu was overwhelmingly reelected to a second term. He is the first mayor in the city to be elected by majorities of both white and African-American voters, a feat he accomplished twice.

Under Landrieu, New Orleans has become America’s best comeback story and one of the fastest-growing major cities in America. Since 2010, New Orleans has been ranked as the #1 metropolitan area for overall economic recovery by the Brookings Institution and as America’s Best City for School Reform by the Fordham Institute. Now, the city is continuing to progress toward its 300th anniversary in 2018.

As mayor, Landrieu committed to increase public safety by reforming the New Orleans Police Department and launching NOLA FOR LIFE, a comprehensive strategy to tackle the city’s historically high murder rate. There are early signs of progress — violent crime is trending down, and 2014 saw the lowest number of murders in 43 years.

Landrieu took office facing a nearly $100 million mid-year budget hole, about 20 percent of City Hall’s overall budget, that he closed by cutting smart and reorganizing city services. Today, the city is seeing unprecedented sales and property tax growth. The city has also leveraged over $100 million in private, philanthropic, and federal grant funds for key priorities. Under his leadership, the city also secured over a billion new dollars from FEMA for critical infrastructure and capital improvements to get New Orleans’s recovery going, including new funds for road and drainage projects, park and playground renovations, and new criminal justice facilities.

Prior to becoming mayor, Landrieu served as Louisiana’s lieutenant governor for six years and represented the Broadmoor neighborhood in the Louisiana House of Representatives for 16 years.

John Harwood, Editor at Large, CNBC

John Harwood is editor at large for CNBC covering Washington and hosts the CNBC Digital original video series “Speakeasy with John Harwood.”

Harwood was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in the Maryland suburbs outside of the nation’s capital. He has been around journalism and politics all his life; his first trip on a presidential campaign press plane came when he was 11 years old and accompanied his father, then a political reporter for The Washington Post.

While still in high school, he began his journalism career as a copy boy at The Washington Star. He studied history and economics at Duke University and graduated magna cum laude in 1978. Harwood subsequently joined The St. Petersburg Times, reporting on police, investigative projects, local government and politics. Later he became state capital correspondent in Tallahassee, Washington correspondent and political editor. While covering national politics, he also traveled extensively to South Africa, where he covered deepening unrest against the apartheid regime.

In 1989, Harwood was named a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, where he spent the 1989–90 academic year. In 1991, he joined The Wall Street Journal as White House correspondent, covering the administration of George H. W. Bush. Later Harwood reported on Congress. In 1997, he became The Wall Street Journal’s political editor and chief political correspondent.

While at The Wall Street Journal, Harwood wrote the newspaper’s political column, “Washington Wire,” and oversaw the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. In March 2006, he joined CNBC as chief Washington correspondent.

In addition to CNBC, Harwood offers political analysis on NBC and NPR, among others. Harwood has covered each of the last nine presidential elections.

Follow John Harwood on Twitter: @johnjharwood.

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