America's Fiscal and Economic Outlook: Where Do We Go From Here? | Peter G. Peterson Foundation


America’s Fiscal and Economic Outlook:

Where Do We Go From Here?

We asked twelve leading experts with diverse views from across the political spectrum to share their perspectives on the opportunities, challenges, and way forward for America’s economic and fiscal future. Their insightful observations and proposed policy solutions are set forth below:

The Fiscal and Economic Experts

Wendy Edelberg

Director of the Hamilton Project

Brookings Institution

Smart Fiscal Policies for a Better Future

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William Gale

Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy

Brookings Institution

The Economic and Fiscal Road Ahead

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Zhengyang Jiang

Assistant Professor of Finance

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

A Valuation Approach to Government Balance Sheet

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James Poterba

President and CEO

National Bureau of Economic Research

Long-Term Fiscal Balance and the Social Security Trust Fund

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Brian Riedl

Senior Fellow

Manhattan Institute

Fix Social Security and Medicare to Protect Other Priorities

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Sita Slavov

Professor of Public Policy

Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Policy Makers Should Act Now to Address the Long-Term Fiscal Imbalance

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Marc Sumerlin

Managing Partner

Evenflow Macro

Fiscal Space for Future Generations

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Diane Swonk

Chief Economist

Grant Thornton

Through the Looking Glass: The Reverse World of the Pandemic Economy

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Dana M. Peterson and Lori Esposito Murray

Dana M. Peterson

Chief Economist & Center Leader of Economy, Strategy & Finance

The Conference Board

Lori Esposito Murray

President, Committee for Economic Development

The Conference Board

Debt Matters

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Jason J. Fichtner and Shai Akabas

Jason J. Fichtner

Vice President and Chief Economist

Bipartisan Policy Center

Shai Akabas

Director of Economic Policy

Bipartisan Policy Center

A Path to Economic Prosperity

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Questions for the Experts

We asked each expert to respond to the same set of three questions, encouraging them to focus on areas of expertise, and what they viewed as the most important parts of the policy discussion.

  1. How does America’s unsustainable, long-term fiscal outlook impact our economy, budget, risk exposure, and global leadership position?
  2. The pandemic has exposed a range of new and longstanding concerns about disparities in economic security and opportunity across the nation. Looking ahead, how does our long-term fiscal outlook threaten vulnerable populations, and how can fiscal policy help address this core challenge of capitalism?
  3. America faces a range of significant, ongoing challenges that will require resources, including climate change, health and retirement security, evolving global threats, and infrastructure needs here at home. What is the best way to build a sustainable fiscal outlook, while also enabling the U.S. to have the resources it needs to address its greatest challenges over the long run?

A note from Michael Peterson

Chairman and CEO of the Peterson Foundation

With our economy in recovery, our debt rising unsustainably, and our nation still grappling with a devastating pandemic, America faces many critical questions for its future. Where do we go from here?

To help illuminate and improve the understanding of this important moment, the Peterson Foundation has convened twelve leading experts to share their views on the answer to this fundamental question. These outstanding authors bring a range of diverse viewpoints and deep experience, providing creative and thoughtful solutions to help guide citizens and policymakers through this uniquely challenging time.

The pandemic not only accelerated our existing fiscal challenges significantly, it exposed longstanding inequities in our society. A secure fiscal foundation is a necessary part of addressing this core challenge of capitalism, yet our budget remains on a dangerously unsustainable path. Further, America will face a range of evolving known and unknown future threats that will challenge coming generations — we should not also burden them with paying for the problems of the past.

In the wake of the COVID crisis, we have an important responsibility to examine, with clear eyes, our fiscal and economic condition and what steps we need to take to ensure broad based prosperity for the future. These respected experts outline a range of recommendations for making America more prepared and better positioned for growth, with the resources we need to confront the challenges of tomorrow. In doing so, they light a path to building the inclusive and moral economy that the next generation deserves.

Read the essays from past Expert Views