2019 Fiscal Summit: Building America's Future | Peter G. Peterson Foundation


2019 Fiscal Summit Video

Building America’s Future

Americans care deeply about the future of our country. We aspire to live in a nation with widespread opportunity, a positive leadership role in the world, and a bright future for generations to come.

Amid the debate over national priorities, one thing is certain: to build America’s future, our nation will need significant resources. Fiscal sustainability is critical to meeting our challenges over the long term — it represents the foundation for our ability to address the needs and ambitions of our society.

However, there is real concern across America that we are not on the right course. Now and over the coming decades we face many critical, interconnected challenges, including: rising inequality, unaffordable healthcare, a changing climate, faltering infrastructure, failing education, and new and unpredictable security threats. Americans’ concerns about these issues are rising, while our fiscal condition and ability to address them are falling.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2019 Fiscal Summit: Building America’s Future brought together leaders, experts and policymakers to discuss how to build a sustainable fiscal future to put America on a path for prosperity, leadership and growth. Our nation’s future is at stake, and we owe it to coming generations to set a stronger, smarter and more responsible foundation for the future of America.


All times in ET

8:20 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Michael A. Peterson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

Watch the Video | Read the Transcript

8:30 am

Congressional Leaders: Budget and Tax Policy to Meet America's Priorities

Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), Ranking Member, U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means

Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) , Chairman, U.S. Committee on the Budget

Interviewer: Heather Long, Economics Correspondent, The Washington Post

In back-to-back interviews, two of the nation’s most prominent and consequential voices on budget and tax policy will discuss their approach and ideas for shaping America’s fiscal future. As we approach $1 trillion annual deficits, Chairman Yarmuth and Ranking Member Brady will share views on policy proposals that reflect America’s priorities while putting our nation on a more sustainable fiscal path, better positioned to meet our most pressing challenges.

Watch Rep. Kevin Brady | Read the Transcript

Watch Rep. John Yarmuth | Read the Transcript

9:00 am

Rising Debt in a Growing Economy: Perspectives on America's Fiscal and Economic Dynamic

Olivier Blanchard, C. Fred Bergsten Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Beth Ann Bovino, Managing Director and U.S. Chief Economist, S&P Global Ratings Services

Kent Smetters, Boettner Chair Professor, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Moderator: Greg Ip, Chief Economics Commentator, The Wall Street Journal

America’s economy continues on a lengthy expansion, with low unemployment and interest rates. At the same time, our national debt is at historically high levels, with deficits projected to rise rapidly and indefinitely into the future. Shedding light on the relationship between debt, deficits, interest rates and economic growth, leading macroeconomists will offer perspectives on this unusual fiscal and economic dynamic — offering policy prescriptions to navigate the present and prepare for the future.

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10:00 am


10:30 am

View From The Speaker's Office: An Interview With Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) U.S. House of Representatives

Interviewer: Manu Raju, Senior Congressional Correspondent, CNN

In this one-on-one interview, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will discuss the legislative landscape, including policies to address a range of important challenges — such as climate change, infrastructure and healthcare access — while also finding ways for Congress to pay for its priorities. She will offer her perspective on a number of key fiscal policy deadlines later this year, including required action on the debt ceiling and discretionary funding in order to avoid another government shutdown.

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11:00 am

From One Generation to the Next: Our Fiscal and Economic Legacy

Lanhee J. Chen, David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

William Gale, Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy, Director, Retirement Security Project, Co-Director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, The Brookings Institution

Heidi Heitkamp, Former U.S. Senator, North Dakota (2013-2019)

James Poterba, President, National Bureau of Economic Research; Mitsui Professor of Economics, MIT

Moderator: Ylan Q. Mui, Reporter, CNBC

Younger generations are coming of age in a culture of debt — saving less, accumulating greater personal and student debt — while also experiencing less economic growth and mobility than the post-war generation. In addition, these younger Americans will bear the burden of caring for aging parents who will face their own retirement security challenges and navigate a highly inefficient healthcare system. As Baby Boomers retire and our fiscal outlook worsens, what kind of fiscal and economic legacy will we be passing on to younger generations? A panel of experts will offer insights on ways to understand, mitigate and prepare for this complex intergenerational dynamic.

Watch the Video | Read the Transcript

11:40 am


12:00 pm

Building The Future For a Changing Nation

William H. Frey, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution

Heather Hahn, Senior Fellow, Center for Labor, Human Services, and Population, Urban Institute

Philip N. Jefferson, Centennial Professor of Economics, Swarthmore College

Margaret Spellings, Senior Consultant, Texas 2036

Moderator: Stef W. Kight, Reporter, Axios

America is in the midst of sweeping demographic changes, and will be a much older and more diverse nation by 2050. In addition, social, economic and technological changes will reshape the domestic and global economy. At a time when we face myriad critical challenges, how can we secure our country’s leading economic role and ensure well-being for succeeding generations? This expert panel will include an in-depth look at current demographic trends and an exploration of rising socioeconomic concerns including inequality and opportunity, and the key policy areas to address these structural changes for a stronger future for America.

Watch the Video | Read the Transcript

12:40 pm


1:10 pm

View From The West Wing: The Administration's Perspectives and Priorities

Mick Mulvaney, Acting White House Chief of Staff

Interviewer: Eamon Javers, Washington Correspondent, CNBC

As both Acting Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney is uniquely positioned to impact the White House policy agenda. In this interview, Mulvaney will discuss the administration’s priorities at a key moment of economic growth and rising deficits, with an election year rapidly approaching.

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1:40 pm

CBO's Critical Role

Phillip Swagel, Director, Congressional Budget Office

In his first public appearance since becoming Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Phillip Swagel will discuss CBO’s commitment to providing objective, non-partisan information to support the budget process and to help the Congress make effective budget and economic policy.

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2:00 pm

Up to Us: A Rising Generation of Leaders

Up to Us is a nationwide, campus-based movement fueled by students who recognize how the nation’s fiscal condition shapes their future opportunities. Through creative campaigns at colleges and universities throughout the country, emerging leaders power the Up to Us movement by educating and engaging their peers about the relationship between America’s growing debt and the economy they will enter. Michael Peterson will recognize winners from this year’s annual campus competition.

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2:30 pm

Solutions Initiative 2019: Charting a Sustainable Future

Jason J. Fichtner, Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center

Gordon Gray, Director of Fiscal Policy, American Action Forum

Seth Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Thea Lee, President, Economic Policy Institute

Brian Riedl, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Ben Ritz, Director of the Center for Funding America's Future, Progressive Policy Institute

Alan D. Viard, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Moderator: Jeff Holland, Vice President of Research, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

The Solutions Initiative brings together leading think tanks from across the political spectrum to put forward comprehensive plans to set America on a stronger, more sustainable fiscal path. This special session will be an opportunity to learn more about the initiative and to interact directly with the plans’ authors about their policy choices, recommendations and tradeoffs.

Watch the Video

2019 Fiscal Summit Materials

Building America's Future

Americans overwhelmingly agree that managing our debt is a key part of our ability to address a range of complex, interconnected challenges affecting our nation’s future.

See The Infographic

Solutions Initiative 2019

Leading policy organizations from across the political spectrum put forward comprehensive plans to put America on a stronger, more sustainable fiscal path.

Learn More

2019 Press Release

“Concerns about our nation’s most pressing challenges are rising, while our ability to address them is falling,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

Read More

Participant Biographies

See the full schedule and panel descriptions for the 2019 Fiscal Summit.

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This set of charts frames the fiscal outlook within a broad economic, political, and demographic context.

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Read the bios for all of the speakers and moderator appearing at the 2019 Fiscal Summit.

Download (PDF)


2019 Fiscal Summit

Building America's Future

The tenth-annual Fiscal Summit convened voices from across the political and ideological spectrum to explore the connection between fiscal sustainability and America’s ability to meet its most critical challenges.

2018 Fiscal Summit

Debt Matters

The ninth-annual Fiscal Summit convened voices from across the political and ideological spectrum to examine the urgent need for a fiscal reset that puts America on a sustainable course for economic growth and prosperity.

2017 Fiscal Summit

Rising Debt in a Changing Economy

The 2017 Fiscal Summit convened leading voices and policymakers from across the political spectrum to discuss the legislative agenda, its connection to our growing national debt, and solutions to put us on a better path.

2016 Fiscal Summit

Leadership for a Secure Future

The 2016 Fiscal Summit provided a national platform for essential election-year conversations.

2015 Fiscal Summit

Opportunity for America

With progress made, but serious work still to be done, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation held its sixth-annual Fiscal Summit, titled "Opportunity for America" on May 19, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

2014 Fiscal Summit

Our Economic Future

The 2014 Fiscal Summit explored what we, as a nation, have to gain if we act now to strengthen our fiscal foundation; promote a growing, thriving economy; and ensure that our future isn’t diminished by our past.

2013 Fiscal Summit

Facing the Future

Despite a challenging political environment, the opportunity remains for the U.S. to solve its long-term debt problem and position the nation for future economic success and a continued leadership in the world.

2012 Fiscal Summit

America's Case for Action

With a national election that fall, and critical fiscal deadlines at the end of the year, policymakers faced a prime opportunity to set America on a fiscally sustainable path.

2011 Fiscal Summit

Solutions for American's Future

By convening leaders from across the ideological spectrum to discuss concrete budget plans, the 2011 Summit was an important step in working toward bipartisan fiscal solutions that help preserve the American Dream for future generations.

2010 Fiscal Summit

America's Challenge and a Way Forward

The Fiscal Summit brought together hundreds of prominent stakeholders from across the political spectrum with diverse ideas on how to address critical fiscal issues, while continuing to meet the priorities of the American people.