America's Fiscal Future: Making Difficult Choices

July 21, 2010

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The MacArthur Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago present 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 is a University Professor and Dean-Emeritus at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Syracuse University Former Trustee for Medicare and Social Security.

Dr. Rudolph Penner is a Senior Fellow, and Urban Institute Former Director for the Congressional Budget Office.

Patricia Widder (Moderator) is on the Editorial Board for the Chicago Tribune.

Robert Gallucci (Introduction) is the President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Daniel Sullivan (Introduction) is the 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?

 

Recorded Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at University Club of Chicago.