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The Nation’s Debt Crisis: A Presentation on the State of the Economy

CED, in partnership with The Southeast Regional Coalition of Business Councils: New Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard & Northshore hosted a luncheon entitled The Nation’s Debt Crisis: A Presentation on the State of the Economy and Discussion on Recommendations to Restore Fiscal Health at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Convening over 80 local and regional business leaders, policy advocates and local press, the luncheon featured welcoming remarks by Bob Brown [play video], Managing Director, Business Council of New Orleans and a keynote presentation by Joe Minarik [play part 1] [play part 2], Senior Vice President and Director of Research, CED, who shared his views on the need for national fiscal health with the Louisianan audience and spoke about the actions they might take to stave off an otherwise impending national economic crisis.

The forum also included a panel discussion led by moderator Clancy DuBos, journalist and Chairman and Co-owner of Gambit Communications, Inc.. Regional business leaders Jay Lapeyre [play video], President & CEO, The Laitram Corporation; CED Trustee Pres Kabacoff [play video], Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors & Chief Executive Officer, HRI Properties; and Dale Benoit [play video], President & CEO, Printall, Inc. expressed their views on the national budget deficit and why they as New Orleans business people consider the issue an important one.

Jay Lapeyere conveyed his belief that if “something can’t go on forever, it won’t” and that “you can’t spend your way into prosperity” – that the budget deficit problem is not something that can, or will, be outrun by economic growth alone. Pres Kabacoff agreed that the national debt is unsustainable, that the nation is headed for trouble, and expressed the need for national leaders to reach across the aisles to discuss the issue and find a solution. He called on business to “go talk to government,” to become involved in the very “important movement” to promote fiscal health, and articulated his hope that U.S. leadership will ultimately benefit from facing the national debt head-on.

Dale Benoit spoke about his experiences as a small business owner before Hurricane Katrina, how devastated his company and community were in the aftermath of the storm, and how much waste he’d seen as a direct result of mismanaged government intervention programs. He discussed how the region has a unique perspective of what happens when we “hit the wall” economically, because even though Katrina was a natural disaster, the sudden undependability of supplies and utilities is something that could occur should a financial catastrophe hit the nation. Finally, he called on the United States to be “good global citizens,” by making sure that we are financially stable and solvent in the years to come.

The forum ended with a question and answer session to allow audience members to interact with the program participants. It was hosted as part of CED’s Fiscal Health Initiative, an effort that seeks to engage current and future business leaders around the need for national fiscal health. It is funded by the generous support of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.