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Peter G. Peterson ’47, chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and chairman emeritus and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, spoke to a New York City audience at the March 10 IMPACT Series event.

Peter G. Peterson ’47, chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and chairman emeritus and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, spoke to a New York City audience at the March 10 IMPACT Series event.

Kellogg IMPACT Series — New York

Peter G. Peterson ’47 delivers ‘straight talk’ about the long-term ramifications of America’s budget deficit

By Kristina Cowan

3/21/2011 - As the U.S. budget deficit continues to rise, the outlook for future generations’ fiscal well-being continues to plummet. And it’s our job, as Americans, to address this issue before it’s too late.

That was the message shared by Peter G. Peterson ’47, chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and chairman emeritus and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, at the March 10 Kellogg IMPACT Series in New York City. Held in New York’s historic Metropolitan Club, the event was the third in this year’s series and drew more than 180 Kellogg alumni and friends. The event also featured remarks by Kellogg Dean Sally Blount and a networking reception.

In his address, “Straight Talk About the Budget Gap and What It Means for Our Future,” Peterson warned that future generations face disaster “unless we, as a country, change our ways and confront some of America’s long-term fiscal and debt challenges.”

Peterson noted that within 12 years, the federal budget’s biggest item will be interest payments on the national debt. Paying down this debt will prevent the country from productive investment and will make the nation dependent on foreign lenders, he said. To address this crisis, the country needs presidential and bipartisan congressional leadership and to put “everything … on the table,” he said, including benefit reductions, revenue increases, tax reforms that increase savings and a major public review of defense.

The U.S. must “confront these transcendent threats to our economy in a fair, compassionate and effective way,” before we force future generations to take on “massive, hidden debts and unthinkable taxes,” Peterson said.

The Kellogg IMPACT Series is an ongoing forum on the future of business, innovation, leadership and society held in cities worldwide. Upcoming events will take place in San Francisco on May 11 and in Hong Kong on June 3.