Running on Empty : How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About
When George W. Bush came into office in 2001, the ten ' year budget balance was officially projected to be at a surplus of $5.6 trillion. But after three big tax cuts, the bursting of the stock market bubble, and the devastating effects of 9/11 on the economy, the surplus has evaporated, and the deficit is expected to grow to $5 trillion over the next decade. America was once the greatest creditor to nations around the globe; it is now the largest debtor in the world. And the domestic deficit is only half the story. Given our $500 billion trade deficit and our anemic savings rate, we depend on an unprecedented $2 billion of foriegn capital every working day. If foreign confidence were to wane, this could lead to a dreaded hard landing. President Bush says that the deficit is just ' numbers on paper. ' Vice President Cheney claims that Reagan proved ' deficits don't matter. ' Peter G. Peterson ' a lifelong Republican, chairman of the Blackstone Group, and former secretary of commerce under Nixon ' shatters the myths with hard facts and a harrowing view of the twin deficits' real impact.
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux
July 13, 2004
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Excerpt from Running on Empty by Peter G. Peterson
When the towers fell, I was out of town attending a corporate board meeting (which promptly adjourned) and spent the rest of the day watching cable news and trying to call my wife and family in Manhattan. Four days later, when I finally managed to get a plane home, I saw a New York-and an America-transformed. I saw parents doting on their kids and neighbors helping neighbors and college students lining up to donate blood and cars and streets in a sea of flags. Out of tears and tragedy there came a new sense of community purpose and determination. Like many Americans, I asked myself, Why can't citizenship in a great nation always be like this?
But within a few months our leaders had reverted to their old habits. The nastiness returned. It was business as usual-the same politicians leaping at each other's throats while saying nothing sensible about what America can do or be.