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Economic Leader Survey Findings
PETER G. PETERSON FOUNDATION
GSG conducted a survey among top economic leaders from the last
eight administrations and Congress between April 5 and April 23,
• Individuals who are currently serving public office were not solicited for
participation in accordance with the research design.
• Respondents completed the survey online and via the mail.
The 58 respondents who completed the survey are comprised of former:
– Secretaries of the Treasury
– Federal Reserve Presidents and members of the Board of Governors
– Directors of the Office of Management & Budget
– Chairs of the Council of Economic Advisors
– Directors of the Congressional Budget Office
– Senate Budget Committee Chairmen/Ranking Members
– House Budget Committee Chairmen/Ranking Members
– House Ways and Means Committee Chairmen/Ranking Members
For the purposes of analysis, respondents are assigned a party affiliation based
on their personal affiliation (if an elected official) or by the administration that
There is bipartisan consensus that we are heading for another major economic crisis if
action is not taken soon; unanimous agreement that the current fiscal path is
unsustainable and long term structural deficits threaten our economic future.
Do you agree or disagree that if we do not act soon to address the nation’s long term fiscal situation we are heading
for another major economic crisis?
AGREE AGREE DISAGREE
Republicans 63% 34% 2%
AGREE AGREE DISAGREE
Democrats 71% 24% 6%
•There is unanimous agreement (100% of both R’s and D’s strongly agree) that the federal government
is currently on an unsustainable fiscal path
•There is unanimous agreement that long-term structural deficits are more threatening to the country’s future than short
An overwhelming majority believes action is needed in the
short term to avoid another major crisis.
When should the U.S. government begin to take action to address the long term fiscal situation?
Within the next 1-2 years
Within the next 3-5 years
Within the next 6-10 0%
Majorities foresee high likelihood of rapid growth in spending,
rising interest rates and a lower standard of living in the U.S.
without addressing current structural deficit challenges.
If we fail to enact meaningful measures to address longer term structural deficit challenges within
the next few years, how likely is it that we will encounter…?
Rapid growth in fed spending 80%
Rise in interest rates 65%
Decline in U.S. stnd of living 53%
Decline in value of dollar 47%
Weakened U.S. standing as world leader 59%
Slower economic growth 41%
Foreign lenders losing confidence in U.S. 29%
Rise in inflation 22%
High unemployment 0%
Drop in housing prices 0%
Increase in foreclosures 0%
Bipartisan agreement that solutions to longer term structural
deficits include tax increases and spending cuts.
As you think about approaches to solve the country’s longer term structural deficits, which one statement best
represents your point of view?
spending cuts 88% Both
and tax spending cuts
increases and tax
Zero Republicans and Democrats believe we can
solve our problems without spending cuts
Indeed, there is more bipartisan agreement than dissention
on ways to address the country’s fiscal challenges.
For each of the following ways to address our country's long term fiscal challenges, do you believe it should be
seriously considered even if not politically popular or do you believe it should not even be considered?
Should be seriously considered, Should not
even if not politically popular be considered
Overall spending cuts
Entitlement reform – including Social Reps 97% 3%
Security, Medicare and Medicaid Dems 100%
Reform our federal tax code Dems 94% 6%
Re-impose statutory budget controls such as Reps 92% 8%
spending caps and stricter PAY-GO rules Dems 100%
Significant decreases Reps 95% 5%
in discretionary spending Dems 94% 6%
Reps 72% 28%
Dems 88% 12%
Reps 63% 37%
Find a new source of revenues Dems 88% 12%
Reps 56% 44%
Significant decreases in defense spending Dems 56% 44%