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Confronting Economic Meltdown

The New America Foundation's Smart Globalization Initiative and Next Social Contract Initiative cordially invite you and your colleagues to an important national policy forum.

The following are highlights of the event, while video of the full discussion can be viewed at right.

Steve Clemons

  • “Given the economic meltdown today…we ought to consider the interests of various partners in the global economy.”
  • “What are the responsible roles and intermingling interests in the world economy?”

Frank Micciche

  • “There are rights and responsibilities that each sector of society has and must uphold.”
  • “Senator McCain has talked about a broken social contract between Wall Street, the public, and the federal government.”

Leo Hindery

  • “The theme that we have to begin to explore is, ‘What now?’”
  • “These solutions…are the most expensive combined bailout in American history. They will sharply curtail the next president’s objectives, either cutting taxes or increasing spending.”
  • “In today’s financial markets, the complexity is so great, the products so untested…that no amount of modeling could help us predict what has happened.”
  • On the one-bailout-at-a-time approach: “You can only stick so many fingers and toes in the dike before you realize that the land you’re trying to save is already underwater.”
  • “The American people must be informed that the cost of these bailouts will compete with other desired policies.”
  • “As we negotiate the terms of this bailout…the Congress must find the courage to ensure new infrastructure spending.”

The Hon. Walter Jones

  • Paraphrasing Pat Buchanan: “Any great nation that has to borrow money from foreign governments to pay its bills will not long be a great nation.”
  • “The next president must understand that this country must have a period of time to…rebuild itself. We don’t have the luxury to police the world.”
  • “Those of us elected in 1994, the Contract with America, we forgot the mission we were on.”
  • “This country cannot come back to being the strong nation it has been unless we regain honesty and integrity.”
  • “The next president…must start, the day he is sworn in, being totally honest with the American people.”
  • “I do not believe that we have the luxury of time.”
  • “We cannot continue the way we’re going if we’re just a service economy.”
  • “There are those in both parties that are desperately concerned about where this country’s going.”
  • “Let’s get out of the ditch and get onto the right road.”

Heidi Crebo-Rediker

  • “While we remain the sole military superpower, we’ve taken our eye off the ball where our other superpower strengths may have been threatened.”
  • “It’s not a call to abandon free market capitalism…to be protectionist…to limit foreign capital.”
  • “Should we applaud or should we fear a world where the majority of growth is coming from emerging economies, many of them with very different economic models from our own?”
  • “What happened over this past week to US capitalism is truly historic.”
  • “What is the appropriate role of the government in US capitalism? Other countries have been having that conversation for a long time.”

Sherle Schwenninger

  • “The trillion-dollar rescue plan will not be enough…to produce a sustained economic growth recovery.”
  • “We’re not going to be able to depend on a robust consumer for some time.”
  • “[Households] will have to rebuild their balance sheets at a time when wages are stagnant and credit has dried up.”
  • “We’re going to need a new kind of economic recovery that’s much different than ay that came before.”
  • “Add a trillion dollars for a public infrastructure-led economic recovery…that will create jobs, increase productivity, and lay the foundations for a reinvigorated economy.”

Tom Gallagher

  • “De-leveraging is a major headwind for the US economy now.”
  • “De-leveraging makes this an atypical slowdown, which means we have to have atypical policy solutions.”
  • "We need to throw out the textbooks and instead break out the history books.”
  • “One solution is to move private-sector losses to the public-sector balance sheet, as unpalatable as that is.”

Allan Mendelowitz

  • “The Bush administration, which took office as social conservatives, is now leaving as conservative socialists.”
  • “Despite the ideological approach to economics that this administration has taken, it never forgot the chief lesson of the Great Depression: that government inaction can turn a financial crisis into an economic meltdown.”
  • “One of the most dismaying things about the administration’s response to this crisis is the lack of any policy context.”
  • “What we need is a policy context in which the government will play a large and important role in managing the health of the economy.”

Senator Byron Dorgan

  • “‘Onward through the fog’ seemed like an apt description to me of where we are now.”
  • “I don’t believe that we should be stampeded here.”
  • “We shouldn’t rush to a judgment of something so important, with such profound consequences.”

Ralph Gomory

  • “The lack of policy direction, the lack of clear purpose…are present in our whole economic structure.”
  • “If we continue with our current economic policies, I believe that standards of living will soon decline for the American people.”
  • “From the point of view of a country, profit is a very powerful means, not an end.”
  • “The last three decades are a testament to our progress in enriching the few, not the many.”
  • “Unless we address the divergence of corporate and national goals…this country faces a very uncertain future.”
  • “There is no one free market, and some free markets will produce better outcomes than others.”

Harold Meyerson

  • “Behind the crisis of subprime mortgages, there has been the crisis of subprime incomes.”

Bruce Stokes

  • “We are the most optimistic people in the world. We cannot build this new economy on pessimism.”

Douglas Rediker

  • “This is the single most ideological administration that one could point to, and yet it is presiding over the greatest shift towards state capitalism…in recent memory.”
  • “There are certain conditions that are above ideology.”
  • “Scale is important because of one word: ‘trillions.’ In Britain, they don’t even have a word for trillion—they call it a ‘thousand billion.’”

Senator Fritz Hollings

  • “What did Henry VI say? Kill all the lawyers? Well let’s kill all the economists. They’re just glorified lobbyists.”
  • “Get out of the Afghanistan and the Iraq wars, and get into the trade war.”

Michael Lind

  • “Junk the borrow-and-consume model in favor of the invest-and-produce model.”

Pat Choate

  • “The foundation of a national infrastructure project is a solid, forward-looking, well thought-out capital budget.”
  • “We should set a goal: if an application goes into the patent office, it should come out within six months.”


124 Dirksen Senate Office Building, U.S. Senate
Washington, DC
See map: Google Maps


8:30 am
Registration & Coffee

9:00 am
Welcoming Remarks

Leo Hindery
Managing Director, InterMedia Partners
Former CEO, AT&T Broadband and Yankee Entertainment & Sports Network
Chairman, Smart Globalization Initiative, New America Foundation

Steve Clemons
Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
Publisher, The Washington Note

Frank Micciche
Next Social Contract Initiative, New America Foundation
Former Director, State-Federal Relations, Office of Governor Mitt Romney

9:15 am
Opening Keynotes

The State of the American Economy:
Comments on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Facing America, Inc.

The Honorable Walter Jones (R-NC-3)
Member, Armed Services Committee
Member, Financial Services Committee
United States House of Representatives

9:45 am
Framing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis for the United States

Heidi Crebo-Rediker
Co-Director, Global Strategic Finance Initiative, New America Foundation
Former Managing Director/Head of European Debt Capital Markets, Bear Stearns
Former Managing Director/Head of Emerging Markets/Debt Capital Markets (focus Russia), Lehman Brothers

10:00 am
A Crippled Financial Sector, High Consumer Debt, Massive Trade Deficits:
Is America So Far in a Hole it Can't Dig Out? What Options for Recovery?

Leo Hindery
Managing Director, InterMedia Partners
Former CEO, AT&T Broadband and Yankee Entertainment & Sports Network
Chairman, Smart Globalization Initiative, New America Foundation

Sherle Schwenninger
Director, Economic Growth Program and Co-Director, Smart Globalization Initiative, New America Foundation
Co-author with Bernard Schwartz, An Economic Recovery Program for the Post-Bubble Economy

Tom Gallagher
Senior Managing Director, International Strategy and Investment (ISI) Group
Former regular panelist, "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street"
Former Managing Director/Political Economist, Lehman Brothers

Allan I. Mendelowitz
Member, Board of Directors and former Chairman of the Board, Federal Housing Finance Board
Former Executive Director, US Trade Deficit Review Commission
Former Executive Vice President, Export-Import Bank of the United States

11:00 am
Face Off with State Capitalism and Mercantilism:
Benchmarking the Interests of the American Worker, the Corporation, and the American State

Ralph Gomory
Former Director of Research and Senior Vice President for Science and Technology, IBM
President Emeritus, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Member, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
Research Professsor, New York University
Recipient, National Medal of Science
Advisor to Smart Globalization Initiative, New America Foundation

Harold Meyerson
Columnist, The Washington Post
Editor at Large, The American Prospect

Douglas Rediker
Co-Director, Global Strategic Finance Initiative, New America Foundation
Former Senior Investment Banker and Private Equity Investor with Salomon Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers

Bruce Stokes
Economics Columnist, National Journal
Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund

12:15 pm
Lunch Provided

Negligence at the Helm: What it Will Take to Revitalize the American Economy

The Honorable Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC)
Former United States Senator
Former Chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation
Former Chairman, Senate Committee on the Budget
Author, Making Government Work

Michael Lind
Whitehead Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Contributor, Next Social Contract Initiative, New America Foundation
Author, American Way of Strategy: US Foreign Policy and the American Way of Life
Author, The American Social Contract: A Promise to Fulfill

Pat Choate
Director, Manufacturing Policy Project
Author, Dangerous Business: The Risk of Globalization for America
Author, America in Ruins: The Decaying Infrastructure

Event Time and Location

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 9:30am - 2:45pm