Anheuser-Busch Briefing Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H St NW, Washington, D.C.
Registration and Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Forum for Innovation is proud to offer the latest in research from a number of notable thought leaders. Discover a variety of topics including transportation, austerity, women in business, tourism and healthcare.
As the world becomes increasingly more complex and connected, American leaders and businesses have a unique advantage. Unlike our global counterparts, we are pioneering a path of abundance. Beyond increased technology—which holds the ability to radically transform lives and marketplaces—abundance is also embodied in a positive mind-set and in available talent, resources, and know-how integral to the American character. What does abundance mean for our nation’s future, and what levers can be used to shape abundant outcomes in healthy and rewarding ways?
As Americans, we are enchanted with the idea of abundance. We like to strive for big goals, live expansively, and demand more results. Even foreigners often brand Americans in terms of abundance, stereotyping our country as filled with bighearted and overly optimistic people who are generous with foreign aid, hefty portion sizes, and an excess of material possessions.
The truth is more complicated.
“Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio, Subsistence, increases only in an arithmetical ratio. … Man cannot live in the midst of plenty.”
— Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population
“How can the persuasive common sense embodied in the Malthusian theory be wrong? To be sure, in the short run an additional person … inevitably means a lower standard of living for everyone; every parent knows that. More consumers mean less of the fixed available stock of goods to be divided among more people. And a larger number of workers laboring with the same fixed current stock of capital implies that there will be less output per worker. The latter effect, known as ‘the law of diminishing returns,’ is the essence of Malthus’ theory as he first set it out. But if the resources with which people work are not fixed over the period being analyzed, then the Malthusian logic of diminishing returns does not apply. And the plain fact is that, given some time to adjust to shortages, the resource base does not remain fixed. People create more resources of all kinds.”
— Julian Simon
Over the past few years, new oil and natural gas discoveries have been made in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota. In just a few years, North Dakota has become the second-largest oil-producing state in the United States, behind only Texas. Pennsylvania is becoming a leading natural gas-producing state. With new energy opportunities such as these, what does this mean for U.S. energy policy?
For nearly 40 years, U.S. energy policy has been formulated in an atmosphere of scarcity and fear. There has been a fear of rising energy costs, a fear of relying on imported oil, and a fear of running out of energy. An air of fear, shortage, and scarcity produces an atmosphere that limits policy options. We have created an energy policy with a lottery mentality that seeks the next big payoff or silver bullet.
That is not the history of our country. We are a country of abundance—natural abundance endowed by our creator and an abundance enabled through innovation, such as the current shale oil and gas revolution. Perhaps the greatest opportunity offered by recent shale oil and gas production is that we can envision our future from the prism of wealth, plenty, and abundance. Energy policy developed in an atmosphere of abundance is developed on optimism, growth, and a bountiful future.
The United States is just weeks away from a $7 trillion fiscal cliff, when, among other changes, marginal tax rates are scheduled to rise to levels not seen in more than a decade and $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts (known as sequestration) are scheduled to take effect. The consensus among economists is that if this fiscal cliff is not preempted, the American economy will fall into recession.
As large and consequential as the pending fiscal threat may be, it is not the last fiscal cliff our economy will face (and neither is it the first we have confronted). The impending insolvency of Medicare and Social Security, equally certain as the near-term fiscal cliff without Congressional intervention, would also cause painful fiscal contractions if not averted.
Policymakers and policy analysts are well aware of both the near- and long-term fiscal threats posed by inaction. The consequences of failing to solve these problems, however, are less appreciated. Each problem has a unique makeup and poses specific challenges to policymakers. This paper explores the implications of the seemingly unimaginable actually occurring, first looking at the consequences of the near-term fiscal cliff and then focusing on the Social Security and Medicare entitlement crisis down the road.
This report provides a summary of the research done on the Millennial generation since 2009. Generational cohorts are just one way to categorize a group of people with similarities—in this case, the era in which individuals were born and when they came of age. We will use the birth years of 1980 to 1999 here to define the Millennial cohort. Sources, though, are inconsistent, with as many as 21 different birth spans referenced.