Dean Schizer Leads Panel on State of the Economy

While the Reunion panelists agreed that the economy is hurting, each had their own preferred strategy for spurring growth.

Winter 2012

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Focused efforts to promote economic growth and fiscal stability over the long term will be critical to the ongoing U.S. economic recovery, Dean David M. Schizer told Reunion 2012 guests this past summer, but stimulus efforts are extremely challenging to execute effectively. Dean Schizer, who was joined on the panel by Stephen Friedman ’62, Peter C. Canellos ’67, Professor Michael J. Graetz, and Rebecca Kysar of Brooklyn Law School, added that reforming our housing and mortgage markets, as well as entitlement programs and the tax code, would represent moves in the right direction.

“No single step will do the trick,” Dean Schizer said in assessing the challenges that lie ahead, including massive budget deficits and an increasingly global economy.

Each panelist joining Dean Schizer for the discussion suggested a different approach to reform, including Graetz’s support for a national consumption tax, and Friedman’s call for more effective, easier-to-understand regulation.

Bad risk management on the part of financial institutions was a major factor in the financial crisis, said Friedman, who is chairman of the private equity firm Stone Point Capital. He added that regulation is crucial to ensuring the stability of the financial system.

Despite the more than $860 billion that the federal government has spent to stimulate the economy, the dean noted that the U.S. saw only a 1.5 percent growth in 2011. The country’s $1.3 trillion deficit, he said, is approximately 11 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and roughly 13 million Americans are out of work. While there may be no simple answers or easily achieved panaceas waiting around the corner, Dean Schizer concluded by noting that deficit reduction and economic stimulation are both vital to economic recovery. “The deficit will decline only if the economy starts to grow,” he said.

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Dean David M. Schizer, Stephen Friedman, Professor Michael J. Graetz, Rebecca Kysar, and Peter C. Canellos