Center hosts Senator Warner, discusses economic opportunities in 2013

Posted by on January 10th, 2013, 12:34 am

On December 11th, the Center for Public and Business Policy held another Georgetown on the Hill event, “From Ideology to Practicalities: Policies to Stimulate the 21st Century Economy.” The forum’s purpose was to prompt a discussion on the intersection of business and public policy in a variety of industries. What do we know and more importantly what do we not know? Where should the next administration focus their efforts? Senator Mark Warner keynoted the discussion, remarking about what he believed to be the six important ways to boost the economy. Those areas were:

  1. Debt: negotiate a meaningful debt and deficit deal
  2. Trade: continue to move forward on trade agreements
  3. Telecommunications: focus on spectrum and cybersecurity
  4. Energy: it is all on the table
  5. Jobs: increase access to labor, crowd sourcing via the internet, the ability to market over the internet highlighted the power of small communities and the internet as a tool to the best labor
  6. Access to talent: H1B immigration reform

After Senator Warner’s remarks, the panelists discussed and analyzed different ways to promote economic expansion and growth in the US economy. Robert Shapiro discussed the national debt and job creation. Focusing on the US need to rebuild the tax base and balance the budget, Dr. Shapiro argued the FED should conduct a new stress-test to indicate which financial institutions could withstand severe economic shock without a need for government assistance.

J. Bradford Jensen then turned the discussion to the growth opportunity of trade in business services. There are many lucrative opportunities for US firms to share their expertise around the world. For example countries within the BRIC group (Brazil, Russia, India & China) will spend as much as 40 trillion dollars on infrastructure within the next two decades. US firms can offer unparalleled expertise in that expansion. However, there are some regulatory obstacles that would impede US businesses from being able to compete internationally in the services sector, necessitating trade liberalization focused on trade in services.

Looking to economic opportunities available through technology, John W. Mayo touched upon the technological changes happening in the telecommunications sector. More consumers are gravitating to wireless technology, away from wire-line services, due to its increased quality and availability. Simultaneously, demand and deployment of broadband have been increasing. To support this growth, the telecommunications sector needs competition and technology-neutral regulation in order to stimulate investment and innovation. Carol Corrado also touched on innovation as she discussed the position of the US among the countries promoting innovation. The role of the US as a leader in innovation is pretty solid, even though the developing economies are catching up.

Finally, Catherine Wolfram discussed the energy sector, focusing on the enormous growth of demand for energy and electricity in the developing world. Citing statistics such as a 25% yearly growth in car ownership in China, Dr. Wolfram highlighted the international growth of energy demand, particularly in the developing world. She also cited technological innovations as powerful tools to curb emission while not expecting others to go without. Specifically, she argued the carbon tax has been extremely beneficial in raising capitol to fund innovation, such as shale gas development which the US Energy Information Administration predicts will account for 46% of US natural gas by 2035.

Center Executive Director concluded the event by thanking the audience and teasing out future Georgetown on the Hill forums.

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