Mission, Issues & Solutions


Publication: 2013-07-03


The Challenge -- America faces a growing crisis. Our federal government has accumulated a $13.6 trillion debt over the last few decades, and this debt is expected to grow significantly in coming years. This burden is a drag on our economy. Borrowing more and more would seriously threaten the livelihoods of Americans and our standing in the world. But if we act now, we can set our nation on a new course. America has solved other great challenges in its history. By rising above partisanship and working together, we can make a plan to live within our means and preserve the American tradition of increasing prosperity for future generations.

Official government projections show our $13.6 trillion in federal debt doubling by the 2020's, tripling by the 2030s and even quadrupling by the 2040's. That means that unless we change our course, $13.6 trillion could grow to more than $65 trillion. By making changes now, we can set America on a new course. By rising above partisanship and working together, we can make a plan to live within our means and preserve the American tradition of increasing prosperity for future generations. In order to put our federal government on a new path, we will need to look at all areas of the federal budget. Here's an overview of the major elements of our federal budget that shows the wide range of potential solutions that exist. By examining these areas, we can support elected leaders from both political parties who want to do the right thing, and design a plan that helps us live within our means. There are many solutions that would help address America's fiscal challenges. Some of the most frequently proposed changes to current policy are present below for each of the major issues areas. The solutions presented illustrate the types of approaches that that have been presented to elected officials for their consideration. While each of us individually could put together a long-term budget plan that would satisfy our own priorities, it will take compromise, collaboration and trade-offs to reach a workable plan that wins national support.


Name:Owen Ambur


Name:Peter G. Peterson Foundation



  • Peter G. PetersonFounder and Chairman -- Pete Peterson is founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness of America's long-term fiscal challenges and promoting solutions to ensure a better economic future. The Foundation works with leading thinkers, policy experts, elected officials, and the public to build support for efforts to put America on a fiscally sustainable path.

  • Michael A. PetersonPresident and Chief Operating Officer -- As President and Chief Operating Officer, Michael combines his extensive private sector experience with his dedication to public service and the common good. He oversees the strategic direction of the Foundation, guiding policy and shaping strategy for its major initiatives, key partnerships and long-term objectives.

  • Joan Ganz CooneyMember of the Board of Directors

  • Peter G. Peterson Foundation Advisors

  • Diana AvivPresident and CEO, Independent Sector

  • Craig BarrettFormer Chairman, Intel Corporation

  • Richard BeattieChairman, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

  • Sen. William BradleyManaging Director, Allen & Company LLC; Former United States Senator

  • Gov. Mario CuomoOf Counsel, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP; Former Governor of New York

  • Barry DillerChairman, IAC/InterActiveCorp

  • Roger Ferguson, Jr.President and CEO, TIAA-Cref

  • Harvey FinebergPresident, Institute of Medicine

  • Leslie GelbPresident Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations

  • Thomas MackellChairman, United Benefits and Pension Services, Inc.

  • William NovelliProfessor, Georgetown University; Former CEO of AARP

  • Richard PleplerCo-President, Home Box Office

  • Sec. Robert RubinCo-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Former United States Secretary of the Treasury

  • Richard SalomonManaging Partner, East End Advisors

  • Sheryl SandbergChief Operating Officer, Facebook

  • Sec. Donna ShalalaPresident, University of Miami; Former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

  • Sec. George ShultzThomas W & Susan B Ford Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institute - Stanford University; Former United States Secretary of State

  • David Beaumont SmithExecutive Director, National Conference on Citizenship

  • Paul VolckerChairman, Economic Recovery Advisory Board; Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

  • David M. WalkerPresident and CEO, Comeback America Initiative

  • Peter G. Peterson Foundation Staff

  • Susan TanakaVice President

  • Loretta UcelliVice President

  • Chris PapagianisDeputy

  • Doug HamiltonDirector, Research

  • Myra SungDirector, Communications & P.A.

  • Rik TreiberDirector, Grants

  • Russ LevsenDirector, Policy Communications

  • Stephen CapadonaDirector, Digital

  • Kim CanfieldGrants Associate

  • Kristin FrancozResearch Associate

  • Gregory JohnsenResearch Assistant

  • Meredith PickettResearch Associate

  • Rebecca SameroffResearch Associate

  • Costa TsiokosWeb Producer

  • Amy WashburnManager, Outreach & Events

  • Kevin WuResearch Assistant