Dr. John Anderson, Baird Family Professor of Economics at the UNL College of Business Administration, was featured at the Legislative Economic Summit sponsored by the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce. The event was held at the Strategic Air Command Air Base Museum and 500 people attended, including the entire congressional delegation from the state of Nebraska.
Anderson said the summit was important not only because of the dignitaries in attendance, but also because of the critical economic issues facing political leaders in Washington.
“The primary focus of the meeting was giving Nebraskans the opportunity to interact with their congressional delegation, which currently includes senators Ben Nelson and Mike Johannes, and congressional representatives Adrian Smith, Jeff Fortenberry and Lee Terry,” Anderson said. “They also had a round table discussion which featured Dr. Ernie Goss, an economist from Creighton University and me.”
Anderson focused his talk on what to do about the approaching fiscal cliff that is looming before politicians in Washington.
“If Congress does nothing by the end of the year, the 2001-2003 tax cuts expire so the tax rate jumps,” Anderson explained. “At the same time the budget act of last year had an automatic sequester mechanism that kicks in and cuts spending going forward. So that’s a bit of a double whammy.”
John and May Anderson with President and Laura Bush
To fix the problem, Anderson believes the work he did in Washington in 2005 as part of President George W. Bush’s tax panel could be part of the solution.
“That would be a good place to start thinking about tax reform. I also suggested that the Bowles-Simpson commission that President Obama appointed had some good ideas. There are plenty of good ideas out there about how we can reform our current system. We’re at a time where we need to pick one and do something serious about it.”
Anderson also stressed the idea of dealing with fiscal reform, not just addressing current tax rates.
“We need to put the country on a solid fiscal basis with a tax reform that generates sufficient revenue to fund the programs we want, but also looks at the need for entitlement reform in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”