Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Running on Empty

Running on Empty

How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It

Peter G. Peterson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux




When Bush came to office in 2001, the 10-year budget balance was officially projected to be at a surplus of $5.6 trillion. But after three big tax cuts, the bursting of the stock-market bubble, and the devastating effects of 9/11on the economy, the surplus has evaporated, and the deficit is expected to grow to $ 5-trillion over the next decade. The domestic deficit is only the half of it. Given our $500 billion trade deficit and our anemic savings rate, we depend on an unprecedented $2 billion of foreign capital every working day. If foreign confidence were to wane, this could lead to the dreaded hard landing.

Peter G. Peterson--a lifelong Republican, chairman of the Blackstone Group, and former secretary of commerce under Nixon--shatters the myths with hard facts and a harrowing view of the twin deficit's real impact. Republicans and Democrats alike have mortgaged America's future through reckless tax cuts, out-of-control spending and Enron-style accounting in Congress. And the situation will only get worse as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, making unprecedented demands on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Despite what Bush says, we are on a path that could end in economic meltdown, and we simply cannot grow out of the deficit.

In Running On Empty, Peterson sounds the warning bell and prescribes a set of detailed solutions which, if implemented early, will prevent the need for draconian measures later. He takes us behind the politicians' smoke-and-mirror games, and forcefully explains what we must do to rescue the future of our country.


Running on Empty

Chapter 1
When the towers fell, I was out of town attending a corporate board meeting (which promptly adjourned) and spent the rest of the day watching cable...


Praise for Running on Empty

“Pete Peterson articulates with clarity and force a common concern among many of us. Simply put, our fiscal profligacy and growing dependence on foreign savings cannot be sustained.” —Paul Volcker, Former Federal Reserve Chairman

“Today, too many of our country's key economic decisions are being made with an eye to the next election rather than to the next generation. This book explains in simple but powerful terms why it's imperative that our attention must be refocused now.” —Warren E. Buffett, CEO Berkshire Hathaway

“For anyone who is concerned about the future of their children and grandchildren, Pete Peterson's Running on Empty is required reading. Pete lays out in extraordinary detail how both major political parties have ignored the fiscal juggernaut that is bearing down upon us. His facts are irrefutable; his opinions grounded in those facts. It is a chilling story of what could be a fiscal disaster for this country that we all love.” —Senator Warren B. Rudman

“As Peter Peterson, a long and courageous advocate of fiscal responsibility puts it in Running on Empty, "I want to ask every American, young people especially: Is your future better off now than it was four years ago--now that you are saddled with these large new liabilities and the higher taxes that must eventually accompany them?" If that isn't an election issue, I don't know what is.” —Thomas J. Friedman, New York Times Columnist

“This book is a clear, realistic, insightful and compelling picture of America's fiscal and economic future. And, unlike most, this book actually proposes solutions. This book deserves to be the intellectual foundation for a movement to put the fuel back in our tank.” —Bob Kerrey

“Pete Peterson has performed a great national service with Running on Empty. No one knows better the costly consequences of record deficits for future generations. This is a wake up call we cannot ignore.” —Tom Brokaw

“Peter Peterson's book, Running on Empty, provides a clear, concise, and unvarnished look at America's political and fiscal deterioration. Peterson's common sense approach to reform, in order to take on the enormous challenges we face, is a refreshing tack which, sadly, is not often seen when it comes to America's economic situation. His observations about the social, economic, and international implications of our inaction are right on the mark. This book should be required reading for everyone involved in public policy and anyone who cares about America's future.” —Senator John McCain

About the author

Peter G. Peterson

Peter G. Peterson is the author of Gray Dawn: How the Coming Age Wave Will Transform America -- and the World. He is Chairman of The Blackstone Group and chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Peter G. Peterson

Peter G. Peterson

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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