Milken Institute
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Looking Forward: Post Election Issues
By: Milken Institute
November 06, 2012
After a busy campaign season, it's all over but the voting aEUR" and the counting. On election day, we asked a few of our policy experts the same question: whoever wins today, what are the most urgent issues that need to be addressed by the next Congress and president? Here are their answers.

The central question facing any Administration in Washington is how to reboot aggregate demand and investment in start-ups, expansions, and new disruptive technologies that will unleash growth. This will also require linking the U. S. economy with the growth economies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East aEUR" and bridge growth gaps in job creation and capital formation.

Glenn Yago, senior director, Israel center; senior research fellow; and founder, Financial Innovations LabsA(R)

The fiscal party is over. Presidents Bush and Obama each put in place a new entitlement without proper funding aEUR" the Medicare drug benefit and the Affordable Care Act, respectively. The fiscal choices faced by the next President will be what to cut and which promises to scale back. Necessary, but not fun.

Phillip Swagel, senior fellow

Our country needs a coherent national energy policy aEUR" something no administration has done. Among the elements: new laws that will allow filling stations to provide any fuel they choose. This includes natural gas, bio-fuels, and quick electric charging stations. The new president should pursue creating the same kind of investment vehicles to fund alternative energy and the electrical grid that have helped build up our natural gas transport pipelines aEUR" for instance, master limited partnerships He should also move to allow farmers to plant energy crops as "reserves" with the same tax treatment and allowances as oil reserves, if they agree to grow those crops for 10 years.

Joel Kurtzman, executive director, Center for Accelerating Energy Solutions

The tax code is a nightmare and needs fixing. If countries of the former Eastern-bloc in Europe can have a simplified and efficient tax structure, why canaEUR(TM)t the United States?

Keith Savard, senior managing economist

It will take more than talk to bridge the gap in policy direction and address the challenges facing the country aEUR" first and foremost, getting our fiscal house in order, beginning with resolving the fiscal cliff looming at year-end. What is needed from the president is true leadership aEUR" using the mantle of the office not to just appease partisans, but to make a forceful and persuasive case to all Americans that meeting the challenges involves trade-offs, sacrifice and compromise. There is no free lunch. Putting the nation on a long-term sustainable fiscal footing is a predicate to long term growth and prosperity, but we canaEUR(TM)t get with half-hearted efforts, half-baked measures, or by repeatedly kicking the can down the road.

Bradley D. Belt, senior managing director

Regardless of the election outcome, President Obama must work with the current Congress to avoid allowing the U.S. economy to drive off the fiscal cliff. Without a change in current law, tax rates for the majority of Americans will jump and government spending will be slashed at the start of the year. The actual net tightening in fiscal policy in the 2013 fiscal year would be about $560bn, or 3.7% of GDP. It would cause a recession. A minimum of a 3-month delay is needed, perhaps 6 months, to allow the new Congress and president, whomever wins, to work out a longer-term compromise.

Ross DeVol, chief research officer

Medical research matters, and our President must make it a top priority. Investments in science and medicine bolsters our economy, national productivity, and global competitiveness. But even more importantly, investing in science and medicine provides us with therapies that could improve our health and even save our lives.

Margaret Anderson, executive director, FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions