Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Education of an American Dreamer

In 2005, I wrote about Pete Peterson's wonderful book, Running on Empty. I just finished is autobiography, The Education of An American Dreamer and highly recommend it.

Running on Empty indicts both Republicans and Democrats for ignoring two troubling twin deficits - the the trade deficit and the budget deficit - which, he believes, may ultimately bankrupt the country. The hard-hitting book highlights the off-balance sheet, unfunded entitlement program liabilities that will fall due in the coming decades. With trillions of dollars in Medicaid, social security, and drug benefits promised to current and future retirees, he warns of some very hard choices that face the nation. For example, he estimates if Congress was forced to fund promised entitlement programs, we would face, "an immediate and permanent 60 percent hike in the federal income tax, or a 50 percent cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits."

His recent book walks the reader through his quite amazing career. Quick CV
  • Northwestern BA
  • Chicago MBA
  • Marketfacts (research analyst)
  • McCann-Erickson (head of chicago office)
  • Bell & Howell (CEO at 36 of Fortune 300 company)
  • Chair, Council on International Economic Policy
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Lehman Brothers (CEO)
  • Blackstone Group (Founder and Chairman)
  • Concord Coalition (Founding President)
  • Fed Reserve Bank of NY (Chairman)
What strikes me is the many various industries in which he excelled - research, advertising, manufacturing, government, investment banking, merchant banking, public policy.

Each very successful person is somewhat sui generis, however, one can always learn from those who have accomplished so much for so long.