With the U.S. struggling to achieve annual GDP growth in the 2/2.5 percent range, the folks at Dallas’ George W. Bush Institute think we should be setting our sights a little higher over the next decade. So, in April, they’re planning to bring in four Nobel Laureates in economics, as well as the likes of Meg Whitman, Arthur Laffer, Lawrence Lindsey and Karl Rove, for a two-day conference kicking off an initiative called the 4% Project. The confab will focus on the sorts of policy changes that could bring about 4 percent real GDP growth in the U.S. on a sustainable basis.
According to James K. Glassman, executive director of the Bush Institute, the April 12-13 conference at SMU will examine why the U.S. historically has outperformed the world in economic growth, why the country’s in jeopardy of losing its leadership now, and whether it can recover to attain steady 4 percent growth by the middle of this decade. Former President George W. Bush will open the conference with remarks before a series of panel discussions and two featured addresses–one by Whitman, the former eBay CEO, and the other by Laffer, the Reagan Administration adviser and supply-side-economics guru.
The four Nobel Laureates, who’ll appear together on one panel, are Gary Becker, Robert Lucas, Myron Scholes and Edward Prescott. Others panelists (or moderators) over the two days will include Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher, Lawrence Lindsey from W’s administration, New York City official Robert Steele, author Amity (The Forgotten Man) Shlaes, Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, Fed historian Allan Meltzer, former Caterpillar Inc. CEO James Owens, and Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal.
About 250 attendees are expected for the event at the SMU Cox School’s Collins Center, Glassman says, and the conference will include a number of “breakout sessions” to ensure plenty of interactivity. “The U.S. economy always has slowdowns and recessions. But we’ve historically grown at 3-and-a-half percent, and we need to do that” again, Glassman adds. So the 4% Project is meant to “focus the conversation” on that “more positive, more aspirational” goal.