The 2011 Mortimer Caplin Conference on the World Economy

How does globalization intersect with America’s ability to manage its fiscal future?  Do concerns over global competitiveness hurt or hinder efforts directed towards tax reform?  The Fourth Annual Mortimer Caplin Conference on the World Economy, sponsored by the Miller Center, was devoted to an informed and intelligent discussion of these questions.  Keeping with our tradition, this conference brought together senior government officials along with the best thinkers from the academy and the private sector to discuss, deliberate and debate a number of questions related to the tax reform, deficit control and economic competitiveness in the international economy. Watch Mihir Desai's panel segments below.

Superpower in Decline or America Resurgent? Prospects for the U.S. in the Global Economy

Depending upon the source, the U.S. economy is either in an extended state of malaise or entering the second stage of a double-dip recession.  Regardless of one’s diagnosis, business leaders and policymakers have been working feverishly on a cure.  While some suggest closing corporate tax loopholes, others support investment in infrastructure; some envision an expansion of the manufacturing base while others see America’s future as a service provider.  This panel, comprised of representatives from the academy and corporate America, discussed prospects for America’s economic future in the rapidly-changing global economy.


  • David Lynch, Senior Economics Writer, Bloomberg News


  • Stephen Moore, Economic writer and policy analyst; member, Wall Street Journal editorial board
  • Darlene Miller, President and CEO, Permac Industries; Member, President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness
  • Mihir A. Desai, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
  • Eric Solomon, former Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy; former Assistant Chief Counsel of IRS; Principal at Ernst & Young
  • Donald Marron, Director, Tax Policy Center, Brookings Institution/Urban Institute

Striking the Balance: Tax Reform, Deficit Reduction, and Global Economic Power

This distinguished panel discussed, among other items, the relationship between taxes, debt, deficits and global competitiveness; the complementarities between corporate and personal income taxes; and the complexities of tax reform in a global economy.  Breaking from the traditional panel format, this group engaged in an open and wide-ranging discussion on the conference topic, with frequent questions from the assembled audience, allowing the panel to wrestle with the many facets of this complex subject.  Participants represented senior positions in government, business, academia, and policy analysis.   


  • Margaret Brennan, Host, Bloomberg TV’s “InBusiness with Margaret Brennan”


  • Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; Director of the Fiscal Policy Program, New America Foundation
  • Lawrence Mishel, President, Economic Policy Institute
  • Mihir A. Desai, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
  • Steven Rattner, Former Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury and Lead Auto Advisor
  • David Walker, Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative; former U.S. Comptroller General
  • Paul Kimball, President, Sagebrush Capital