The Hon. David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, was appointed by President Clinton and spanned both Democrat and Republican Administrations from 1998 to 2008. David is now running as Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut. For Connecticut, his common sense approach to turning bad situations around, couldn’t come quickly enough.
It is my honor to welcome the Honorable David Walker to The Global Townhall.
Gabrielle Reilly: What are your plans for running for Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut?
Hon. David Walker: I decided to run for the office of Lt. Governor of Connecticut to help the next Governor turn around the state. While Connecticut is a beautiful state with a proud history, it ranks at or near the bottom of all 50 states in connection with a range of key economic, financial and competitiveness statistics. I am a turnaround specialist who wants to use my skills to help create a Comeback in Connecticut. Such a comeback would resonate around the country and in Washington, DC.
Gabrielle Reilly: What are your plans for your future politically?
Hon. David Walker: I am focused on winning the position of Lt. Governor of Connecticut and do not have additional future political plans at this time.
Gabrielle Reilly: What do you think is America’s most pressing need and what do you suggest we do about it?
Hon. David Walker: America needs to put its finances in order. It also needs to address a number of key competitiveness challenges in order to stay great and create a better future.
Gabrielle Reilly: How do you rate the job the current Administration did with economic recovery since taking Office?
Hon. David Walker: The current Administration took steps to help turn the economy around. However, they were very expensive and not properly targeted. Today, economic growth is not what it should be and unemployment and underemployment are still too high. Unfortunately, the current Administration seems to think that a bigger government can solve many of our problems. However, the federal government is already too big, very inefficient, and it has made more promises than it can keep. It also has a serious structural deficit challenge that must be addressed.
Gabrielle Reilly: What would you have done differently?
Hon. David Walker: I would have promoted a much more strategic and targeted stimulus. I would not have advocated passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, I would have used the "bully pulpit" of the Presidency to tell the people the whole truth in order to begin restructuring the federal government and addressing our structural deficit challenge.
Gabrielle Reilly: There is the great debate on military spending being guided by strategy or budget. What are your thoughts on the long-term defense budget and how the appropriation should be determined?
Hon. David Walker: Defense appropriations should be determined based on current and future credible national security threats and interests. At the same time, national defense is a basic Constitutional responsibility of the federal government and it requires a reasonable amount of base spending for planning and execution purposes. In my view, that base should be about 3 percent of GDP.
Gabrielle Reilly: How do you suggest we fix the U.S. health care system?
Hon. David Walker: The U.S. spends almost twice as much per person as most other major industrialized nations on health care and yet it achieves below average societal results in a number of key outcome areas. The primary reason is due to the existence of perverse incentives, inadequate transparency as to cost and quality, and a lack of accountability. This is further complicated by the lack of a constrained budget for federal health expenditures.
The U.S. needs to achieve a level of universal health care that is appropriate, affordable and sustainable. This should include preventative/wellness and catastrophic protection for the broad population with the government providing more coverage and financial support for the poor and disabled. The government should focus its subsidies on the poor and near poor.
We need more transparency, choice, and completion in the health system. We need to move away from fee for service payment approaches. We need to achieve meaningful malpractice reform. In addition, we need to impose a budget on total health related expenditures by the federal government.
Gabrielle Reilly: What are your thoughts on getting the U.S. economy going in a modern global economy?
Hon. David Walker: The U.S. is not an island and free trade is a reality in today's world. However, we need to take steps to improve fairness of global trade. In addition, the U.S. needs to capitalize more on its competitive advantages (e.g., stable political system, rule of law, innovation, diversity, while, at the same time, addressing some of its competitive disadvantages (e.g., K-12 education, critical infrastructure, investments in basic research, corporate tax system, health care costs, fiscal sustainability). The U.S. should also be a leader in the move to global standards (e.g., accounting) to facilitate better comparability and reliability of key financial and other information. It will take actions to address all of these areas and more to increase economic performance and improve the U.S. competitive posture in a sustainable manner over time.
Gabrielle Reilly: Thank you so much for your time Senator Roberts. I look forward to watching you being honoured for your lifelong service to our nation, as you receive your Business Executives For National Security of Kansas City, "National Security Award."