Stephanopoulos Appearance Brings Political, Economic Insights

George Stephanopoulos, anchor of ABC News’ “This Week” and a former senior advisor to President Clinton, recently brought his unique political insights to a crowd of more than 250 at Drexel University.

Part of the Mid-Atlantic Currents series run by Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, Stephanopoulos discussed multiple foreign and domestic issues facing President Bush. He also touched upon key business concerns, including the emergence of China, the U.S. deficit, and Bush’s proposals for tax reform and Social Security.

The event illustrates the “real-world approach to education” that is a hallmark of Drexel and LeBow College said University President Constantine Papadakis.

Stephanopoulos said a majority of the business the White House seems occupied with these days is “crisis management,” including the Valerie Plame CIA leak probe, the war in Iraq and lingering resentment of the inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina.

Responding to audience questions, Stephanopoulos gave his view on key economic issues, including Social Security and tax reform. “Nothing’s going to happen this year,” he said. “Midterm elections are next year. I just don’t see the President, at 39 or 40 percent [approval rating], being able to push a congress that is up for reelection to pass these major changes.”

Stephanopoulos called China “the greatest economic challenge to the United States right now,” because of its spectacular economic growth. But he also said China will be an interesting test of the theory that economic prosperity brings with it political change. “I think you normally assume that when you see this kind of [economic] progress you are going to just see a flowering of freedom across the board, and we have not yet seen that.”

Stephanopoulos warned of the frightening potential for financial crisis as a result of rampant U.S. deficit spending in a worldwide economy.

I think that right now our deficit is manageable,” Stephanopoulos said. “But if you look at any of the projections for the next 10 or 20 years, it is going to explode out of control. And I think at any moment, if the Chinese or the Koreans or the Japanese decide that we are no longer credit worthy, then we will have a crisis here at home.”

Stephanopoulos is the author of All Too Human, a No. 1 New York Times best seller on President Clinton’s first term and the 1992 and 1996 Clinton/Gore campaigns.
 
Information on coming LeBow events is outlined elsewhere in this newsletter and is regularly updated at www.lebow.drexel.edu/events .