This afternoon I had the privilege of speaking at an event at the University of Maryland honoring Professor Allen Schick, who is retiring after teaching there for many years. I spoke about the conflicts that have arisen in federal budgeting, the important nonpartisan role that CBO plays, and the fiscal challenges facing our nation. Even though the U.S. economy has been strong, with a low unemployment rate and rising wages, the federal budget deficit remains large, and federal debt is high and rising. That debt poses substantial risks for the nation, and it is clear that the budget is on an unsustainable course.
There are few people who have thought and written as much about public budgeting and its challenges as Allen Schick. It’s hard to think about the subject without thinking of him. Books, articles, lectures, reports, Congressional testimony—you name it, he’s done it. He has made valuable contributions to the work of organizations and agencies of all kinds in this country and around the world—including not only the University of Maryland but also the Congressional Research Service, the Brookings Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, the Urban Institute, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, almost every state, and many countries. A dedicated teacher, he has shared his broad knowledge and insight with thousands of students for more than five decades. I expressed the gratitude and admiration of the budget community for Allen’s enormous contributions and wished him well in his retirement.
Phillip L. Swagel is CBO’s Director.