The next generation lost a champion today with the passing of Peter G. “Pete” Peterson. While many leaders proselytize against debt and deficits when it’s politically convenient, Pete was one of the few whose concern for our nation’s fiscal future was truly sincere. For decades, he consistently advocated for using a responsible combination of spending cuts and tax increases to minimize the burden being placed on young Americans by a growing national debt. Pete worked respectfully with both Democrats and Republicans in pursuit of these solutions, making him a paragon of civility and bipartisan pragmatism in an era where such traits seem to be in short supply.
In addition to his advocacy, Pete was well-known for his philanthropy. In 2008, Pete donated half of his fortune to start the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The foundation has contributed to think tanks across the political spectrum and offered educational and professional opportunities to young Americans of all ideological stripes. Many leaders talk of empowering the next generation but Pete actually did so. Our condolences go out to Pete’s family, his staff, and the broader budget community during this difficult time.