Paul Stevens is Going to Give the Senate an Earful
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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Paul Stevens is Going to Give the Senate an Earful

Never mess with a fundster.

Paul Schott Stevens, president and chief executive of the ICI is going speak his mind to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on the Impact of a Default on Financial Stability and Economic Growth at a hearing to be held at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Steven previously made some of his concerns plain during his keynote speech at the ICI Tax & Accounting Conference in San Antonio.

Some pithy points from tomorrow's testimony will include the following:

One failure—default, which we are here to discuss today—could lead to a sudden crisis and degradation of the United States’ financial and economic standing. But the other failure—to bring our debt under control—is equally insidious, equally destructive, and, on current trends, even more likely.

With that perspective in mind, and on behalf of more than 90 million Americans saving and investing to meet their financial goals through mutual funds, I am here today to state unequivocally that no one should take lightly the prospect of a default on the United States’ debt obligations. The credit of the United States most emphatically should not be put into question.

Let me say with equal force, however, that those who dismiss or minimize our current budget problems also are playing with fire. The risks they are taking may be less immediate, but they are no less consequential—and the longer our nation delays action, the larger and more difficult the necessary corrective steps become.

The 90 million American investors that ICI’s member funds serve are investing for a brighter future—a secure retirement, a better education, or a solid financial foundation. They need responsible action by their government to protect the health of the economy and the financial markets on which they depend. They want Congress and the Administration to work together to put America on a path of fiscal responsibility. The health of our markets, the prosperity of our nation, and the security of future generations all depend upon it.

The current government shutdown has already had a direct impact on the fund industry due to short-staffing of the SEC, with only 252 out of the agency's 4,149 allowed to work, putting several key functions like procession of fund registrations and approvals on hiatus.

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