America’s CEOs Are More Scared Of Country’s Huge Debt Than Anything Else

NASA image acquired April 18 - October 23, 2012 This image of the United States of America at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the new satellite’s “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires, and reflected moonlight. “Nighttime light is the most interesting data that I’ve had a chance to work with,” says Chris Elvidge, who leads the Earth Observation Group at NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center. “I’m always amazed at what city light images show us about human activity.” His research group has been approached by scientists seeking to model the distribution of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and to monitor the activity of commercial fishing fleets. Biologists have examined how urban growth has fragmented animal habitat. Elvidge even learned once of a study of dictatorships in various parts of the world and how nighttime lights had a tendency to expand in the dictator’s hometown or province. Named for satellite meteorology pioneer Verner Suomi, NPP flies over any given point on Earth's surface twice each day at roughly 1:30 a.m. and p.m. The polar-orbiting satellite flies 824 kilometers (512 miles) above the surface, sending its data once per orbit to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local direct broadcast users distributed around the world. Suomi NPP is managed by NASA with operational support from NOAA and its Joint Polar Satellite System, which manages the satellite's ground system. NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. Caption by Mike Carlowicz. Instrument: Suomi NPP - VIIRS Credit: NASA Earth Observatory Click here to view all of the  Earth at Night 2012 images  Click here to  read more  about this image   NASA image use policy. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram

U.S. CEOs believe the country’s national debt and deficit are the greatest geopolitical risks to business operations in 2024, according to a survey from the research group organization The Conference Board.

The U.S. national debt was put ahead of other top risks for CEOs, including the potential for an increase in cyberattacks, war in the Middle East, higher energy prices and risks associated with decoupling from China, according to The Conference Board. The U.S. national debt exceeded $34 trillion for the first time in the country’s history on Dec. 29, 2023, following huge government deficits and spending under the Biden administration.

“For U.S. CEOs, the biggest risk is right at home — the mushrooming US national debt and deficit,” The Conference Board said in its report. “The US fiscal outlook continues to deteriorate, with the deficit for FY2023 topping estimates at $1.7 trillion. The increasing practice of issuing U.S. Treasury securities to finance deficit and debt places tremendous strain on the financial system, potentially raising business borrowing costs and limiting access to capital.”

American CEOs are also particularly concerned about an economic downturn/recession, noting that it and inflation are the external factors that are most likely to have the greatest impact on their organizations in 2024, according to The Conference Board. Financial institutions and analysts are mixed with their predictions of the economy in 2024, with banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase forecasting a risk of a recession while Deutsche Bank and Société Générale both predicting a recession.

Global political instability, higher borrowing costs and labor shortages are also among the top five most concerning external factors for U.S. CEOs, which all fuel inflation, according to The Conference Board. Inflation remains elevated, rising 3.1% year-over-year in November, far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, after decelerating from its peak under Biden of 9.1% in June 2022.

The national debt has ballooned under Biden following a number of costly initiatives pushed by the president. In March 2021, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which authorized $1.9 trillion in new spending, and in August 2022, the president signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which approved $750 billion in spending.

Will Kessler on January 10, 2024

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