Dean Jan Williams

Senator Corker Speaks at UT's Knoxville Economics Forum

This summer, politicians are spending a bulk of their time discussing the nation’s fiscal crisis—weighing revenue growth and spending cuts as solutions to the ballooning budget deficit. Front and center in this debate is Senator Bob Corker.

Senator Corker recently shared his keen insight at the Knoxville Economics Forum, organized by the Department of Economics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration, on August 8. The forum is a local organization dedicated to an ongoing public discussion of business and economic issues as they relate to East Tennessee.

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Marianne Wanamaker of the college’s Department of Economics said: "The forum was fortunate to have Senator Corker visit at such a remarkable moment in U.S. financial and political history.  We invited the senator to speak because he is consistently willing to engage economic issues head-on, and he did not disappoint. He spoke about the August 2 deficit reduction agreement, August 5 S&P downgrade, and subsequent stock market collapse, and he faced tough audience questions on the way forward for Washington.”

“One of the more poignant messages from the senator's address,” said Wanamaker, “was his sentiment that Congress is a reflection of the American population by virtue of our representative democracy.  If Congress is gridlocked, unable to reach a consensus on the way forward and not fully committed to achieving deficit reduction, it is because the American public is similarly conflicted."

Corker has been Tennessee's senator since 2006. He has played a dominant role in financial reform and in the debt ceiling discussions. Corker is also a member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; the Foreign Relations Committee; and a ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging. Prior to being a U.S. Senator, Corker was the mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn., responsible for transforming the city's waterfront and attracting $2.1 billion of investment for revitalization to the area. He graduated from UT Knoxville in 1974.

"The escalating federal debt is easily the most pressing issue facing our generation," said Don Bruce, associate professor in the college’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Department of Economics. "In an era of unproductive political rhetoric and point-scoring gamesmanship, Senator Bob Corker continues to stand out among his Congressional peers as a voice of reason, positioning himself as a strong and productive force behind the eventual resolution of the budget dilemma."

The Knoxville Economics Forum is a local, nonprofit organization founded in 2010. Its mission is to foster open and honest discussion of the most important economic issues in East Tennessee by inviting leaders in business, politics, and economics to share their views. Past speakers have included Dennis Lockhart, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and Kelly King, chairman and CEO of BB&T.

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