Keith Hennessey kicked off ACG’s Intergrowth Conference with a sobering look at the current state of the economy. Hennessey has a unique perspective, having recently served on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

He started by comparing The US economy to a car that is “in first gear, driving down a bumpy road and trying to shift into second.”

Hennessey sees several drags on the economy right now, chiefly construction and expanded regulation.
But more than that, “it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs.” At the current pace it will take at least three years to get back to full employment levels.

At the top of Hennessey’s worry list are also geopolitical concerns. The oil situation is a “double whammy” of rising demand along with the disruptions in Libya and the Middle East.

Domestically, lawmakers in Washington will continue to deadlock over taxes and entitlement spending. In his opinion the long term spending trend is “simply unsustainable”, and is the most serious risk to our long term economic prosperity.

Next up we’ll hear from noted author and speaker Jim Collins.