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Report by Mary Meeker '81 on Nation's Fiscal Challenges Commended for "Fresh Thinking"

March 21, 2011

92435March 21, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — Mary Meeker is "a longtime Morgan Stanley tech-stock analyst who recently joined legendary venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers," notes a Christian Science Monitor editorial today.  Pointing to a recent presentation on the nation's financial condition by Meeker, a 1981 graduate of DePauw University, Josh Burek writes, "By treating the country as a corporation (and citizens as shareholders) she has brought fresh thinking and new urgency to the nation's fiscal straits. If you have lots of time on your hands, you can leaf through her 460-page PowerPoint presentation here."

In her analysis of "USA Inc.," Meeker offers, "Cash flow and net worth are negative, profits are rare, and off-balance-sheet liabilities are enormous. The 'company' has underinvested in productive capital, education, and technology -- the very tools needed to compete in the global marketplace. Lenders have been patient so far, but the sky-high rates on the sovereign debt of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal suggest what might lie ahead for USA Inc. shareholders and our children. By our rough estimate, USA Inc. has a net worth of negative $44 trillion. That comes to $143,000 per capita. Negative. To be fair, the net worth calculation leaves out some assets, including, most importantly, the power to tax. Which simply means that the government can improve its own finances by worsening those of its citizen-shareholders."

82481Burek adds, "Don't head to the hills just yet. As Meeker points out, 'USA Inc. has serious financial challenges' but 'its problems are fixable.' The key? 'If the American people embrace the need for bold action, their political leaders should find the courage to do what's right.' Perhaps the brightest news of all: USA Inc., Meeker says, is in better shape than Apple was in 1997. Ready to invest?"

Access the column at the newspaper's website.

A recent San Francisco Chronicle headline called attention to "Mary Meeker's Brilliant, Tech-Centered Turnaround Plan For USA Inc." Read more here.

A psychology major at DePauw, Mary G. Meeker was a technology analyst and managing director at Morgan Stanley before joining Kleiner Perkins in November 2010.

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