NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What are America's corporate leaders saying about the issues of the day? TheStreet's reporters, during the course of their weekly coverage, will pose a thematic question to the business executives they interview.This week's question: Is America in decline?
Peter Hayes, head of BlackRock's ( BLK) municipal bond management team: "No, I don't think America is in decline. I think in some ways this recession has been good and that it has raised the awareness about the need to cut spending and the need for pension reform. We obviously saw a lot of growth in the '80s, '90s and early 2000s. A lot of that growth was created by leverage, and as a result of that growth, we saw a pretty significant increase in hiring across the country at the federal as well as at the state and local level."So what we are doing is we are actually unwinding some of that now from the excesses of the earlier economy. ... We are not going to grow at as robust a pace as you have seen in the past, so we do need to cut spending, we do need to initiate some type of pension reform and all the headlines, all of the negative publicity that surrounded municipalities over the past couple years has actually helped raise that awareness and it is making it easier to implement this type of reform and cut spending. So we don't think America is in decline."