How many of us really spend a significant amount of our time thinking about the federal budget, in particular the escalating federal debt? It’s certainly been in the news lately. And I don’t think I’m just taking notice because of my new assignment working on this issue.
I’m noticing. I’m getting worried. I’m getting involved. And you can too.
Here’s why you should:
Unless we do something about it, America will be facing a fiscal train wreck over the next decade. Driven by rising health care costs, an aging population, and a habit of spending more than we have, our national debt is projected to reach unprecedented levels in the coming years that cannot be sustained.
If nothing is done:
- uncontrolled deficit spending could lead to inflation, a collapsing dollar and even more debt,
- rising interest rates could make it harder for young people to get student loans or for families to get a mortgage for a new home,
- large and small companies might find it more difficult to hire workers without access to new investments,
- other national priorities will go unfunded as we pay back the interest we owe.
So what can we do?
On June 26th, thousands of Americans who represent every walk of life will sit together at tables in communities across the country simultaneously talking about the values and priorities important to us as Americans.
This non-partisan discussion about our federal budget will lead to solutions developed by thousands of people that will be shared with leaders in Washington.
If that’s not cool enough…(and this is for my Texas Friends)…
Texas (Dallas to be specific) is one of six sites hosting the largest of the forums, each of which will be linked together by satellite and the Internet for a truly national conversation!
I have been hired as the Site Manager for this event which means that I am working with a team (Public Relations, Event Logistics, Outreach, Facilitator Recruiters, Production Managers, and a Local Engagement Team) to assemble 500 people who are demographically representative of the Dallas region for a five hour discussion on June 26 at the Dallas Convention Center. Whew!
But when I’m not feeling overwhelmed by this daunting task, I am invigorated by the scope, breadth and potential impact.
This will be an unprecedented national town meeting in which every geographic region will be represented in the conversation at the same time. Not only that, but we will be recruiting a diverse group of participants that reflect the demographic make-up of their communities so each site will be a microcosm of the community and collectively we will reflect the tremendously rich diversity of our nation.
During the day, participants will deliberate this issue, set priorities with hand-held keypads, and make recommendations that will go to the President and Congress. Participants will look at the tough realities and propose solutions to the President’s Commission on Financial and Fiscal Responsibility. (If you are so inclined, check out the three hour video of their first meeting held on April 27.)
We are in conversation with members of Congress. I’ve had the good fortune to work with the staff of Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson and Jeb Hensarling who also serves as one of 18 member of the President’s bi-partisan commission.
And the Washington staff of AmericaSpeaks are also working with the Obama administration.
This is an amazing opportunity for the public to make a clear statement about the values that should drive tough fiscal decisions.
So how can you get involved?
- Check out the AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy web site and sign up for updates.
- If you are in the Dallas area, register to participate.
- If you are not in the Dallas area, join the National Town Meeting at a location near you, or
- Host a Community Conversation in your neighborhood.
- Learn more about the issue.
I’d love to hear what you decide to do. Keep me posted!