Chapel Hill, N.C. –- North Carolina residents who worry about the country’s fiscal future learned what they and their elected representatives could do about it at a forum last week entitled “Fixing Our Fiscal Future.”
The program featured former Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair Alice Rivlin, Concord Coalition Executive Director Bob Bixby, former U.S. Rep. J. Alexander McMillan, and Stefan Byrd-Krueger, youth outreach coordinator for Concord. Presented on the University of North Carolina campus on Wednesday, the March 31 forum was co-hosted by The Concord Coalition and the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.
Alice Rivlin, who served as the first director of the Congressional Budget Office and the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration, stressed the importance of fiscal discipline in meeting the serious long-term challenges facing the country. She warned that unchecked growth of debt would eventually make it more difficult, and more expensive, for the federal government to borrow money.
Rivlin sounded hopeful for President Obama’s new Bipartisan Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Obama appointed Rivlin to the commission, which is charged with making recommendations to Congress on Dec. 1.
McMillan, who represented North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District and is a member of The Concord Coalition’s board, stressed the need for bipartisan cooperation, citing the example of the 1990 budget deal. He also noted the value of pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules and said the President would have to put his weight behind any of the bipartisan commission’s recommendations for them to succeed.
Byrd-Krueger stressed that today’s youth have the most to gain or lose from long-term fiscal policy decisions. He said members of the Millennial Generation have pioneered communications technologies that allow them to create and spread messages faster than ever before -- giving them the ability to build effective coalitions to influence public policies.
A link to a video recording of the event should be available on concordcoalition.org later this week.