Many of you have heard about the documentary movie I.O.U.S.A. For this blog post, I would like to borrow just the first three letters of this catchy title as I thank the wonderful Concord Coalition volunteers of the Midwest: I.O.U.
Since I began working as the Midwest Regional Director for the Concord Coalition in July 2008, I have continuously been impressed with the vigor and enthusiasm demonstrated by citizens and professionals of the great Midwest who volunteer for The Concord Coalition and those who offer their support of our initiatives in their community, state, and across the nation. To each of you: I.O.U.! I owe you many thanks and want to publicly recognize your contributions to Concord and to my work for Concord in the field.
Let me provide Tabulation blog readers a few examples of the outpouring of participation and interest I’ve received in my Midwest region to illustrate why I.O.U.:
An Illinois professional has decided to give his time, expertise, and money to The Concord Coalition in 2009. In his own words: “I am increasingly alarmed by the growing unrecognized governmental indebtedness at all levels, and believe it is now my time to try to devote some serious energy to fighting these trends personally. I can think of no better organization to assist than yours in this regard.” Together, we are working on the development of a plan for building capacity in the state of Illinois that will facilitate Concord’s educational initiatives and the adoption of responsible policies by local elected officials.
A graduate student serving as the President of the Students of Public Administration program at a University in South Dakota took it upon herself to arrange for a viewing of the documentary I.O.U.S.A. on her campus. She also worked with the Political Science department and Public Administration graduate program to arrange for me to conduct multiple “Principles & Priorities” exercises for more than 100 college and graduate students.
A senior citizen from Ohio contacted me to help him arrange a screening of I.O.U.S.A. in his community. He wants to support The Concord Coalition because he is “extremely concerned about the future of our country due to the fiscal irresponsibility of our present and past Presidents and Congresses…[who have not shown] concern for the consequences of our perpetually climbing debt..... When our creditors call-in their loans this country will be bankrupt. The biggest regret of my life is that my generation’s Congress initiated this debt and that generations to the present have allowed it to continue.”
Upon seeing I.O.U.S.A., a financial planner in Minnesota contacted me because she felt compelled to improve our fiscal situation. Two key initiatives came about by her creativity and enthusiasm. First, she put me in contact with the Executive Director of her financial planning firm and together we have launched a variety of educational activities encouraging fiscal responsibility that will reach hundreds of financial planners and their clients or prospective clients. Further, this volunteer has arranged for me to train her colleagues on the federal fiscal challenge and budgeting issues, and to conduct budget simulations with them, so these planners can better serve their current and prospective clients.
These are just a few of countless examples of the great volunteers I get to work with every day. I know my colleagues covering other regions could provide similar examples. By sharing these with everyone who reads the Tab blog, I hope to inspire and motivate additional volunteers and participants to join with me (Midwest) or my colleagues Jeff Thiebert (Southwest), Phil Smith (Southeast), Christine Hovde (Northeast), and Janet Ryan (West) across the nation. Given the economic “State of our Union” today, and the fiscal challenges we faced long before the economic downturn of recent months, we have so much important work to do for the fiscal solvency of our government and our individual and collective futures. The Concord Coalition firmly believes that changes in Washington and state capitols will only occur when you (and I), the citizens of this great nation, encourage--dare I say “demand”--that elected officials act fiscally responsible.
On behalf of all my colleagues at The Concord Coalition, we look forward to working with you in the future, and wish you a happy and (fiscally) healthy holiday!
--Sara Imhof, Midwest Regional Director and Health Policy Analyst