April 16, 2014

Bustos, Citizens Discuss Deficit

In a letter to the editor in the Quad-Cities Times, Sara Imhof, Midwest regional director for The Concord Coalition, discussed the success of two recent budget exercises she co-hosted with Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), and thanked the Quad-Cities community for being part of a constructive civil dialogue about solutions to the nation's fiscal challenges. The guest column can also be found here.

Recently, members of the Quad-Cities community and the surrounding area came together to give Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., an early holiday gift: civil dialogue and civic engagement on one of the nation’s most pressing issues, specifically the deficit and rising debt.

At two events I facilitated on behalf of the non-partisan Concord Coalition, Bustos supporters as well as citizens from across the political spectrum demonstrated their commitment to learning more about the federal budget and finding ways to improve America’s long-term fiscal outlook.

Participants worked in small groups to discuss the projected $6.3 trillion 10-year budget deficit and possible alternative policies to reduce it.

One participant commented that even though she and others in her group, “….did not agree on everything, we listened and we discussed and got input from all,” and were able to reach agreement on a budget plan.

The two most debated policies were an option to replace agricultural subsidies with risk-management accounts and Obamacare. Overall, all participants demonstrated the ability to give and take, acknowledging that no person, group or party would get everything they wanted.

In closing remarks, Bustos said budget solutions could be reached by people from different political philosophies, “That’s the real world. We have hard decisions to make, but we can do it in a reasonable way.”

Thanks to the Quad-Cities community for being a part of the conversation about solutions. Happy Holidays!