August 29, 2014

Political Courage and Bipartisanship Remain Essential

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

As they continue wrestling with the nation’s fiscal and economic challenges, elected officials in Washington would do well to keep the example of the late Warren Rudman in mind.

The New Hampshire Republican, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate, did not mince words  about the federal government’s budget problems, as recalled in a recent Pioneer Press (Minnesota) op-ed by former U.S. Rep. Tim Penny and  Sara Imhof, Midwest regional director for The Concord Coalition.

Rudman repeatedly sounded the alarm on the country’s long-term budget problems while he was in the Senate and for many years after that as one of Concord’s founding co-chairman. He complained that both parties were afraid to speak the truth to the public and he urged Congress to shift its focus away from special interests and concentrate instead on promoting economic growth and building a better future for the next generation.

With the national debt well above $16 trillion – roughly the size of the country’s gross domestic product – courageous political leadership has never been needed more, say Imhof and Penny, who is currently president and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation as well as a member of Concord’s board of directors.

“After the November elections, neither party has the power or credibility to simply push through its own agenda,” they write. “Bipartisan compromise is the only option -- and the only way to reflect the wishes of a closely divided electorate.”