December 21, 2014

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Friday, June 20, 2014 - 12:44 PM

More than 7,000 students, retirees, political leaders and other citizens have played The Concord Coalition’s updated Federal Budget Challenge since we put the updated version online a month ago.

The exercise lets players decide for themselves how they would reduce the nation’s projected budget deficits over the next 10 years by choosing among 40 different policy options, each with its own price tag or savings.

The updated version, built with our partners from the California-based non-profit Next Ten, takes into account what policymakers have done to reduce the deficit over the last two years and showcases several additional options that are available for further deficit reduction.

The Federal Budget Challenge, based on our interactive group exercise Principles and Priorities, also provides participants the opportunity to learn about some of the policy options available to create a more sustainable fiscal future.

In the updated Federal Budget Challenge, the most unpopular choice by players thus far is an increase in discretionary spending -- the part of the budget Congress...

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 12:50 PM

Over many years of grassroots outreach, The Concord Coalition has learned to count on the passion and creativity of its members. Those of us who spend time traveling the country know that Washington doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas -- that often the public is ahead of the politicians in recognizing the need for action and cooperation on important public policies. That is why we are happy to announce that our friends at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation have launched a new grassroots competition called "I'm Ready."

The foundation is soliciting videos from people across the country, in which they tell Washington why fixing the national debt is so critically important to our future. The two best videos - as determined by views, public votes, and review by a panel of experts - are eligible for a $500 prize. 

These videos will bring together a range of voices to show that wherever you go, Americans understand the importance of...

Monday, January 28, 2013 - 8:36 PM

The Concord Coalition, which has long viewed public engagement as essential to U.S. fiscal reform, is partnering with the Campaign to Fix the Debt to present  a series of public forums around the country in the coming weeks.

This joint project will focus its efforts on ten programs in six states: Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida and Tennessee. These events,  open to the public, will take a variety of forms.

We at Concord are delighted to be involved in a project that we believe can help lay the groundwork for comprehensive fiscal reform in the near future. The Campaign to Fix the Debt, which was launched last year, has been working with business leaders, political figures and hundreds of thousands of citizens from across the ideological spectrum who want to see elected officials step up to solve the nation’s fiscal challenges. The impact is being felt in Washington already.

The speakers at the upcoming events will include both national and regional experts on the rapid growth of the federal debt and related issues, including the need for fundamental reforms of the tax system and entitlement programs. There will also be an emphasis on the need to curb future increases in health care costs. Some of the speakers hold either...

Friday, December 28, 2012 - 3:08 PM

For the third week in a row, I will be discussing the nation’s fiscal challenges on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, this Sunday at 7:45 a.m. (Here is the first week, and here is the second.) Stan Collender, who among other things writes the Fiscal Fitness column in Roll Call and the Capital Gains and Games blog, will again be my co-panelist.

One thing that might help you get ready for another fun hour of viewing would be to play The Concord Coalition’s budget exercises to see how you would replace the fiscal cliff.

Our online exercise, The Federal Budget Challenge, is a great single-player experience. If you want fun for the whole family gathered for the holidays, you can print out our pen-and-paper exercise Principles and Priorities. In either case...

Monday, October 1, 2012 - 9:04 PM

The latest version of our budget game, the Federal Budget Challenge, has been online for only two weeks, yet has been played by over 5,000 people from almost half of the states in the nation. The Challenge lets players examine over 50 different policy choices, along with their budgetary impacts over 10 years, and decide for themselves whether and how they would reduce the nation’s budget deficits.

The new version, built with our partners from the California-based non-profit Next 10, is now touch-screen playable and has built-in integration with Twitter and Facebook. Like the previous version, as well as the group exercises it was based on -- Principles and Priorities and Debt Busters -- the Challenge offers the opportunity to learn about many of the public policy options being debated in Washington, along with arguments for and against each choice.

The choices already being made by players are quite interesting in that the least and most popular selections are deeply intertwined with the political brinksmanship threatening to push the nation into economic turmoil with the looming “fiscal cliff” at the end of December. 

The most unpopular choice is the policy...

Sunday, June 3, 2012 - 11:00 PM

Federal budgeting isn’t for the faint of heart. The tax code alone consists of tens of thousands of pages. Then there's the defense budget, the other eleven annual appropriations bills, Medicare, Medicaid, the need to modernize Social Security . . . the list goes on and on. Mix in some presidential and congressional politics, and it’s easy to see why even people with the best of intentions just cannot seem to get the country on a sustainable track for the long term.

In late May, U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent (R-Fla.) wanted to find out if his constituents, given sufficient info, could handle the challenge. In three different sessions across his central Florida district, the congressman invited The Concord Coalition to host our flagship budget exercise “Principles and Priorities.” He asked constituents to “role-play” as policy makers with the goal of working toward substantial deficit reduction. Concord has done similar programs from coast to coast. However, one of the unique characteristics of Congressman Nugent’s district is that he represents more senior citizens than any of his House colleagues.

Nugent was pleased with what his constituents were able to do in looking for deficit reduction over the next decade.

...
Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 9:32 PM

Over the years that The Concord Coalition has been working to promote fiscal responsibility, we've gotten to know our network of grassroots members pretty well. By and large they are earnest, inquisitive, and have a thirst for the raw facts that allow them to draw their own conclusions. We always keep them in mind when we develop our educational tools.

Whether in our Chart Talk or in Principles and Priorities, we aim to give a complete picture based on numbers from non-partisan sources such as the Congressional Budget Office. When we release our Washington Budget Report each week, we often provide -- in addition to our own explanations and perspectives -- links to the original numbers and government documents that we have used in our analyses. 

To make the data even more readily accessible, we are pleased to announce the release of our new Fiscal Indicators. These are the numbers that we refer to every day, repackaged into interactive charts and graphs and woven into the fabric of our website's ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 12:00 AM

It is now a little under one week until the deadline for the congressional joint committee on deficit reduction, or super committee, to report its recommendations.  Inside Washington, many are skeptical that committee members will meet their goal of $1.5 trillion in further deficit reduction. One of the challenges for elected officials is that the political environment surrounding the super committee, including events on the presidential campaign trail, makes finding real solutions very difficult.

What happens, though, when average Americans are asked to help find solutions?
 
Something quite amazing, actually.
 
On Monday night, nearly 200 people in Des Moines, Iowa worked in “committees” of seven or eight to confront the nation’s fiscal challenges and came to some startling conclusions.
 
For example, to help reduce federal spending, 84 percent of the groups supported eliminating some agriculture subsides.  In Iowa!
 
Students, community leaders, seniors and other Iowans took part in The Concord Coalition’s interactive budget exercise Principles and Priorities.  The event was co-sponsored by The Des Moines Register...
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 2:09 PM

The Concord Coalition is calling upon the 12 members of the Congressional Super Committee to include a critical 13th member in their deliberations -- you. As we discussed in yesterday's post, The American People Want In, the Committee’s decisions will affect every American so it’s only right that every American has a voice in their deliberations.  

Let your voice be heard and demand that members of the Super Committee engage the American people in a dialogue about the tough choices America faces.  The issues at stake -- from social insurance to national security, domestic investments and tax reform -- have profound consequences for our nation. This is your chance to weigh in.

The Super Committee’s Thanksgiving deadline means that time is short, so your participation now is critical. Don’t let this opportunity to help decide America’s fiscal future pass you by. 


Here’s what you can do:

1. Contact Super Committee members and tell them, “Listen to the American people, and put all options on the table.”
...
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 9:15 AM

By Ryan Schoenike

The debate over our nation’s finances has now reached what seems to be common place in Washington. As our country sits on the verge of default, both parties have retreated to their partisan foxholes, only coming out to throw the next dose of heated political rhetoric. In addition, nearly every interest group in Washington is scrambling to make sure its programs don’t get cut. Those without a voice stand to lose the most from this argument.

Until now a voice that has been absent from the conversation was that of students. Americans in college now and the rest of the Millennial Generation stand to inherit a growing $14 trillion debt, trillions more in unfunded entitlement programs, bleak job prospects and a lower standard of living than their parents.

What started as conversation between three Georgetown students on a bus about the gridlock in Washington over the debt ceiling quickly turned into a small team working to make their voice heard. They came up with an idea and one question for our leaders: “Do We Have A Deal Yet?”    

The idea was simple. Write a letter to the president and leaders in Congress urging them to not only raise the debt ceiling but take this opportunity to enact bold, balanced and bipartisan deficit reduction. A plan that would...