March 30, 2017

The (Tab)ulation

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Friday, October 24, 2008 - 2:08 PM

One way the Concord Coalition has attempted to highlight the importance of fiscal responsibility and the choices involved in being fiscally responsible is by establishing a series of educational exercises. These exercises allow citizens at the grassroots level, whether as part of town hall meetings with their members of Congress or as students in the classroom, to learn in a group setting that takes advantage of the interactions with people of different generations or different ideological or political backgrounds.

We rely on an experienced network of field staff around the country who lead these exercises in person and help teachers learn how to facilitate the exercises themselves.

The most popular exercise from this collection is "Principles and Priorities" which is designed to help high school, college, and graduate students learn about the competing pressures facing members of Congress in budgeting over the next 10 years. The students gain exposure to current policy options that Congress often debates, while getting a sense of the political and time pressures that arise legislative sessions.

A new exercise called "...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 12:45 PM

Today, the Concord Coalition released our second issue brief during the general election. In this one, called “Fiscal Policy Beyond Election Day: Nine Challenges for ’09," we discuss how the reality of the nation’s current economic and fiscal transformation will affect the plans the presidential candidates have developed. Additionally, we propose that recent events, and the unrealsitic nature of the plans even before the financial crisis required massive government intervention, will require whoever becomes president to re-prioritize to fit current circumstances and to improve the well-being of future generations.

Our first issue brief looked more closely at the specifics of the candidate's taxing and spending plans and how by accepting currently policy trends as the baseline by which their plans should be judged, they were setting lower expectations for themselves than they should, and certainly lower expectations than the American public should...

Monday, October 20, 2008 - 10:29 PM

Executive Director Bob Bixby is quoted in a good article on Time Magazine's web site about the growing budget deficit, where he argues that the rising deficit, and some of the most recent policy actions that have contributed to it, are "necessary evils" to keep the economy afloat as long as the actions are targeted and temporary.

What also stuck out, was the nice picture of the National Debt Clock in Times Square (probably the most famous "tabulation" related to Concord's mission). You can see more about the debt clock, and the family behind it, in the movie I.O.U.S.A.. The picture however, shows something you won't see in the movie. Since filming, the national debt has moved from $8.6 trillion to over $10 trillion, meaning they had to paint a dollar sign onto the clock to make room for the 14th digit. There is always hope though, this debt clock does have the capability to go backwards (the one in use in the 1980's and 1990's did not). Let's hope we can test that ability out someday.

--Josh Gordon

Monday, October 20, 2008 - 6:01 PM

Our Executive Director, Bob Bixby, recently participated in an online discussion on the "National Journal's Expert Blogs" focused on whether there is room for fiscal stimulus in the budget, given the extraordinary change in the fiscal position of the government due to the economic downturn and the government's already unprecedented response. Here is his post:

"Yes, there is room for fiscal stimulus -- so long as it sticks to the principles of being timely, targeted and temporary. What we don’t have room for are permanent new policies, either on the spending or tax side, that aren’t paid for. While the very real threat of a serious and lengthy recession justifies deficit-financed stimulus in the near-term, we need to keep in mind that our underlying fiscal policy is already on an unsustainable track. Treating the short-term problem should do as little harm as possible to the long-term outlook. Economically speaking, we need to walk and chew gum at the same time.

The goal of additional fiscal stimulus is to boost consumption and avoid a deep recession. Since...

Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 12:33 PM

As I mentioned in our introductory post, The Concord Coalition is prominently featured in the documentary film, I.O.U.S.A.. One of the things that has struck me as the movie has gotten a lot of press is how eloquent the filmmaking team has become when talking about fiscal issues. These are individuals who had no real connection to fiscal policy or economics before they started making the movie and are now not just amazingly fluent in the policy details, but also incredibly passionate advocates for the cause of fiscal responsibility. You can read film director Patrick Creadon's thoughts on their journey in his guest post on EconomistMom.

--Josh Gordon

Thursday, October 16, 2008 - 5:48 PM

On behalf of the staff here at The Concord Coalition, let me welcome you to our new blog. We hope this blog will provide a forum for us to bring you the latest news about Concord, highlight our fiscal policy positions, and report from the field. The last item is the one we felt our new website was most lacking, so we are hoping the blog will give us the opportunity to inform the public around the country what our field staff does and also what the citizens we encounter when we go around the country talking to schools, civic groups, and other community gatherings are most worried about when they think of the fiscal future and the importance of generationally responsible fiscal policy.

I want to thank our Chief Economist, Diane Lim Rogers, for keeping the seat warm here with her blog "" while we have worked on getting our new website up and running. She will continue her prolific blogging there, and will also be lending a hand here with posts highlighting her unique take on fiscal policy.

Many of you might wonder how we came up with the name for our blog and why we prominently feature a picture of an outdated soda can. For those of you who have seen the movie I.O.U.S.A. you probably already know that Concord...