Despite all of the partisan disagreements over the federal budget, some former government officials and other experts have found some common ground on possible approaches to fiscal reform. In a recent blog post Paul Hansen, western states regional director for The Concord Coalition, said he was encouraged by the amount of agreement he saw while watching four recent Strengthening of America forums from his office in Wyoming.
The forums, held in Washington and New York, were convened by a group of former U.S. lawmakers and co-sponsored by Concord and a number of other organizations. Hansen says that much of what he heard in the programs matches what Concord has found working with average Americans around the country.
“These leaders emphasized that nothing we can do would have a more positive effect on growth than Washington embracing a credible long-term deficit reduction plan and sticking to it,” Hansen writes. He also points to agreement among forum speakers on the need to revamp the tax code, curb the growth in health care costs, and reform entitlement programs.
“The strong bipartisan agreement among these experts that something like the Bowles-Simpson framework is a good place to start aligns squarely with the common-sense experience that Concord Coalition staff members see in their everyday contact with people across the nation,” Hansen says.
In addition, organizations of state and local leaders have released statements this year calling on Washington to approve comprehensive plans to deal with the national debt.
“The candidates and Congress would be wise to listen to the Strengthening of America leaders, the states, the mayors and average citizens,” Hansen says. “They all understand what needs to be done – done together and done now.”