Some of The Concord Coalition’s most important tools for educating the public about the federal budget and the nation’s fiscal challenge are our budget exercises. We are pleased to announce that “Principles and Priorities,” “Debt Busters” and the online “Federal Budget Challenge” have all been updated to reflect the most recent projections and cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
The exercises also have been updated with some new choices that reflect changing policy debates in Washington. Some new policy issues included extension or repeal of the 2017 tax cuts, student loan subsidies, Medicare Advantage payments to private insurers, a financial transactions tax, and many more.
Washington has a 10-year projected deficit of $11.6 trillion, and the national debt recently surpassing $22 trillion. So enabling participants in our exercises around the country to understand the budgetary impacts of policy proposals, as well as some common arguments both for and against the them, is crucial to building public awareness and motivation to influence policymakers to address fiscal unsustainability -- something public officials in both parties seem to be more and more willing to ignore these days.
Principles and Priorities, our detailed group budget exercise that usually takes about two hours, has been used in town hall meetings across the country by members of Congress from both parties, as well as in hundreds of high school and college classrooms.
Debt Busters is a similar exercise suited for shorter time periods. The Federal Budget Challenge, produced with California-based non-profit Next 10, is our online version with interactive social networking tools.
If you are interested in running a group exercise, feel free to reach out to our field staff.
Over the long term, our country faces an unsustainable mismatch between the federal government's spending commitments and what it is projected to take in through taxes. Americans can use these updated exercises to consider projected deficits over the next 10 years and see what it’s like to try to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.
UPDATE: Here is a great local TV News story about a recent Principles and Priorities exercise in Cedar Falls, Iowa.