With the national debt reaching the $15 trillion mark this month, average citizens are showing a keener appreciation of the need for more sustainable federal budgets than many elected officials.
“When given a chance, ordinary citizens, college students and even high-schoolers have done much better at reducing the deficit than members of Congress,” says Paul W. Hansen, Rocky Mountain states regional director for The Concord Coalition. In a guest column in the Billings Gazette, he points to recent budget exercises that Concord has conducted in his region and around the country: “In the Rocky Mountain states, citizens from across the political spectrum have been able to agree to budgetary changes that would reduce deficits by at least the $1.2 trillion that eluded the super committee. In most cases, these citizens found amounts close to the $4 trillion, which would move us much closer to stabilizing the debt.” Hansen notes that both political parties deserve some blame for the rapidly growing debt, and both must be part of the solution. “Anyone who is serious about budget reform must be equally serious about compromise,” he says, adding: “We cannot simply cut, tax or grow our way out of this fiscal crisis. We must do all three.” Read more with Ordinary Citizens Can Agree on Solving U.S. Deficit Challenges