Concord Coalition Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Iowa Trip

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On October 10 several members of The Concord Coalition convened in Iowa to host events and meet with stakeholders and media, kicking off the 2020 presidential cycle and celebrating the Concord Coalition’s 25th Anniversary. The Concord Coalition has hosted a series of events to mark 25 years of advocating for fiscal reform, including events in Washington, D.C.; Manchester and New London, New Hampshire; Concord, Massachusetts; and Des Moines, Iowa.

West Des Moines Rotary Club

Concord Coalition Executive Director Bob Bixby spoke to approximately 60 members of the West Des Moines Rotary Club at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club. Bixby was introduced by Concord team member David Oman. During the meeting, Bixby gave a chart talk, discussing implications of the national debt and efforts to put our nation on a more sustainable fiscal track. Feedback after the event was positive.

Principles & Priorities

The Concord Coalition, in partnership with Drake University College of Business and Public Administration, The Harkin Institute, The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, and Vote Smart, hosted an interactive budget exercise, “Principles & Priorities,” on campus at Drake University.

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The event was also sponsored by a diverse group of organizations: Iowa Farm Bureau, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, and Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO.



Nearly 70 individuals attended the evening’s event. David Oman served as the facilitator and introduced hosts and guests who spoke, including individuals from the Ray Center and the Harkin Institute. Bob Bixby also gave remarks on the current fiscal environment in Washington before Phil Smith led the Principles & Priorities exercise. Participants ranged from young college students to working professionals and area seniors with the Ray Society.

Des Moines Register’s chief political reporter Kathie Obradavich also attended and her story was published later that week. (Link included below). A copy of the invitation is included at the end of this document.


Media Hits


Need to Know: Does the Federal Debt REALLY Impact Me?

WHO-Radio | Jeff Angelo

October 10, 2017 | 15 minutes

Concord Coalition Executive Director Bob Bixby joined WHO Radio host Jeff Angelo to discuss why Americans should care about the rising $20 trillion debt and how it impacts the average American citizen.


Trump’s Debt Clock Ticks as Iowans Try Deficit Reduction

The Des Moines Register | Kathie Obradavich

October 11, 2017

The Concord Coalition staff joined Kathie Obradavich for an hour-long deskside briefing on Tuesday afternoon to discuss The Concord Coalition’s mission, Iowa efforts, and the overall implications of irresponsible fiscal policies. Obradavich attended the public Principles & Priorities that evening to learn more about the exercise.

It seemed like a quaint exercise, like a quilting bee or a Parcheesi tournament. More than 60 people gathered at Drake University, pens in hand, trying to work out how they would cut the national debt.

Yep, the national debt. Remember when there were flickering, 14-digit debt counters on every Republican website? They flashed on giant screens at conventions and other gatherings, always spinning upward toward some vaguely foreboding day of reckoning.

The Concord Coalition, which conducted the budget exercise at Drake on Tuesday, is in its 25th year of preaching the gospel of debt reduction.  Concord Coalition doesn’t follow either party’s talking points on the budget. The organization argues for reining in spending, particularly on entitlements as the worker-to-retiree ratio continues to shrink. That’s not a popular subject with Democrats.

But it also does not embrace the GOP’s small-government mantra or the idea that cutting taxes magically leads to economic growth. The Concord Coalition’s bottom line is whether we want a big government or a small one, we should pay for the size of government we have.

News at 5 with Bob Bixby

KCCI-TV Des Moines (CBS)

October 10, 2017 | 2 minutes


Concord Coalition Executive Director Bob Bixby spoke with KCCI-TV in Des Moines on the 5:00 evening news about a “Principles & Priorities” exercise as well as GOP tax proposals.

“We’re on an unsustainable track with our debt, it’s much too big, we’re going to have to bring deficits under control,” Bixby said. “So, we can reform taxes, but should do so in a way that brings revenue.”

The Insiders: Checking in on the Federal Debt

WHO-TV Des Moines (NBC) | The Insiders with Dave Price

October 15, 2017 | 5 minutes


When you hear the word “concord,” what do you think of? There’s a good chance it’s the type of grape, rather than the non-partisan coalition that’s been trying for years to get elected officials to take our ballooning federal debt more seriously.Channel 13 talked with the Concord Coalition in the 2012 cycle, when the federal debt was about $16 trillion. It’s now more than $20 trillion, so Political Director Dave Price checked in again with Bob Bixby, head of the coalition.


The Insiders: Are Tax Cuts Enough to Fix the Federal Debt?

WHO-TV Des Moines (NBC) | The Insiders with Dave Price

October 15, 2017 | 3 minutes 30 seconds


Since 2000, the U.S. economy has averaged two percent growth, but the Trump administration is planning its spending based on three percent. The head of the Concord Coalition calls that a bit of Miracle-Gro, food designed to make plants grow better. But tax cuts alone won’t grow the economy enough without spending cuts, which Box Bixby thinks means our federal debt will only keep increasing.

The Insiders: Former Congressman Leonard Boswell in the Studio

WHO-TV Des Moines (NBC) | The Insiders with Dave Price

October 15, 2017 | 6 minutes 30 seconds

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Iowa cabinet member, former Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell (D),  was a guest on The Insiders with Dave Price on the same day as Bob Bixby. During Congressman Boswell’s interview, he mentioned the importance of the organization’s work:

“I want to thank you for doing part of this show with The Concord Coalition. I’ve been part of it since I first started in D.C., and I have done a number of those workshops. The debt is unsustainable and you learned that as you talked to Bob Bixby, and Dave Oman here in town is a friend of mine, so thank you for speaking with them.”

A Revealing Budget-Balancing Exercise

Jefferson Herald | Rick Morain, Iowa Cabinet Member

October 19, 2017

Iowa cabinet member Rick Morain attended the Principles & Priorities exercise. The next week, he submitted an opinion-editorial to the Jefferson Herald recapping the event and the key takeaways.


Most Americans, including most of those in the administration and Congress, believe that a burgeoning federal debt is not a good thing. So discussions about how to reduce annual federal deficits, or even eliminate them, take place regularly in various venues.

One of those happened Tuesday evening of last week at Drake University in Des Moines. It was held under the auspices of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan national organization that for 25 years has worked to encourage a balanced federal budget.

The Concord Coalition’s Iowa chapter invited about 70 Iowans to sit around tables in groups of eight or so and consider 41 options to increase revenues and/or reduce expenditures at the federal level. I was one of the invitees.

It was a challenging exercise, and somewhat artificial as well. For example, nothing about the tax reform plan currently being discussed was included. How that comes out will be significant regarding the congressional budget discussions now taking place.



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