A group of Iowans today got a chance to do something that has long eluded Congress: Make tough budget choices to put the federal deficit on a sustainable downward path.
They did so in the hope that these kinds of decisions — which they made through an interactive exercise on the federal budget in Pella, Iowa — will also be made by the 2016 presidential candidates in the campaign.
Students, community leaders and other interested citizens worked on the exercise with former Iowa Congressmen Leonard Boswell, a Democrat, and Tom Tauke, a Republican.
The program was sponsored by First Budget, a non-partisan initiative of The Concord Coalition and Fix the Debt to encourage voters and candidates to focus on the need for more responsible fiscal policies.
The participants developed compromise plans, including some that would reduce projected deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars over the coming decade. As the two former lawmakers pointed out, it is critical for elected officials to reach such compromises in Washington.
Zach Matter, one of the participants, said: “As a Central College student and economics major, I thought this experience and exercise was a good opportunity to put theory into practice and to see different generations’ perspectives on certain issues.”