Kevin Wiley: Our Own Midnight Ride

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Over the last 27 years, I have followed The Concord Coalition’s initiatives on fiscal responsibility as I raised my family and continued my logistics career in central Indiana. In recent years, however, I became more than a passive supporter. I got off the bench and took it upon myself to help make the case for fiscal responsibility in Washington.

One welcoming venue was Rotary. I had been active in my local Rotary Club and even became President in 2007. While no longer an active Rotarian, I found myself at meetings throughout Indiana presenting Concord’s fiscal exercises and ideas to Rotary groups. But my road trips have also included visits with sitting members of Congress and many college and university settings.

Volunteers like me are referred to in the Concord community as “Fiscal Lookouts.” We are citizens across the country who run the spectrum in terms of ideology but have found common cause in our concerns for the country’s fiscal future. We work with Concord staff to educate our fellow citizens about the national debt and the federal budget using Concord’s interactive exercises and educational materials. The value of these exercises is often demonstrably more than that initial goal. 

Using Concord’s Principles and Priorities fiscal exercise, I have had the opportunity to witness citizens of every ideology, background and creed find common ground on some of the most polarizing issues of the day. Fiscal Lookouts create an environment where participants in the exercise feel comfortable working in groups with friends and strangers alike and often with people who share opposing viewpoints. With the partisan divide being as intense as it is today, I have been struck by how well these groups of strangers work together in their mission to put the country and its finances on a more sustainable track. 

Take, for instance, our recent exercise in Athens, Georgia where a conservative Republican congressman and the city’s progressive mayor came together to co-host a Principles and Priorities exercise in civil manner. Because of instances like this, while Principles and Priorities was designed to show citizens what it is like to work on the federal budget in Congress, instead I find that it shows Congress how the process should be done. 

What drives me to be a Fiscal Lookout?  Clearly I have had a long term interest in sound economics, sound government, and stable pricing. I have never been more concerned about a more grounded economy and fiscal fairness across generational lines than I am now. As a semi retired 65+ year old man I hope to leave my own family and families across the country with the knowledge that, among other things, our country will remain the financial leader of the world and that our children will have the opportunity to live in an economically stable environment. I want to see our children live happy and healthy lives where they are afforded the same or greater opportunities for success than I was. For that to happen, we need to begin to engage in sound economic practices before we hand them worse than our current national debt which is now nearing $23 trillion. 

I first became interested and a follower of The Concord Coalition not long after it’s inception in 1992. The loss of leadership in Washington DC these days is palpable regardless of your political alignment and I truly believe that we all need to emulate the Minuteman that is on The Concord Coalition logo. We must warn our fellow citizens of this extended incursion of fiscal irresponsibility and unsustainability. It is time for us all to become modern day Paul Reveres, and spur our neighbors to action before it is too late. Join us as we engage in our own Midnight Ride by reaching out to us at [email protected].

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