“When you are in power... you are hesitant to change the status quo because you don’t know what the consequences may be,” said former U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass.
For the latest episode of ‘’Facing the Future’’ I was joined by Bass and Dick Swett, who has served as an ambassador and a congressman, to discuss “Issue One,” an organization focused on ethical government, encouragement of bipartisan cooperation and overcoming dysfunction in Washington.
“What Issue One is about is a positive effort to establish over a period of time a coalition of Republicans and Democrats who are willing to step out and admit that there is more to this process of governing than staying in power,” Bass said.
“We need to change the kind of leaders that we choose,” Swett said. “We are looking at leaders in Congress right now that are very partisan, very narrow, that come through an echo chamber.”
“It’s easy to complain,” Bass said. “It’s quite another thing to spend time to figure out about how we can make Congress less dysfunctional.”
Swett said that Issue One started out as a group of former members of Congress who were concerned about money in politics but it has also focused on political reform and resisting the partisan tendencies of today.
“I think that relates back to, in some respects, the issues that The Concord Coalition is very much involved in and concerned about,” said Swett.
The Congressional Budget Office recently released its annual Long-Term Budget Outlook. Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director, joined the show to give his take on the report.
“It looks pretty consistent with last year’s, and that is not necessarily a good thing,” Bixby said.
He noted that the federal debt equals about 78 percent of GDP, which is “already very high by historical standards.” The CBO says this ratio will reach 150 percent over the next 30 years, Bixby said, “so it's not a positive outlook.”
“Just think about trying to live off your credit cards and just make the minimum payments,” he said. “Eventually it’s the interest cost that adds up.”
It is important to remember that the CBO makes its projections based upon current law, so the reality may turn out to be far different than what is projected.. Bixby made it clear that the reality could be better but it could also be much worse.
I host “Facing the Future” each week on WKXL Concord News Radio (N.H.), which is also available via podcast. Join us as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.