Concord/Peterson Launch ‘Fiscal Solutions’ Tour

Published Sep 13, 2010. By Chuck Conlon and Greg Vadala. In Congressional Quarterly.

CONCORD/PETERSON LAUNCH ‘FISCAL SOLUTIONS’ TOUR: Two anti-deficit groups last week announced a nationwide tour to engage and educate the public on policy options that may be necessary to address the nation’s growing long-term budget imbalances. The tour is intended to help prepare the public for politically painful policies that may be recommended for consideration by Congress, including by President Obama’s fiscal commission. “We need to engage the American public in a dialogue about these solutions, because the American public really needs to be engaged,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the nonpartisan Concord Coalition, which previously was a chief sponsor of the multi-year Fiscal Wake-Up Tour. “Simply warning about the problem now is not enough. We have to start talking about solutions, and that’s what this is about,” Bixby said. The tour, organized by Concord and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, is not intended to advance a specific set of solutions, but will feature a variety of perspectives on different policy options to prompt public discussion of possible changes in federal spending and revenues that would reduce future deficits. The nation’s debt is projected to explode in future years as federal spending, particularly on health care entitlements, vastly exceeds available revenues. “If you just end up with some package of reforms that the public is not prepared for, they certainly won’t accept them,” Bixby said. Added Peterson President David M. Walker, “There’s no way that elected officials will make the tough choices required unless the American people understand the need for action and the potential adverse consequences if we fail to act.”