Imhof: It's a Math Problem

Published Jun 22, 2011. By Robin Delaney. In Fort Madison Daily Democrat.

The national deficit. Unless one is living on a deserted island without contact to other human beings or the endless stream on talking heads on cable news network, every American is aware it exists, continues to grow, and must be reduced somehow.But the cause of the problem, and its potential solutions, tends to be either Republican or Democrat, depending upon the member of Congress talking."It's not a political problem, it's a math problem. It's not Republican or Democrat. It's a real numbers problem, plain and simple," Sara L. Imhof, midwest regional director and health policy analyst for the Concord Coalition said Tuesday while bringing the group's message to Fort Madison.And what is that message? Get the facts, form an opinion, and then become engaged in being part of the solution -- regardless of what solution or approach you may determine to be appropriate.The Concord Coalition is a non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about the causes and consequences of federal budget deficits, the long-term challenges facing America's unsustainable entitlement programs, and how to build a sound foundation for economic growth. One might think that the Coalition developed as a result of the economic downfall of the last two years among the bailouts, the stimulus package, the Obama Health Care proposal, etc. No, actually the Coalition began in the early 1990s when citizens and groups, like the Minutemen at Concord, Mass., started evaluating the information being distributed by politicians and the media reporting on them.

In response, the Concord Coalition's national field staff members, like Imhof, and its volunteers cover the country trying to get the objective numbers of the federal budget, its projections into the next 25 and 50 years, and the proposals being offered by those in Washington, D.C., out to citizens."We go to the nth degree to stay nonpartisan. All we want to do is give people accurate information that they can consider when looking at what they are being told or what people are suggesting so they make up their own minds and determine what path they want to go down," Imhof said.Before one can look at balancing the national budget, one has to know where current funds are being spent and how those funds relate to the amount of revenue coming into the federal coffers. For example, Imhof says the fact remains that the bulk of the federal budget -- 40 percent -- is spent on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."Too often people pin us as ones that want to cut Social Security, or cut Medicare when the truth is just the opposite. We want to get the numbers out to people so that they can seek solutions that will ensure Social Security and Medicare remains viable in the future," Imhof said...