Trump's Debt Clock Ticks as Iowans Try Deficit Reduction

Published Oct 11, 2017. By Kathie Obradovich.

It seemed like a quaint exercise, like a quilting bee or a Parcheesi tournament. More than 60 people gathered at Drake University, pens in hand, trying to work out how they would cut the national debt.

Yep, the national debt. Remember when there were flickering, 14-digit debt counters on every Republican website? They flashed on giant screens at conventions and other gatherings, always spinning upward toward some vaguely foreboding day of reckoning.

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The Concord Coalition, which conducted the budget exercise at Drake on Tuesday, is in its 25th year of preaching the gospel of debt reduction.  Concord Coalition doesn’t follow either party’s talking points on the budget. The organization argues for reining in spending, particularly on entitlements as the worker-to-retiree ratio continues to shrink. That’s not a popular subject with Democrats. 

But it also does not embrace the GOP’s small-government mantra or the idea that cutting taxes magically leads to economic growth. The Concord Coalition’s bottom line is whether we want a big government or a small one, we should pay for the size of government we have.