‘Go Big’ Goes On

There has been lots of attention recently on the ‘Go Big’ campaign and what comes next. The latest comes from a National Journal article that begins, “The ‘go big’ proponents just won’t quit.”

Persistence is a needed attribute for those seeking solutions to the fiscal challenge facing the country as they go against the grain in the extremely ingrained culture of Washington. It goes against the basic instincts of elected officials to support policies that could cause pain for their constituents. It goes against contemporary political orthodoxy to cross the aisle and collaborate with the other party. Yet that is what Go Big supporters are doing. And against the conventional wisdom, their ranks are growing.

So far, 45 senators have joined with 100 members of the House of Representatives. These are savvy politicians, who fully understand the political risks they are taking, yet they recognize the greater risks to the economy and America’s standing if they do not act. That was one of the messages at a recent press conference featuring many of these lawmakers. They understand that the inability of Washington to address the problems facing the country in a substantive way is a major reason why public confidence in government is at an all-time low. They also realize that the fiscal challenge is a defining issue of our time that demands the type of leadership that transcends political allegiance.

In addition to legislators are a legion of economists, business leaders, budget experts, former policymakers and others who fear that we are following the disastrous path of Europe and must change course. Budget policy is not the most exciting issue, but those who understand the numbers can get pretty animated about the need for action. As former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker says, the mounting national debt is a “tremendous threat to the future of the United States, its position in the world, our standard of living at home, and, potentially, our domestic tranquility.” [See many more videos here.]

The National Journal article concludes by raising the key question: Will it take a crisis to prompt action? Go Big supporters believe that we can muster the political will to act now and preempt a crisis. It is not naiveté, but a conviction that the same spirit and determination that has allowed America to lead the way so many times before can be mustered yet again.

The failure of the Super Committee to produce any deficit reduction recommendations means that the issue is not going away. The growing support among lawmakers and many others for a comprehensive, multi-year plan that puts the United States on a sustainable fiscal course means that the Go Big movement will also continue.