Opportunities to Speak Up on Debt and Deficits

Americans will get the chance to have their voices heard on what policymakers should do about the unsustainable fiscal outlook at some upcoming events.

On Saturday, June 26, a “National Town Meeting” will seek to spur a national discussion on our fiscal future. AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy will convene meetings across the country and connect them via interactive video broadcast. Individuals can also participate from home via webcast. The goal of the forum is to encourage Americans to “come together to put our country on a sustainable path by setting national priorities and making decisions about how we are going to pay for them.” The organizers of the event will present the priorities that emerge from the discussion to policymakers. Information on where meetings will take place and how to participate is available here.

Concerned citizens will also have an opportunity to speak directly to key policymakers at the next meeting of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The panel will conduct an open hearing on Wednesday, June 30 in Washington, DC. Information on how to sign up to speak is available on the commission’s website.

Public input will be critical to move politicians to act responsibly. A new survey from Public Agenda of “D.C Influencers” underscores the challenge. While eight in ten “movers and shakers” in Washington agree that the federal budget is on an unsustainable course and that national debt could harm the economy in the long run, few say that they are advocating policies based on reducing the debt. The overwhelming majority feel that although they believe there are practical policies for dealing with the debt, they don’t see them as politically possible. And few political leaders and opinion elites know what the current debt-to-GDP level is.

The National Academy of Public Administration will host an event on June 30 to discuss the results and “how America can rise above the partisan divide that is impeding progress on the issue.” Click here for information and registration for the event.

CRFB’s Stabilize the Debt online budget simulator is a great tool for learning about the fiscal situation and exploring solutions. Since its unveiling last month, over 50,000 people have checked it out. Users have spread the word virally and have shared their thoughts on CRFB's Facebook page. Policymakers and the public would benefit from doing the simulator to see what the current debt-to-GDP ratio is, where it is headed, and what can be done to get it to a sustainable level.

So, try the simulator, get the facts and then express your opinion at the public forums and see how to convince our leaders to work together to put the country on a solid fiscal course.