I came across The Concord Coalition, a nationwide, non-partisan, grassroots organization advocating generationally responsible fiscal policy. Their goal is to educate 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 economy for future generations.
Accordingly, they've started the "Fiscal Wake Up Tour" - featuring a series of public forums around the country designed to focus attention on the country's long-term fiscal challenges. The closest one to us will be December 6th at Michigan State University.
Speakers at their forums include representatives from such diverse ideological organizations as The Brookings Institution and The Heritage Foundation.
Good people on both sides of the political aisle can disagree about the best way to address such fiscal problems, but before we can have meaningful discussion about the solution, we must make sure that all of us understand the scope and impact of the problem. If we, the people, really want our elected representatives to address the tough issues, we must have an understanding of fiscal issues that we face today - and our children will face tomorrow.
Robert Bixby, Executive Director of The Concord Coalition, puts it this way:
An unprecedented demographic transformation is taking hold against the backdrop of steadily rising health care costs and steadily falling national savings. This is a dangerous combination for the future health of the economy. It may seem that there is no immediate crisis, yet according to a broad bipartisan consensus current fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path.
The baby boomers' imminent retirement is ushering in a permanent shift to an older population -- and a permanent rise in the cost of programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which already comprise 40 percent of the federal budget. There is no plan to pay for it all other than running up the national debt.
No one can say when a crisis will hit, but by the time it does the economy will likely be burdened with a debilitating amount of debt; leaving painful benefit cuts and steep tax increases as the only options. Doing nothing to avoid such a gut-wrenching outcome would be an act of fiscal and generational irresponsibility.
Since it looks like we're going to have another rainy weekend, you can use your time indoors to check out these two websites and read the information presented. And then share what you've learned with others, because ignoring the problem won't make it go away.