Noted for the record: the "Fiscal Wake-up Tour," which, according to the Heritage Foundation, "is crisscrossing America to alert the public to the danger of out of control federal spending. Next stops: Charleston and Cincinnati." Heritage reports that the tour was recently profiled on '60 Minutes.'
The purpose of this Tour is to explain in plain terms why budget analysts of diverse perspectives are increasingly alarmed by the nation's long-term fiscal outlook. Our emphasis is on the key areas in which we have found consensus, such as:No progressive think-tanks appear to be connected to this, which is something of a concern. Once again it appears that the acceptable range of political discourse in America runs from center-right to right. It would not be a good thing for progressive voices to be left out of the Coming Big Budget Debate.
- The overall dimensions of the problem
- The nature of the realistic trade-offs that must be confronted in finding solutions
- The adverse and inequitable consequences for future generations if we fail to make serious changes, sooner rather than later.
Our mission is to cut through the usual partisan rhetoric and stimulate a more realistic public dialogue on what we want our nation's future to look like, along with the required trade-offs. We believe that elected leaders in Washington know there is a problem, but they are unlikely to act unless their constituents better understand the need for action, and indeed, demand it. Members of the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour do not necessarily agree on the ideal levels of spending, taxes and debt, but we do agree on the following key points:
- Current fiscal policy is unsustainable
- There are no free lunch solutions, such as cutting waste fraud and abuse or growing our way out of the problem.
- The best way to make the hard choices is through a bipartisan process with all options on the table.
- Public engagement and understanding is vital in finding solutions.
- This is not about numbers. It is a moral issue.
We remind audiences that each of the realistic options comes with economic and political consequences that must be carefully weighed, and that there must be tradeoffs. Those who want to raise taxes are asked to explain what level of taxation they are willing to support and the manner in which the new revenue should be raised. Those who argue that spending must come down from projected levels are asked which programs they would target and how the savings would be achieved. Those who are unwilling to do either are asked how much debt they are willing to impose on future generations.