Last night, Ann Arbor area residents and students had an opportunity to try to put the federal budget on a more responsible and sustainable path in a public deficit-reduction exercise at Washtenaw Community College.
The program was free and open to the public. It was led by Sara Imhof, the Midwest Director of the Concord Coalition. The Concord Coalition is a non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility. Former U.S. Senators Warren B. Rudman (R-NH) and Sam Nunn (D-GA) serve as Concord's co-chairs.
"I appreciate the Concord Coalition and their fine work to inform the public about the budget process," said Dingell. "The interesting thing about these interactive budget workshops is that they always inform people and help them make an educated judgment as a result. One, the public gets to see what a tremendous difficulty it is to address the national needs and concerns. Two, the exercise demonstrates how much thought must go into this kind of work, and lastly, it shows the public the vastness and complexity of our national budget."
At the event, participants assumed the roles of members of Congress who have been appointed to a special committee to recommend a package of policies to reduce projected deficits over the next decade and put America on a sound fiscal foundation. This exercise involved difficult decisions and compromises on domestic and defense spending as well as possible changes in entitlement programs and tax policies.
"The budget exercise showed us that tough decisions and trade-offs can be done in a responsible, balanced manner," Dingell told the audience. "I am going to take these lessons back to Washington with me as Congress continues to debate a plan to deal with our long-term deficits."