October 30, 2014

In Budget Exercise, Players See Need for Compromise

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

With dozens of Colorado residents assembled last week for “Principles and Priorities,” a federal budget exercise developed by The Concord Coalition, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis promised to take the results back to Washington.

"I will learn from your work," the Colorado Democrat said at the event, held in Loveland. "We will take the solutions that you come up with and post them on our website; I will talk about them on the House floor."

His colleagues in both parties might find that helpful. In conducting the exercise around the country in recent years, Concord has found that average citizens are generally more supportive of compromise, difficult decisions and public sacrifice than their elected representatives assume.

Principles and Priorities asks participants to work in small groups to develop 10-year deficit-reduction plans to put the budget on a more sustainable course.

They usually succeed – in part because most participants quickly realize that inflexibility and partisan slogans are a recipe for failure.

The Loveland program was presented by Polis, Concord and Fix the Debt. Concord works with members of Congress in both parties who want to give their constituents opportunities to participate in such exercises.