Speakers in the Fiscal Wake-Up Tour sometimes worry that all the bad news they are delivering may be leave audiences too discouraged about the country’s future. Too much gloom and doom, after all, could cause some people to simply throw up their hands in despair.
But while people who attended this week’s Wake-Up program in Kennebunkport, Maine, found the presentations sobering, they also seemed engaged and in many cases energized to seek solutions.
That was reflected both in the wide-ranging questions during the program and in comments from some audience members afterwards.
“The program was very informative; it’s great that we can do this,” said Jonathan T.E. Courtney, assistant Republican leader in the Maine Senate. He strongly agreed with the calls for Democrats and Republicans to cooperate in finding solutions to the nation’s fiscal problems: “We just can’t sustain this level of spending.”
Such cooperation in Maine, he said, enabled legislators there to begin to deal constructively with difficulties in the state budget this year: “We decided to engage Democrats rather than throw bombs.”
Frank Gallagher, a Portland Democrat and Maine director for Americans United for Change, also liked the program and agreed with much of what he heard there. Rising federal deficits, he said, were a critical...