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Jean Johnson: On the Debt, Citizens Want Action, Not Perfection

My friend and colleague Jean Johnson had a great article published on the Huffington Post last month that I recommend NCDDers take a look at.

NIF-logoThe article, titled “On the Debt, Citizens Want Action, Not Perfection,” outlines three key observations from last year’s National Issues Forums on our country’s long-term budget and debt problems. NIF is a nonpartisan network of educational and community organizations that regularly convene people to exchange views on major issues. Throughout 2011 and 2012, the group brought typical citizens together in 24 states and the District of Columbia to deliberate on options for tackling the debt.

The article begins with a telling quote from one of the forum participants in Mississippi: “Right now, our representatives have loyalty to self first; loyalty to party second; and loyalty to country third. They need to reverse it.”

Jean, a Senior Fellow at Public Agenda, has long been associated with NIF, and she observed some of the debt forums and reviewed videos and transcripts of others. In 2-hour conversations, participants weighed ideas ranging from cutting federal spending and raising taxes to passing a balanced budget amendment to focusing on economic growth as the best way out.

Jean explains in the article:

Not surprisingly, people didn’t become budget experts in just one evening, nor did they agree chapter and verse on an explicit package of solutions. Even so, the vast majority of those attending approached this discussion with a sense of pragmatism and flexibility that often seems scarce in Washington.

Take a moment to read this important article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jean-johnson/on-the-debt-citizens-want_b_4218921.html.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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