I had the opportunity to attend yet another fabulous Town Hall Los Angeles event today. This one was really quite important to all, but most don’t know about it. It has even been the subject of a 60 Minutes segment and is having a documentary made about it, it’s that important! It is called the “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour” and is headlined by David M. Walker, the Comptroller General of the United States. Here is a picture of my mother (the President of Town Hall Los Angeles) with David Walker (I’m standing next to them taking the pic with my iPhone)
First, you should know that the Comptroller General of the United States is a non-partisan appointed position with a term of 15 years. The position is the nation’s Chief Accountability Officer and head of the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).
This was an amazing event…. There were three other people on the panel with David Walker, the Comptroller General: Robert L. Bixby, the Executive Director of The Concord Coalition; Alison Acosta Fraser, the Director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy; and Isabel V. Sawhill, a Senior Fellow at The Brooking Institution. You can read more about them and their bios here (pdf).
What was so amazing about this event was that they explained such a complex situation that is really, really important in such a plain and interesting way. They even put a bit of humor into it. I have also scanned as pdf’s the handouts that went along with their presentations (be warned they are pdf’s and while not huge, not tiny either).
When you look at these slides, and if you heard the talks that accompanied them, you were scared. And you should be! What they showed is that we are heading for bankruptcy as a nation. There is no question about it, and no one from either party or organization has/will/or can argue these numbers. They are hard facts! I encourage you to look at the slides and pay attention. One of the things that they all said that was so important was that it’s not just us, but the generations to follow that will be burdened by these entitlements and the bankruptcy to follow.
The all said that there is no way to grow our economy out of this predicament. There is no way to change the course we are on without hard political decisions. They all suggested calling, emailing, faxing and especially writing our Congressmen/women. They all also suggested that any politician that says that they won’t touch entitlements is tacitly agreeing to bankrupt our country! Of course, they had the numbers to back up all of these statements….
There was also complete agreement on another topic that I had heard but that doesn’t really sink in…. Social Security is the “easy” one to solve. It’s the smallest of the bunch. Medicare and Medicaid are multiple times the size spending and therefore problem wise. This is where the tough decisions are going to have to be made and people are going to have to sacrifice and work longer and harder to afford these benefits! Again, I encourage you to look at the slides, read the 60 Minutes link above, and to talk about this with your friends. We have to do something about this debt that is hanging over our head or else!
I go to a lot of these types of events. This was the best I have attended! Not just because of the topic (which I am interested in, and you should be too), but because the speakers were so good. It’s readily apparent that they understand the importance of this topic and are trying to make it easier for the lay-person to understand, while not scaring them to death and inaction. It’s also obvious that they have given this speech/talk a gazillion times before and practiced it that much even before that. They are very good speakers that get their point across well, unlike our President. I would encourage all to listed to this talk should you have an opportunity to do so. Go seek it out, Google for it, find it and attend!
I also got seated next to me Morgan Fairchild, which didn’t hurt :-)! At one point, the photographer took a picture, and because of the angle, of course I was in it. I causally leaned over to her and said, “Because of you, now I’m going to be famous.” She replied that “We’d be on the cover of The Enquirer tomorrow…”. And of course I had to comment back, “That’s good for my ego, but maybe not so much for yours”, and that got a laugh :-)….