Despite growing consensus on the dire nature of the nation's finances, straight talk about what we want government to do and how we plan to pay for government services is a rare commodity. Facing Up to the Nation's Finances and Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances are nonpartisan initiatives that enable more Americans to confront and work through realistic choices for addressing the nation's long-term fiscal challenges.
"Facing Up" is a nationwide project developed in partnership with leaders from The Brookings Institution, The Concord Coalition, the Heritage Foundation, Public Agenda and Viewpoint Learning. The project has received support from the Ford Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Public Agenda's own Wadsworth Program Development Fund. Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances is a college-based, nationwide project supported by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, involving a wide range of partners.
"Facing Up to the Nation's Finances" will not make recommendations on how public monies should be allocated or how the long-term deficit should be reduced. Rather it aims to organize a non-partisan movement of citizens and leaders in honest public dialogue to call for meaningful action in confronting the various challenges to long-term fiscal stability. Among those challenges are the impending retirements of baby boomers, the growth in health care costs, a broken tax system, and a lack of sufficient government accountability. It involves new forms of opinion research, public engagement and intensive engagement of leadership.
BUILDING A MOVEMENT FOR ACTION
Prior to launching Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances in 2008, our "Facing Up to the Nation's Finances" initiative in 2006 and 2007 engaged the public, elected and civic leaders, and local media in a serious consideration of our nation's finances in targeted regions around the country. The action unfolded in four steps:
- ChoiceDialogues, innovative, invitation-only research sessions, provideed deeper insight into the views and values of the unorganized public in that region;
- a visit to the region by The Concord Coalition's "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour";
- a Stakeholder Dialogue in which citizens who participated in the ChoiceDialogues worked with representatives from the Wake-Up Tour and other leaders to find common ground and identify steps that would move their shared vision forward; and
- aggressive citizen movement building to give the public in the region the tools they need to move their vision forward, including online engagement activities, networking, and communications outreach.
- Facing Up to the Nation's Finances News - Spring 2008
- Facing Up to the Nation's Finances News - Summer 2007
Project News Coverage
- The perils of living for today - BaltimoreSun.com, April 8, 2009
- Entitlement Debate Heats Up as Fiscal Summit Approaches - HealthBeat, February 18, 2009
- Students Face Up To Nation's Debt - Daily Pennsylvanian, January 14, 2009
- New Initiative: Aims to Teach, Engage Students In Averting U.S. Fiscal Crisis- November 18, 2008
- The National Debt: Has it gotten too big? - November 14, 2008
- Viewpoint: The plague of economic illiteracy- November 09, 2008
- Nota Bene, National Academy of Public Administration- October 2008
"Calling All Professors: The Fiscal Future Curriculum"
- "In the Economic Crisis, an Opportunity for Citizens- October 2008
- Los Angeles Times- October 2008
"$10.1-trillion national debt? Let's cut taxes!"
- Baltimore Sun- September 2008
"Viewpoint: Why liberals should care about deficits"
- Wall Street Journal- July 2008
"Sex, Drugs and the Federal Budget?"
- History of Education Quarterly- July 2008
"Beyond Civics and the 3 R's: Teaching Economics in the Schools"
- AARP Bulletin- July 2008
- Urban Institute- June 2008
"Rethinking Retirement: Opinions, Obstacles, Opportunities"
- Baltimore Sun- June 2008
"The Immorality of Our National Debt"
- Huffington Post- June 2008
"Healthy, Wealthy and Wise?"
- Huffington Post- April 2008
"How National Debt is Contributing to Public Disenchantment with Government"
- Washington Post- April 2008
"It's Out Fault, Too"
- Washington Times- March 2008
"Making tax day less painful"
- CQ Congressional Testimony- July 25, 2007
"Pay As You Go Budgeting"
- The Washington Post- June 21, 2007
"Stumping for attention to deficit disorder"
- Denver Post- June 17, 2007
"It's time to pay our bills: Americans want fiscal responsibility" by Ruth A. Wooden
- State House News Service- May 9, 2007
"Nonpartisan coalition to political leaders: Public dialogue essential for progress on federal budget"
- Yuma Sun- April 17, 2007
"Placid taxpayers keep handing over hard-earned dollars"
- 60 Minutes (transcript) - March 4, 2007
"Wake-Up Call: David Walker, America's top accountant, going on tour to sound the alarm that America cannot sustain current level of spending" click here to watch Steve Kroft interviewing David Walker
- The Washington Post- January 11, 2007
"We're ready for tough choices" by Ruth A. Wooden
- Christian Science Monitor - December 18, 2006 "Are Americans ready for fiscal sanity?"
- The Columbus Dispatch- December 17, 2006
"Americans would make sacrifices but have little faith in Congress"
Orlando Sentinel- December 14, 2006
"A loss of trust; Our Position: Americans realize entitlements need reforming even if Congress doesn't"
- Market News International - December 13, 2006 "Ex-fed V.Chair Rivlin urges dems to deal with admin on budget"
- The Columbus Dispatch - December 13, 2006 "Cynicism hampering Social Security fix; Public doesn't trust officials, study says"
- Wisconsin Public Radio- June 21, 2007
Interview with Ruth A. Wooden on Facing Up to the Nation's Finances
- USA Today- December 12, 2006
"Taxpayers distrust how the government spends their dollars, reports say"
National Journal CongressDaily - December 12, 2006
"Concord Coalition warns anew of coming budget problems"
- The New York Times- July 30, 2006 "Public's deficit fix may stun politicians"
Facing Up to the Nation's Finances Reports
Reports from FACING UP TO THE NATION'S FINANCES:
- Coming Together: Intergenerational Dialogues On The Deficit, Social Security & Beyond
- Regional Report: New Hampshire/Maine: Americans Deliberate Our Nation's Finances and Future: It's Not about Taxes - It's about Trust report
- Regional Report: Tennessee: Americans Deliberate Our Nation's Finances and Future: It's Not about Taxes - It's about Trust report
- It's Time to Pay Our Bills: Americans' Perspectives on the National Debt and How Leaders Can Use the Public's Ideas to Address the Country's Long-Term Budget Challenges report : press release
- Americans Deliberate Our Nation's Finances and Future: It's not about taxes -- It's about trust report : press release
- Understanding Public Attitudes about the Federal Budget: A Report on Focus Groups report : press release
Recent related reports from partners in the initiative:
- Understanding the Federal Debt Limit from The Concord Coalition, August 2009
- The Nation's Health Care Conundrum: Where Do We Go From Here? from The Concord Coalition, May 2009
- How We're Doing: What's Blocking the Recovery from The Brookings Institution, November 2009
- Bipartisan Budget Solution from The Brookings Institution, November 2009
- The Spending, Deficit, and Debt Control Act Would Help Congress Rein in Spending and Deficits from The Heritage Foundation, October 2009
- Entitlements Darken Long-Term Outlook for Federal Budget from The Heritage Foundation, June 2009
The Resources section of FacingUp.org pulls together the best information on the federal budget and related issues from both our partners and from non-partner organizations.
The Brookings Institution is a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2006, Brookings analyzes current and emerging issues and produces new ideas that matter -- for the nation and the world. www.brookings.edu/
The Concord Coalition is a nationwide, nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to sound, sustainable and generally responsible fiscal policy. The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by the late former Senator Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), former Senator Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson. Former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) was named a co-chair of the Concord Coalition in January 2002. www.concordcoalition.org
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute -- a think tank -- whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense. www.heritage.org
Public Agenda is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public opinion research and civic engagement organization. Founded in 1975 by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Daniel Yankelovich, the social scientist and author, Public Agenda is well respected for its influential public opinion polls, balanced citizen education materials and ground-breaking community-based engagement initiatives. Its mission is to close the gaps between leaders and the public. www.publicagenda.org
Viewpoint Learning, a research and consulting organization also cofounded by Daniel Yankelovich, conducts specialized dialogues that enable leaders to understand different perspectives in depth, increase options, anticipate obstacles and broaden support for difficult decisions. www.viewpointlearning.com