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.
Young People Taking on Federal Finances
Young people have been important voices in addressing the challenges faving our nation's fiscal future. In the fall of 2008, Public Agenda launched a new effort to engage college students through its Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances initiative, funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
This past fall, Public Agenda launched a pilot “Campus Conversation” at American University to gauge students’ views and ideas on the nation’s fiscal future. In this pilot, students took part in carefully constructed, moderated, problem-solving dialogues about critical issues related to the nation’s debt and finances, prefaced by a basic presentation on federal finances. More 
"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.
Learn more about the regions we're working in and what we've done so far. 
Facing Up to the Nation's Finances News
 - Spring 2008
Facing Up to the Nation's Finances News  - Summer 2007
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"
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
For a full listing of reports, transcripts and statements on this issue from our partners, visit The Brookings Institution , The Concord Coalition  and The Heritage Foundation .
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.
 http://www.publicagenda.org/press/pdfs/NH-ME Writeup LR.pdf