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Carolyn Lukensmeyer Headshot

What The Supercommittee Couldn't Do, The American Public Has Already Done

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How is it that the 12 members of the Supercommittee can, after three months of work, simply throw up their hands and leave us deeply in debt, when a year and half ago, 3,500 ideologically diverse Americans sat down together for one day and came to consensus about what to do?

In June, 2010, in 57 cities across the country, tea-partiers, move-on members and a whole lot of average, middle-of-the-road citizens talked across their differences on our fiscal crisis. They very quickly understood, and accepted, that we would have to raise revenues and cut entitlements. When given an opportunity to look at the facts and talk through their concerns, they were quite capable of reaching the compromises necessary to put our country back on a track of fiscal responsibility.

The details are compelling: half of the table groups participating in the AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy National Discussion were able to reach the goal of reducing the deficit by 2025 by $1.2 trillion; 65% were able to reduce it by $1 trillion. Drilling into some of the details: 85% of citizens agreed to reduce defense spending by at least 5%; 68% agreed to at least a 5% reduction in spending on all non-defense programs; 62% of participants expressed support for at least a 5% reduction in health care spending; and 60% (across every age group) agreed to raising the cap on payroll taxes to 90% of earnings. And more.

Politicians and elected officials of all stripes -- egged-on by a rabidly destructive media -- would have you believe otherwise. It's in their interest to perpetuate the current narrative that the public's views are too entrenched and contradictory for compromise; that Americans would rather hold on to an idea than reach across the table. This is pure bunk. Americans know, and proved it a year ago June, that we are living in world where we will need to rearrange and cut our defense spending; that it is time to do means testing for entitlements; and that real tax code reform as well as revenue raising are part of the picture.

In America today, our people are better than our politics. What the Supercommittee claims couldn't be done, has already been accomplished by average citizens. The moment has come to demand that our elected representatives drop their ideological rants and get down to business. If they continue to refuse, when 2012 comes around, the people will find someone else who will.

More information about AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy and the compromises that were reached are available at http://usabudgetdiscussion.org/

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