Congressmen Ami Bera, David Cicilline, Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger talk problem solving.
Perhaps the chief obstacle to fixing America's finances is that no one agrees on how to keep score. When leaders in Washington debate our budget, they routinely use different baselines, timelines, and assumptions, which often conveniently support whatever policy or ideology they are pushing at the moment. In addition, most governments have huge off-balance sheet obligations that are multiple times greater than what is on the balance sheet. Furthermore, many economists and politicians use apples and oranges approaches when comparing US government debt to European countries.
To quote an old Scottish writer, many Washington leaders "use statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts for support rather than for illumination."
That’s why our Make the Presidency Work! action plan proposes the creation of an annual fiscal report to ensure all our leaders are debating the same numbers. No Labels initially introduced this idea in our Make Congress Work! action plan, but it’s so important to an effective presidency that we are including it in Make the Presidency Work! too.
The idea is simple.
Once a year, a nonpartisan leader, such as the Comptroller General of the United States, should deliver a televised fiscal update in-person to a joint session of Congress. The president, vice president, all cabinet members, senators and members of Congress would attend this fiscal update session. Applicable government officials would also take individual responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the fiscal report by signing it, just as CEOs are required to affirm the accuracy of their company’s financial reporting.
We hope the No Labels community will demand our leaders adopt an annual fiscal report concept for the sake of America's and our families' financial futures.
Dave Walker is a No Labels Co-Founder as well as the Founder and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative. From 1998-2008 he served as Comptroller General of the United States.