Budget expert blames 'you' for federal government shut-down

There’s plenty of blame to go around for the federal government shut down, but does some of that blame belong in your lap?

“The public needs to be more vocal to their leaders, especially sort of the reasonable folks because what happens is, if you’re radical you’re more likely to call your member of Congress and tell them how you feel, but America’s mostly reasonable people, and they need to be vocal and they need to tell their politicians this kind of governing is unacceptable—we want a deal,” said Marc Goldwein, Senior Policy Director with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Goldwein today took center stage at the Kroc Center in South Bend, but he has been in the middle of some monumental federal budget battles in the recent past.

Goldwein was an Associate Director of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Bowles-Simpson), and a senior budget analyst on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Super Committee) formed to head-off sequestration.

“I think the worst thing about the shut-down is it’s symptomatic of a broader dis-function, and if we don't correct this dis-function soon, it’s going to be a lot worse than just the shutdown,” Goldwein said. “We could have this big sharp crisis and that would be terrible. Something I’m worried about is we’ll keep doing the absolute minimum so we never see the crisis coming, but our growth will be permanently slower and taxes will just keep going up and spending on investments just keep going down and 50 years from now, the economy will be half the size it could have been and we won’t know why.”

Goldwein’s appearance was sponsored by Real Services, the area’s agency on aging. Real Services was told that October 1st would bring further instructions about its financial future in light of the sequester.
Those instructions are now on hold—because of the shut-down.
“I think it’s unfortunate because it didn’t have to be this way,” said Goldwein. “We had opportunities, we had the fiscal commission, we had the super committee, we had the fiscal cliff, those were opportunities, we’re running out of opportunities.”

Goldwein says politicians are always waiting until the next election, thinking they’ll have the upper hand. “The problem is that logic takes you to the infinite future and you never solve the problem, at some point, someone has to say I’m going to do this now.”

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