"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

The federal budget in Idaho

peterson MARTIN

There is no greater issue facing this country than that of bringing the federal budget under control. It is a bigger issue than dealing with international terrorism, drugs, global warming and, yes, even second amendment issues.

The federal budget and the need to eliminate the deficit is something that impacts virtually every American. Changes in federal tax laws, reductions in federal discretionary spending, including defense spending, changes in Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement program, are just a few of the issues facing Congress, the President and the entire nation.

The only thing certain about dealing with these issues is that no single person is likely to be pleased with the final solutions. But it is also important that the public is knowledgeable of the
extent of the problem and the reasons for solving it. And, perhaps most importantly, why the solutions to the problem, however unpopular, will probably be far better for the country as a whole than simply ignoring it.

Much of the time during the past few months I have been working with the McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho putting together a project to help educate Idahoans on issues relating to the federal budget. The end result is a symposium that will be held in Boise the evening of February 19 and televised statewide on Idaho Public Television’s World Channel.

The symposium brings together some of the nation’s leading experts and participants in seeking solutions to issues such a deficit reduction.

Senator Mike Crapo is a member of three major committees involved with these issues. The Senate committees on Finance, Budget and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. He is also a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Reform, more commonly known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho second congressional district is a member of both the House Appropriations Committee and the House Budget Committee.

Senator Alan Simpson from Wyoming has retired from the Senate but has remained active as the co-chairman of the Simpson-Bowles Commission which was appointed by the president to seek solutions to reducing the deficit. He is well known for his candor and wit, as well as for his knowledge of issues relating to deficit reduction.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia has been a leading player on the Democratic side of the aisle. He serves on both the Budget and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committees.

Maya MacGuineas is president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan, non-profit national organization committed to educating the public about issues that have significant fiscal policy impact. The Committee is made up of some of the nation’s leading budget experts including many of the past chairs and directors of the Budget Committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Reserve Board.

It is a reflection on the significant leadership roles that Senator Crapo and Congressman Simpson are playing in dealing with the wide range of federal fiscal issues that these other panel members will be coming to Idaho to join them in this symposium. It is also an indication of the level of respect they each have among their colleagues from both parties.

This is an all-star cast. They will be convening in the auditorium of Idaho capitol building at 7:00 pm Pacific Time on February 19 for a two-hour discussion of federal fiscal issues and opportunities to respond to questions from a wide range of individuals from across the state.

You can participate by tuning in to Idaho Public Television’s World Channel and watching the symposium live. It will also be streamed live on their website. Later in the week, on Friday, February 22, following the weekly broadcast of Idaho Reports, Idaho Public Television will broadcast an abbreviated one-hour edition of the symposium.

Marty Peterson grew up in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. He is retired and lives in Boise.

Share on Facebook