The cost of the multiple government bailouts and other economic measures to combat the current financial crisis is well over $3 trillion and increasing rapidly. This figure, however, pales in comparison to the funds needed to bail out the U.S. government. In fiscal year 2008, the government"s annual budget deficit totaled $455 billion, with that figure projected to potentially increase to over $1 trillion in 2009. The total national debt stands at $10.8 trillion as of Sept. 30, 2008, while the government"s total fiscal exposure, which includes explicit liabilities the government is legally obligated to fulfill, is more than $53 trillion. Continuing on the path of fiscal irresponsibility is no longer viable and could have dramatic consequences in the next 20 years if actions are not taken to balance the federal budget. Strong and principled leadership is needed to correct the United States" structural budget problems, which threaten to significantly reduce the welfare of future generations.
The Concord Coalition believes that an engaged, informed and involved public is key to resolving the nation"s fiscal challenges. The Fiscal Wake-Up Tour"s mission is to cut through partisan rhetoric and stimulate a more realistic public dialogue about our nation"s fiscal future and what the costs might be. Our elected leaders in Washington, D.C., know there is a problem, but they are unlikely to act unless forced to by their constituents. The tour began as a series of public forums around the country and now includes in-depth local committees to further focus attention on our nation"s daunting long-term fiscal challenges.