It all started with a public “pat down” by security at the Indianapolis International Airport. To be fair, I was asked if I wanted to get the private pat down, but since I knew I wasn’t “carrying” I figured we’d just get it over with. After that minor delay, everything went smoothly on my trip to Washington, D.C. as part of the AICPA’s Spring Council meeting. I attended to join our CEO Gary Bolinger, our Chairman Charles Johnson and our Chair-elect Kevin Kruggel on visits to Capitol Hill to meet with all of legislators who represent Indiana in Congress.
Despite being a bit of a political junky with a never-ending thirst for news, I will admit I’ve grown weary. I’m exhausted by the constant stream of negative ads, fierce campaign rhetoric and the rise of television channels devoted to dividing Americans into two extremely opposing camps. Having said that – one cannot help but be in awe of the grandeur of Washington, D.C. and I am no exception. Every time I’m in our nation’s capitol, I am reminded that there has always been divisiveness (you know, Revolutionary Wars, Civil Wars, that kind of thing) and yet we’ve managed in a mere 230+ years to become the most wealthy, powerful, and creative place to live and live freely. We take for granted the fact that people CAN be divisive in our nation. While all the talk is tiring and I think it should change, it’s a privilege to be able to speak your mind in a way that isn’t possible in so many other areas of the world. Washington, D.C. reminds me where our country has been and inspires me to believe we will keep advancing in spite of ourselves.
In a small effort to serve as a sort of bridge between the factions, the Indiana CPA Society’s goal in visiting legislators is always to provide information and not hyperbole. We use our visits to offer the expertise of CPAs as a resource to lawmakers who are challenged to get their arms around such a vast number of topics each legislative session.
Once we made our way through security at the Longworth, Cannon and Russell office buildings (shoes off, but no pat downs), we were able to meet with legislators or staff members and bring timely, non-partisan information about our federal deficit and tools to help Americans with their tax planning and understanding of where their taxes go. The AICPA has two new initiatives aimed at educating the public and we shared details with legislators in a way that they could then pass the information along to constituents. I would urge anyone to check out What’s at Stake and Total Tax Insights for eye-opening and simple explanations of facts around some economic realities in the U.S. right now.
I felt fortunate to be able to spend time with our talented and dedicated board members as they shared more about what CPAs do with those who represent all of our interests in Washington. While there is a lot to complain about (overly enthusiastic security personnel, vitriolic campaigning and the like), being on Capitol Hill reminds me that we have come a long way in short time, there’s so much more to do, and we can all be a part of the solution.